For those who are my friends on Facebook, you will have seen my musings last night as I sat in the waiting area as my wife’s hand was stitched up from a kitchen accident. Having lived most of my adult life in England, which has a national health service, it is so good to be back in such a system here in France, where we now live.
When one registers in the ambulatory section of the emergency department, one first discusses the nature and severity of the injury. Then the attendant asks for name, date of birth and address. There is absolutely no talk about ‘who’s gonna pay for this?’ Not before treatment nor afterwards. Rather they bid you “Bonne soiree et prenez soin de vous.” (Good evening and take care of yourself.) Ask money for emergency treatment?–merde alors!
And that brings me to one of the greatest coups of the republican party in the US: getting people to vote against what is in their best interests. The word ‘socialism’ has been so laden with negative associations that any talk of government regulated medical care (yeah, like Medicare and Medicaid!) is anathema to these voters. And so along comes Covid: businesses close, people lose both their jobs and their medical coverage–if they had any to begin with! But God forbid we spend more money on health than on the armed forces!…which by the way are part of the government = socialism. So why not have a bake-sale to support the armed forces? Why should republican vets accept help from the VA–another social programme? Why shouldn’t people build their own roads and bridges to their places of employment? You get the picture.
Here’s a quick primer into how the national health service in France works. Unlike the UK, where it is free at the point of service (unsustainable), in France everyone pays into the system according to how much they earn. Except for emergency treatment, everyone pays something for any visit to a GP or a routine operation. If one is a legitimate citizen of France or the EU, the amount one has paid is returned within two to three weeks. This means there is always money flowing into the system from full subscription for all French nationals, as well as money coming in the front door with each patient. Voila! It works. I have had both hips replaced in France in 2013 and 2015, so I know. (By the way, a full hip-replacement plus ten days of rehabilitation, 3 meals a day [including beer or wine…no, not at breakfast] cost me a whopping 7500 euros–about $8900.) That amount wouldn’t have met the deductible for Blue Cross for a year! Oh–and I got back 80% of the 7500 euros as I was living in the UK and not France at the time.
I have to admit that it is a stroke of (evil) genius to get people to vote against the very things that could help them and their families. But it works, election after election. But Nazism worked–right up until all of it major cities were smouldering ruins and 400 millions civilians were dead. So I suppose it is all down to a combination of denial (of reality, science, the facts, the TRUTH) and projection (projecting onto leadership messiah-like attributes, regardless of actual outcomes and circumstances). Good luck with that!
As for me and my wife, we are happy to be in France!