We Do Not Get to Have Nice Things: The French Healthcare Edition

Many moons ago, when healthcare reform was but a dream, I wondered why healthcare plans always required reinventing the wheel (which usually wound up square) rather than just copying another country’s system:

What I’ve never understood about the entire healthcare debate is the need to invent completely new plans. My take on this is ultimately pragmatic: find a system that provides universal coverage and good healthcare and institute it. Much of Europe–including the dreaded French–have very good healthcare. Translate the damn documentation, slap a big ol’ U.S. of A. flag on it, and you have some healthcare. If other countries can do that, it’s not impossible, or even impractical.

…I still don’t understand why Democratic candidates feel the need to develop complex plans (any plan would be complex) that wouldn’t be as good as some of the EU plans. There’s no international copyright on government programs, and if you’re going to go through all of the legislative trouble anyway, why not use a better plan?

With that in mind, we find this article about how French cancer patients are treated (boldface mine):

So imagine my surprise when my parents reported from Paris that their chemo visits couldn’t be more different. A nurse would come to the house two days before my dad’s treatment day to take his blood. When my dad appeared at the hospital, they were ready for him. The room was a little worn and there was often someone else in the next bed but, most important, there was no waiting. Total time at the Paris hospital each week: 90 minutes.

There were other nice surprises. When my dad needed to see specialists, for example, instead of trekking around the city for appointments, he would stay in one room at Cochin Hospital, a public hospital in the 14th arrondissement where he received his weekly chemo. The specialists would all come to him. The team approach meant the nutritionist, oncologist, general practitioner and pharmacist spoke to each other and coordinated his care. As my dad said, “It turns out there are solutions for the all the things we put up with in New York and accept as normal.”

…“Can’t you think of anything bad about the French healthcare system?” I asked during one of our daily phone calls. My mom told me about a recent uproar in the hospital: It seems a brusque nurse rushed into the room and forgot to say good morning. “Did you see that?” another nurse said to my mom. “She forgot to say bonjour!”

When the gemcitabine stopped working, the French oncologist said he would put my dad on another drug — one my dad’s U.S. insurance plan had refused to approve in New York.

…Regaling my New York friends with stories of my dad’s superb care in Paris, I found people assumed he was getting VIP treatment or had a fancy private plan. Not at all. He had the plain vanilla French government healthcare.

This is not landing men on the moon. We could do this. Too many of us, blinded by fear, ignorance, or greed choose not to do so.

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5 Responses to We Do Not Get to Have Nice Things: The French Healthcare Edition

  1. Pingback: Affordable Care Act (ACA) - Obamacare - Page 45

  2. I was under the impression that the foot-dragging was primarily based on the fact that quite a lot of paychecks in the US are based on being middlemen with no real connection to the medical care but for their tendency to parasitically drain the money from it.

    A large part of the US medical industry is devoted to preventing you from knowing how much you spend on medical care when you are well insured. which helps the parasite, because the parasite-infected look at the reports of medical costs in the US and say things like “It doesn’t cost *me* that much!” I see a parallel to those ants that get infected by the fungus that forces them to walk up to the top of the grass and get eaten or something…

  3. Min says:

    Hey, man! Doncha get it? French healthcare is just as unAmerican as French fries.

  4. dr2chase says:

    Candide, ever relevant.

  5. Pingback: We Have Done the Obvious Healthcare Experiment, and the U.S. Has Failed | Mike the Mad Biologist

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