A conservative applauds high taxes and socialized French medicine
March 9, 2001 4:26 PM   Subscribe

A conservative applauds high taxes and socialized French medicine We are often subjected to comparisons (often false one) of medical coverage between the U.S and Canada or the U.S. and Great Britain. Here is a happy Frenchman who loves his medical coverage.
posted by Postroad (10 comments total)
Not to be picky or anything, but how do we know this guy is a conservative? There certainly isn't anything in this op-ed piece to indicate that he is one. (Being annoyed by high taxes isn't inherently politlcal one way or the other.)
posted by aaron at 4:42 PM on March 9, 2001

Here in Austria, everyone loves the medical system.

They hate the high taxes, low wages and comparative lack of innovation (compared to the U.S.)

What most of them don't seem to be able to do is draw a correlation between the two.

Very similar with a Norwegian friend of mine.

No value judgements here - just pointing out that socialized medical systems aren't free.
posted by syzygy at 4:54 PM on March 9, 2001

Hey, everyone likes socialized health care, except people who live in countries that don't have it.
posted by lagado at 5:58 PM on March 9, 2001

aaron, why so suspicious? He says he's a conservative. But conservative in France probably means something a little bit different, a supporter of DeGaulle and Chirac. This means hawkishness on defense; anti-communism (but not to the point of paranoia); privatization; and decentralization. (Though DeGaulle failed at the latter two, which were later carried out under the Socialist Mitterand government!) I think it's just closer to the older Goldwater-era meaning of conservative as opposed to the Gingrich-era definition of radical conservatism.

How many US conservatives actually turn down social security when they retire?
posted by dhartung at 7:41 PM on March 9, 2001

I don't really think of myself as conservative, but in the unlikely even Social Security is still around when my retirement comes about, I have no plan to withdraw any more than I put in plus interest. There really is no way out of this system, I have written letters to anyone I could think of to get out of the system. I had heard there was a form you could fill out, that let you out, threatened that you could never get back in, and stole everything you had already put in. I would have signed that form in half a second. Without mandatory compliance the system would certainly collapse.
posted by thirteen at 9:30 PM on March 9, 2001

lagado, we don't have socialized health care here -- and I for one would love to have it. I wouldn't mind higher taxes if I knew where my tax money was going, and that it was going back to me.
posted by lia at 10:26 PM on March 9, 2001

What makes you think that the quality of the health care that you would get would be a good return on the amount of taxes you'd have to pay? Has there been any evidence of socialised medicine with a better cost/quality ratio to private payer plans?
posted by Dreama at 10:55 PM on March 9, 2001

I see Norway was mentioned earlier in this thread, and I have to point out that, as this year is an election year for us, the "terrible health care system" is on everyones lips. The government are shipping pasients to other countries(Germany and Poland in particular, I believe) because of capacity problems, medical equipment is in many cases terribly outdated and poorly kept and lots of pasients are put in hallways, as opposed to in rooms. And there are huge waiting lists for almost all non-emergency cases, which of course has led to "well off" people buying private health services in Denmark, Spain etc. from their own pockets, to great frustration from the socialist parties here.

My point being: nobody loves this system, and cries for privatization are heard constantly. Not to mention complaints about the 80% tax level we've got here, to finance it all...
posted by frednorman at 3:20 AM on March 10, 2001

We (in Australia) have a pretty average system payed for by a pretty moderate taxation system (higher than the US but lower than most of the rest of the OECD).

The system is stretched but it has a very wide reach and the vast majority of the country is satisfied with it. The people who advocate scrapping it are basically advocating a system where only middle class people can afford to go to hospital.
posted by lagado at 3:50 AM on March 10, 2001

Part of the reason in the system in the U.S. is effiecient is because it can exclude people, people who can't pay, people who are high risks. It's not so important to me if we have single payer socialized medicine or a web of private insurance and hmo's, but I think some level of basic health care for everyone is a right when our country is so rich...so universal health care should be the goal but there might be different ways to do it.
posted by chrismc at 11:13 AM on March 10, 2001

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