I am French and live in Ireland. I have been to hospitals in France, Ireland and Spain, all of which have Universal Health Care. I think American people are fed a lot of lies about it because every argument I hear against Health Care I know through experience of it to be untrue. I have NEVER waited more than 10 minutes in a French hospital. I have not waited AT ALL when I was in Spain and I have had to wait up to 30 minutes in Irish hospital because some kids had been in a car crash and had to be seen first.
I have NEVER waited for any other kind of care.
Price and care?
In Spain: my husband was treated for a suspected H1N1 which turned out to be a chest infection. We saw three doctors, two hospitals, have been transported in an ambulance. He had fluids injected into him, blood and urine samples taken, and a X-Ray. Price : 0 euro. ABSOLUTELY 100% FREE. We got a prescription for 4 weeks of painkillers and 2 weeks of antibiotics. Price: 4.50 euro for the entire lot.
In France : the Health Care system refunds between 50 and 80% of all my medical expenses. No doctor has ever asked me if I had insurance and no insurance has ever refused someone or refused to pay up due to a pre-existing condition.
I am truly very concerned about this US debate because you are being fed LIES and I am not sure how to make you see this. I’ll answer some of your points as a EU citizen who has experienced a few countries with nationalized health care. I have followed some of the debates on CNN and my husband and I were appalled at what you, US citizens, are being told.
“Even though Obama says we'll be able to keep our private insurance if we like it, they will not be able to compete against something subsidized by the government. “
There are private insurances in every country that has a nationalized health care. I had private insurance when I lived in France (the first 20 years of my life). They THRIVE. They just don’t make indecent billions of dollars by refusing you your care. They work as a complementary to the national plan. For example in France the national plan has two options. The first one is for the poorest families: health care is entirely free. They show their cards at the doctors and they don’t pay. Then doctors fill up a form, send it to the government that pays them directly. The second is for the rest of us. You pay normally your doctor and medication (and our prices are way lower than US prices) and then you send your forms to the government which refunds all or part (50 to 80%) of your medical expenses depending on what you got. That’s when the private insurance comes in. They refund you the rest or part of what the government hasn’t refunded you. So if the government gives me back 50 % of the price of my contraceptive for example, my insurance might refund me another 40% for example depending on my policy. In countries where care is 100% free, some people get private insurance so they can pay for private care either because the national plan does not cover that particular expense (ie dental care) or because there is a waiting list. So no, insurance wouldn’t go out of business. They haven’t anywhere else and I don’t see why they would in the US.
“I like having the choice of how I get my insurance. I think the system as a whole needs reformed, but one sized fits all health care is not going to do it.”
The French system is given to everyone. You can’t really refuse to have it (but then why would you, it basically covers you for everything.), however you do choose whether you want a private insurance as well and which one you want with which policy
These were the points where I wanted to give you facts. I don’t agree either with the rest of what you have said, but that is my personal opinion rather than facts, so I’ll keep it to myself. If the French government or the Irish one tried to pull out the nationalized plan, there would be strikes and demonstrations and riots. This system protects all of our citizens without distinction and allows us not to have to make a choice between health or food on the table.
The only point I would agree on is that the plan offered by Obama is not the best option. But there is no question that you NEED a national health care plan. There are many different options you can choose from. I am personally a big fan of the French system that has never ever let me down.
Health care is an inalienable right, not a privilege. It is as important and essential to a free democratic nation as freedom of speech or freedom of religion.