Friday, August 7, 2009

Is the French system better?

Today's issue of the Wall Street Journal discusses universal health care in France. It talks about how France is now trying to move towards the U.S. model of health care, with higher copays and higher deductibles. France is also trying to cut back ever growing expenditures as health care now consumes 11% of their GDP. Of course people are up in arms about these changes despite an evergrowing financial burden on the country. But as long as somebody else is paying for it, why should their health care be cut back?

What strikes me the most is the chronology of France's system going back to 1976. If you go through the list, you'll see that taxes were raised in one form or another eight times since then. That doesn't include the extra fees and reduced reimbursements that were used to moderate cost inflation. So if other countries have been offering universal coverage for over fifty years and still can't get their costs under control, what makes the U.S. think we can do it here with one legislative session? Once again, we'll have to choose, universal health care or reduced costs. We can't have it both ways.

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