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The advocates of socialized medicine, their claims for Canadian health care having been repeatedly exposed as wildly inaccurate, are now promoting a new single-payer paradise: France. Economist’s View links to a typical example of this in the Boston Globe:
The WHO rated [the French system] the best in the world in 2001 because of its universal coverage, responsive healthcare providers, patient and provider freedoms, and the health and longevity of the country’s population.
As with similar claims made for Canadian health care, this is misleading. As David Gratzer points out, French health care providers are not quite as “responsive” as the passage suggests:
During an August 2003 heat wave—when many doctors were on vacation and hospitals were stretched beyond capacity—15,000 elderly citizens died.
As to the “health and longevity of the country’s population,” Frenchmen with prostate cancer might disagree:
The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2 percent here [in the United States], yet 61.7 percent in France.
And French health care isn’t cheap. The Globe piece makes a passing reference to its high cost, but fails to discuss the financial crisis outlined in The Guardian.
A government commission has warned that without fundamental reforms France’s national health service … will collapse within the next 15 years.
The French government made an effort to institute some of the “fundamental reforms” recommended by the commission, but its health employees were not amused:
Doctors and hospital staff on Thursday marched on the Health Ministry in Paris, accusing the government of planning to privatise medical care.
And then there’s that “best in the world” designation. As David Hogberg has pointed out, the WHO ranking includes:
… not only outcomes like how well a health-care system cures disease, but also something called “fairness in financing.”
This dubious standard deliberately stacks the deck in favor of government-run health care systems. When it is removed, the ranking changes dramatically.
So, once again, the evangelists of socialized medicine are trying to pass off a sow’s ear as a silk purse. Aucune vente.
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+ May 2009
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February 2nd, 2008 at 11:43 pm
I’m half french and half american. Let me tell you, that having lived in both countries, I’d rather get sick in France. I was born with cleft palate, and my parents never paid for any of the numerous surgeries. Yes, France’s system is not perfect, but in my opinion, it’s still better than over here. And no the quality is not lower over there. Actually the plastic surgeon that operated on me was world reknown and often went to US for conferences, ect….Health care should not be a business, because that goes against the nature of it: providing care. Simple!