Alex Blaze

Americans are getting fleeced

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 12, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: France, health care reform, money, united states

I've been sick these past two weeks, and, if you're sick in France, you have to get a note from your doctor. Part of deal when everyone's covered is that you don't get to just call in sick.

I had the flu followed immediately by tracheitis. If I were working in the US, it's unlikely that I'd be covered and I would have just called in sick, stayed home, and self-medicated with ibuprofen and OTC cough syrup (the cough is really bad - I've fainted a few times, thrown up, and can't sleep through the night because of it).

In France, though, I get some help from the state. While I don't yet have a Carte Vitale, which is a card that automatically pays the government's share of all medical expenses. I'll have to mail in my receipts to get reimbursed (probably 70%) later. Still, though, I've had two doctors visits at 30 euro each, a prescription drug for the flu that cost 3 euro for a week's worth, a sack of prescription drugs for the tracheitis (including cough syrup that actually works) for 14 euro, some free masks for when I take the subway, and a recommendation for a chest X-ray that'll cost 25 euro.

Not bad even if I don't get reimbursed. I get real treatments and peace of mind for much less than I'd pay in the US, and my employer is assured that I'm actually sick (thus there's no need for sick days, at least where I work). I got to see whatever doctor I wanted to see and go to the pharmacy just down the street. The dreaded waiting list was about 2 hours long since I called for an appointment before the doctor was in.

For that, France pays $3,374 per person. The US pays $7,290. Where does that difference go? It's called getting fleeced. It's looting. It's "Your money or your life" on a 300,000,000 person scale. And it's unlikely that we can do anything about it since our leaders are beholden to the money that looting showers on them.


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Christopher D | December 12, 2009 3:16 PM

Preach! I for one am so tired of hearing that Americans just can't have what every other industrialized country in the world has because we're "exceptional".

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2009 4:59 PM

Sorry you're so sick, Alex!!! But lucky for you, you're where you are. Thanks for the post!

I had no idea you were fainting as well! Ugh, you poor guy! Get well soon, and, as Brynn wrote, I'm glad you're somewhere where you don't have to wait 16 hours standing up to get someone to literally just look at you and dismiss you (which happened to a friend who broke. his. foot. and. had. a. bone. sticking. out. Lovely Cook County Hospital)

I just don't know how we're going to resolve this mess any time soon, and I hate being the pessimist about health care.

I wish I knew how to fix the system here, Alex. Its really depressing, but you're right- our leaders are beholden to the moolah.

I often wonder if the sheer size of the US and the whacked out Senatorial system where states with 500,000 people have the same representation as a state with 50 million will ultimately doom us.

@capitalistpiggy:

Yes.

But even treating the entire nation as a giant electorate will still see significant progress thwarted by sheer numbers of frightened voters. But senators in states of 500,000 are cheaper to buy, giving greater political influence for the buck.

@Alex:

Yes. How obvious does it have to be for Americans to see it?

It is truly heartbreaking to hear of the number of
people in the United States who do not have health
insurance.

For alot of people who do have health insurance, things which are preventive medicine so to speak are not in many cases covered.

In addition, most policies are only good for
medical service in a particular service area.
A policy one may have in one state does not cover
doctor visits in another state unless one, get pre- approval and goes to a emergency room.

At least when we spoke on the phone yesterday, you didn't sound like your were going to die anymore. I hope you're feeling better, my friend.