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Letter: France's health care

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  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    July 5, 2012 6:28 a.m.

    Crystal K. Kayser, we are flushing billions down the drain yearly with our current and new healthcare system. The company I work for is already posturing to shift more and more of the cost to employees. This inspite of tax incentives. As citizens we are subsidizing 60% of the healthcare costs of our neighbors and still many can't afford insurance even though employers offer it as a benefit. Our nation's healthcare has become a priviledge of wealth and it is obscene. When a health insurance executive takes home a billion $ in 10 years then something is tragically askew. The only alternative for you and me is just don't get sick.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    July 5, 2012 6:48 a.m.

    There taxes are so high there too that there is less incentive. Did our forefathers Immigrate to the new world so we could be like our European cousins? Why do people still want to come to this country. HIgher taxes are passed on to the people anyway. What part of Thou Shalt Not Covet don't people understand.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 5, 2012 7:31 a.m.

    higv, and just as higher taxes are passed on to the people, so are the medical costs for people who cannot afford to pay for their own. Or for people who have been denied coverage by our insurance giants.

    Aren't people who refuse to purchase insurance coveting the money of those of us who will pay when they suddenly need it?

    And isn't one of the prime propaganda points of the anti-ACA crowd the idea that the current high cost of health insurance is killing hiring incentives?

    Your post simply agrees with the need for universal coverage -- although you don't seem to realize it. Have you been duped?

  • MichaelHernandez Chicago, IL
    July 5, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    Specifically which studies show France's healthcare system is so efficient and successful. Links to those studies would be appreciated, too.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 5, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    Random thoughts..

    A very interesting program can be viewed online, PBS Frontline series, "Dollars and Dentists" which reveals what can happen when private enterprise exploits those without dental coverage.

    Why are MRIs, CAT scans and prescription drugs so much cheaper in other countries?
    Do Americans benefit when taxpayer dollars flow into the pockets of corporations such as they do/did under Medicare Advantage or when we outsourced military duties to companies like Blackwater?

    ACA is just the beginning. No doubt it will need to be modified as time goes on.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    July 5, 2012 8:04 a.m.

    If ideologies could be dropped for just a minute and health care looked at objectively, we wouldn't have the ACA, but we certainly wouldn't have the system we've had for the past 70 years. To have my access to health care and a healthy life dependent on my job is insane. Forget who's employed and who's not employed. It means that if I happen to have a job with a major corporation I likely will have the best access available at the time. On the other hand if I work as a tile layer and literly break my back with hard labor every day for 8 hours I will only have coverage for major incidents..if I'm lucky. Now start to factor in our poor outcomes, insurance executives making billions of dollars, drug companies making obscene profits, and it becomes clear very quickly that the core purpose of the American health care system is wealth creation. Making a profit for everyone is the engine in capitalist societies (even France), but the capitlization of health care is destructive and immoral.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 5, 2012 8:25 a.m.

    To Michael Hernandez: The study which ranked French healthcare #1 was done by the World Health Organization. The same study ranked the U.S. #37. The Deseret News does not permit links, but I'm sure you can find it easily.

  • Emajor Ogden, UT
    July 5, 2012 8:41 a.m.

    higv,
    Your first point of high taxes and loss of incentive got lost in all of the meaningless rhetorical posturing you dove into right after.

    "Did our forefathers Immigrate to the new world so we could be like our European cousins?"

    Meaningless nationalistic question. That was hundreds of years ago, nations have changed, and has no relevance to now.

    "Why do people still want to come to this country."

    They want to go to European countries too. We aren't the only ones with an immigration issue.

    "HIgher taxes are passed on to the people anyway"

    So are the costs of serious health care problems of the uninsured that could have been avoided with preventative care had they been covered by a health insurance plan.

    "What part of Thou Shalt Not Covet don't people understand."

    Oh man, where to start? Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's? It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven? Those who have cared for the least of these have cared for me? Unfortunately for you, the Lord hasn't revealed his opinion on American fiscal policy.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 5, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    This letter raises some good points. The British system is also worth considering. The bottom line is our system is broken unless you are one of the haves. Most of us make major contributions already to health insurance premiums through our employers. Some plans are just plain awful, depending on what the employer has negotiated with the insurance company. It seems to me that a comprehensive reform effort would be more cost effective and could provide universal coverage, reducing the burden on businesses, the taxpayers as a whole, and the millions who cannot afford insurance. We have terrible results compared to the rest of the industrial world. Huffing and puffing about "socialism" or "freedom" changes nothing and does zero to address a serious problem. The U.S. needs to grow up and take this head on.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 5, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    "but the capitlization of health care is destructive and immoral."

    --------------

    Amen.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    July 5, 2012 9:35 a.m.

    HERE the conservatives and libertarians go gain with radical extremism.

    A new study funded by the Department of Homeland Security characterizes Americans who are suspicious of centralized federal authority, and reverent of individual liberty as extreme right-wing terrorists. Entitled Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008, the study was produced by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland. The organization was launched with DHS funding to the tune of $12 million dollars. The report takes its definitions from a 2011 study entitled Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism, produced by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, in which the following characteristics are used to identify terrorists.

    Americans who believe their way of life is under attack;

    Americans who are fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation);

    Americans who are suspicious of centralized federal authority;

    Americans who are reverent of individual liberty;

    People who believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.

    The "LiL" engine in capitalist societies that rips you flushing billions down-the drain-in-fraud.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 5, 2012 10:39 a.m.

    all I can say it is about time we take a major step towards reform. It is also noteworthy that France and other countries have larger percentages of seniors in their population and they struggle less with cost issues. So why has it been so hard for us look at solutions objectively?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 5, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    We spend 15% of GDP a year on healthcare, while France spends about 10%. Anyone who thinks France (or any other European nations healthcare systems) are absurdedly expensive and would ruin us financially if we used it, I'd love to know what you think about our current much more expensive system's fiscal impact.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 5, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    I've been saying this all along.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 5, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    Having lived in France for a number of years, I can say their system is great. I got treatment quickly and efficiently, got a bill, sent it to the gov't insurance, and that was it. Had bad flu once and a couple of dental abscesses. I have never been better treated. The French have competent, efficient, excellent doctors and dentists.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    July 5, 2012 11:52 a.m.

    Fact: Medicine currently is FOR PROFIT and it's so expensive no one can afford it without insurance. See a problem here?

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    July 5, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    Outstanding letter. While we're at it, let's look at Finland's education system. We can and should learn from other countries.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 5, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    Mitt speaks fluent French.

    Mitt spent almost three years of his life in France.

    Mitt would be the perfect president to introduce Americans into the French Healthcare System.

    From Romneycare to French Healthcare.

    Marvelous.

  • Crystal Kayser West Jordan, UT
    July 5, 2012 1:20 p.m.

    Another study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that the U.S. had the most deaths that could have been prevented with good healthcare and France had the least of the 19 industrialized countries. A study by the commonwealth foundation ranked the US last among six other nations, although France was not included in the study. Of course the most notable is the U.S. ranking of 37th by the World Health Organization. In their study of 191 countries, France was ranked number one.
    "Health care spending in the U.S. towers over the other countries. The U.S. has fewer hospital beds and physicians, and sees fewer hospital and physician visits, than in most other countries. Prescription drug utilization, prices, and spending all appear to be highest in the U.S., as does the supply, utilization, and price of diagnostic imaging." David A Squire, Senior researcher for the Common Wealth Fund commenting about health data from eleven countries including France and the U.S.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    July 5, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    None of you even seem to give a nod to WHY costs are so high in the United States. There are two primary reasons: Government regulations and a litigious society. Those are the cost drivers and they are the things being completely ignored in our health care debates.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 5, 2012 5:30 p.m.

    re;JSF

    A study in the journal Health Affairs by experts from Harvard University and the University of Melbourne in Australia reports that the annual cost spent on medical liability, including defensive medicine, in the U.S. in 2008 was $55.6 billion, just 2.4 percent of America’s national health bill – $2.40 of every $100, said the researchers, who included Harvard surgeon Atul Gwande.

    And the bulk of that total, $45.6 billion, was an admittedly rough estimate of defensive medicine costs with actual payments for medical malpractice totaling $5.7 billion and for legal and other costs estimated at $4.1 billion.

    A study by researchers from Harvard, the University of Iowa and the Center for Studying Health System Change in Washington compared the amount of defensive medicine practices in states with and without commonly tort reforms such as caps on awards for pain and suffering and other “non-economic” damages. The researchers found that there was little difference in the “levels of malpractice concerns” of doctors and hence on the practice (or cost) of defensive medicine.

  • Jeff S Sandy, UT
    July 5, 2012 6:39 p.m.

    I have to disagree with Crystal on this one. American has the best health care system in the world because our doctors make way more money than doctors do in France. Our beloved pharmaceutical companies are able to make astronomical profits. And the American medical PR machine is highly successful in convincing us that costs are high because of the government and law suits.

    Big deal that the World Health Organization says France offers better patient care. We're number one in health care because our doctors and medical professionals are the highest paid in the world!

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 5, 2012 6:54 p.m.

    RE: Roland

    Since the study is done by the WHO which is an extreme left organization,

    this study can be discounted and ignored, as it is basedon very biased criteria.

    Socialist medical system is NOT the answer.

    All the countries in Europe are falling like dominoes because any socialist system is not financially sound and will always eventually fail.

    Any system that does not include individual freedom and liberty and choice will always fail.

  • Jeff S Sandy, UT
    July 5, 2012 8:16 p.m.

    I've got to disagree with Crystal on this one. America has the best health care system in the world because our doctors are paid way more than doctors in other counties. American drug companies make astronomical profits. And the medical PR machine has done a great job convincing us the problem is the government and lawyers.

    Just because France does a better job of caring for patients and healing them and doing it for less money doesn't make them better.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    July 5, 2012 8:37 p.m.

    Since Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden we were to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow. Is it immoral for a farmer or grocer to make a profit since they provide food and we would die without food? Recreation though that is not a necessity. People that build houses or make clothes? What is wrong with being in a business that keeps people alive?

    Our constitution is two and a quarter centuries old must be successful if it hasn't changed that much. We do not have a right to force our neighbor to pay for our product. Insurance you choose to buy it in a risk you hope you don't have to use. The us has the highest standard of living do to things not being guaranteed in the constitution.

    Isreals downfall was wanting to be like Other nations. That could be ours too. How many people Emigrate from the Unites STates because there is a better country. Employment and other reasons will take people out of the US. But are people trying to get out of the Greatest country on earth?

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 5, 2012 9:19 p.m.

    @Jeff S: Are you a Doctor? If so are you happy to have Government bureacrat tell you what your time is worth? If not then why are you so convinced that you know what a Doctor's labor is worth? I'm not a Doctor but I don't you or anyone else telling me what my labor is worth. i'll let the market determine that. The next time you need your car repaired why don't you tell the mechanic what comparable rates are in France and see how far that gets you. Isn't that essentially slavery if you are going to dictate to someone the work they will do and how much they shall be paid? How many of our best and brightest will even want to be healthcare prividers in your world? Not many I presume- why bother with the aggravation? The hypocrisy and immorality (legalized theft and slavery) of the American left is truly astounding.

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    July 6, 2012 9:10 a.m.

    There is no way we are ever going to come up with a healthcare system that all 300+ million citizens of the US can be happy about. I could find the France system slightly acceptable, if it is REALLY the way it has been portrayed on this thread. However, I remain skeptical, because of the leftist crazies who are pushing it. The WHO is a nutty organization, with a leftist agenda, so I find it hard to believe that their rankings actually compare "apples to apples". The other issue, is that France has about 1/5 of our population, and an even smaller ratio of our economy. I highly doubt you can just cookie cutter apply their system to us. But if you want to promote a system that is less government, less taxes, de-couple healthcare from your employment, equal treatment for everyone in access and paying for it....I'm all in!

  • Cat Centerville, UT
    July 6, 2012 11:20 a.m.

    If France and England's healthcare is so wonderful and accessable to everyone, why did MSNBC feature an article about a girl needing surgery that they had to raise funds for and get the doctors to donate their time to do? I'm just saying that everything looks good on the surface, but it's not always wonderful. There are some good things about the systems, but there are also bad things.

  • UT Brit London, England
    July 6, 2012 11:52 a.m.

    @Cat

    Well that is pretty much true about everything in life, there are bad points to everything and nothing is perfect. What you need to look into though is if the good points outweigh the bad.

    The US has the least regulated and controlled health care in the first world but manages to spend double than most first world countries per person. Having experienced the US system myself I could not understand why the prices were so high. You certainly do not get double the service or effectiveness from the money you spend.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 6, 2012 6:44 p.m.

    Time to get rid of the US system. It fails the people who need it most. Many other countries have much better healthcare than we do.

  • ljeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    RE: MichaelHernandez - Watch Michael Moore's "SICKO."

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 7, 2012 11:26 a.m.

    I think it would be preposterous to head down the same path we are now. I'm not sure Obamacare as it is called is the answer but what has happened over the last several decades has led us to this point. Yes, we have better health care than much of the world, but I can't say we are #1 in the world anymore. We need to let go of our jingoistic pride at some level and do learn from other countries as Eric Samuelson has urged above. In fact, some of the most effective and brightest people and corporations beg, borrow and steal from others and then come up with their own products and solutions. Maybe borrowing ideas from France and other countries to make a uniquely American healthcare system would be possible. We could even keep some of the things we do well and mold it with others. But again, doing the same things over and over and expecting things to get better is the definition of insanity. And too many Americans are being ill served by our current health care situation and overall it's breaking our country.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    July 7, 2012 12:15 p.m.

    Joe5..seriously? The only part of litigiousness that is causing such excessive costs is the excessive and unnecessary testing that is ordered from doctors..and oh yes..there's a profit in those tests also.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 7, 2012 12:36 p.m.

    from the healthcare blog

    In a way, we have universal healthcare already, but we pay for it in the most irresponsible and costly way possible. We wait for small problems to become emergent, treat them in the most expensive outpatient provider possible (the ER), and then when we can’t pay the bills for the uninsured, we transfer the balance by increasing the costs of the care of insured patients showing up for their cholecystectomies or back surgery. Tack on the costs of defensive medicine and you have a recipe for extremely costly care.

    Other factors figure into higher costs as well, including hugely higher costs of medicare administration since Bush privatized it, higher prescription drug costs since Bush passed medicare part D and prevented bargaining with drug companies, and our incredibly high ICU expenditures at the end of life. The US spends far more on medical administration, outpatient/ambulatory care (with hospital-based outpatient care increasing most rapidly in costs), drugs, doctors salaries, and end-of-life care than we should as a percentage of our GDP.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 7, 2012 7:12 p.m.

    @ Jeff S, the U.S. does not have the best system as measured by results. We are near the bottom in the industrialized world. How does that make us so good. Could it be we are so busy patting ourselves on the back that we ignore reality?