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Thread: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

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    France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    France Fights Universal Care's High Cost - WSJ.com

    When Laure Cuccarolo went into early labor on a recent Sunday night in a village in southern France, her only choice was to ask the local fire brigade to whisk her to a hospital 30 miles away. A closer one had been shuttered by cost cuts in France's universal health system.

    Ms. Cuccarolo's little girl was born in a firetruck.

    France claims it long ago achieved much of what today's U.S. health-care overhaul is seeking: It covers everyone, and provides what supporters say is high-quality care. But soaring costs are pushing the system into crisis. The result: As Congress fights over whether America should be more like France, the French government is trying to borrow U.S. tactics.
    French taxpayers fund a state health insurer, Assurance Maladie, proportionally to their income, and patients get treatment even if they can't pay for it. France spends 11% of national output on health services, compared with 17% in the U.S., and routinely outranks the U.S. in infant mortality and some other health measures.

    The problem is that Assurance Maladie has been in the red since 1989. This year the annual shortfall is expected to reach €9.4 billion ($13.5 billion), and €15 billion in 2010, or roughly 10% of its budget.
    In the U.S., hospitals are paid for each individual procedure. This system, called fee-for-service, is suspected of contributing to runaway costs because it doesn't give hospitals an incentive to limit the number of tests or procedures.

    Ironically, France is actually in the midst of shifting to a fee-for-service system for its state-run hospitals. The hope is that it will be easier for the government to track if the money is being spent efficiently, compared with the old system of simply giving hospitals an annual lump-sum payment.
    I picked out some of the important highlights but I encourage everyone to read the whole story.

    Government health care ain't all it's cracked up to be.
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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Hey Obama, are you paying attention?
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
    "Fly-over" country voted, and The Donald is now POTUS.

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Considering the source... most likely total bs.
    PeteEU

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    Considering the source... most likely total bs.
    The problem is that Assurance Maladie has been in the red since 1989. This year the annual shortfall is expected to reach €9.4 billion ($13.5 billion), and €15 billion in 2010, or roughly 10% of its budget.
    Is this true or false?

    Ironically, France is actually in the midst of shifting to a fee-for-service system for its state-run hospitals. The hope is that it will be easier for the government to track if the money is being spent efficiently, compared with the old system of simply giving hospitals an annual lump-sum payment.
    Is this true or false?

    If these statements are true, the article is definitely not BS.

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Anyone with any decent amount of knowledge on economics can tell you that when you have a system that pays for everything that you'll use more services and more expensive services than you really need. It's no surprise that the system is in the red.

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    I question the source also, but even if it's true, the fee service is just a means of tracking where the money is going. When you give hospitals a lump sum each year and don't track it, you aren't going to know if funds are being conserved or not. France, like anywhere else, has to reign in the spending right now. Looking at health care in this way is simply practical... it has little to do with JUST attacking the idea of UHC, as the article spins it to be.

    Also, even with a small fee to serve as a tracking method, the government will still pay for practically everything. So the premise of the article is false from the get go.

    Also... what is the deal about the woman in the village? That has nothing to do with coverage eligibility, but the existence of facilities. I would appreciate if the article mentioned the NAME of the village instead of vaguely referencing "a village in the South of France". If facilities existed, she would be covered. Why would the government put a hospital in a farming community with 200 people?

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Is this true or false?


    Is this true or false?

    If these statements are true, the article is definitely not BS.
    And what is the problem with those statements? Why pick those statements out? Why not the statements on that the system is way cheaper? or the statement that everyone is covered? That doctors costs are a fraction of what they are in the US? Or maybe expand on the subject and look at hospital beds per captia? Doctors per capita? Why focus on those 2 quotes, and without any comparison to the US?

    And yes I am revising my opinion slightly after rereading it. It is an okay article, although it lacks a comparison to the US system which means it can easily (as we have seen) be seen in a very biased negative light. So it is not totally bs... my comment was a knee jerk reaction on the OP and what he posted totally out of context as my further comments will show.

    The very fact that the OP has to use the "shocking" view that a baby was born in a fire truck.. hello, babies are born in fire trucks, cabs, police cars and what not. The OP seems to attempt to use it as some sort of negative against the French system, but how about the US system? Could a baby be born in a bathroom, cab, police car.. or shock.. AT HOME!!!! because the ambulance was slow in getting there, or the baby just did not want to stay in? It is also hilarious how the OP used this case as a negative (and the article also uses it as a negative.. which is total bias when not compared to the US or other nations), when you look at the actual article. First off the baby was 1 month early.. well that changes things. Secondly, a 30 mile trip to a hospital from a rural area... give me a freaking break. The woman went into labour a month before she should and lived 30 miles.. shock horror.. from the nearest hospital in a rural part of France.. Well hot dang.. My parents lived 20 miles from the hospital in Denmark in a rural area ... and I still managed to be born at a hospital.. then again I was not a month early!

    And are you telling me that every single US town regardless of population has a hospital that can deliver babies or that every single woman in the US is within under 30 miles to the nearest hospital where they can give birth?..... So mother to be Jo on the farm, 30+ miles plus from the nearest town let alone hospital, has a special collapsible birthing hospital, with doctors and nurses in the back garden?

    And so what if the French are going to the Fee-for-service system at the state hospitals? Good for them!, efficiency is a good thing if done right. So you are some how "pissed" over they are going over to a theoretical more efficient system, in a UHC system that is far cheaper than the US system.. potentially making it even more cheaper? Or is it some sort of attempt to say... look they are going over to the US system that is costing you guys a bundle? Just because they are gonna use the same "fee for service" system, does not mean they are going to screw it up as bad as the US has. Efficiency in a system is always welcome I would have thought.. guess we can drop those computerised systems here in Europe.. I heard you all are finally getting them too over there, so best to drop them.. they dont seem to work since they cut the administrative costs of the system...

    Like it or not the title of the thread and the article is miss leading to say the least and the article is being used by the usual suspects as a negative, when in fact it is far from it. Yes France is fighting the UHC high cost.. but it is still FAR cheaper than the US non UHC system!
    PeteEU

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    And what is the problem with those statements? Why pick those statements out? Why not the statements on that the system is way cheaper? or the statement that everyone is covered? That doctors costs are a fraction of what they are in the US? Or maybe expand on the subject and look at hospital beds per captia? Doctors per capita? Why focus on those 2 quotes, and without any comparison to the US?
    Because they are not a comparison to the US. They are, on their own and independent of what takes place in the US, and demonstrate that Universal Health Care is costly, and that even lofty France has not figured out the economics of paying for everyone's medical bills.

    The most luxurious health care model in the world is no good if nobody can pay for it.

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Isn't this article saying that France's system costs less than America's?

    French taxpayers fund a state health insurer, Assurance Maladie, proportionally to their income, and patients get treatment even if they can't pay for it. France spends 11% of national output on health services, compared with 17% in the U.S., and routinely outranks the U.S. in infant mortality and some other health measures.

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    Re: France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by Kernel Sanders View Post
    Isn't this article saying that France's system costs less than America's?
    Not if the state fund is routinely 10%+ in the red. What recession tends to reveal is that a lot of these UHC schemes merely kick the can down the road. Eventually, however, you run out of road.

    Britains NHS is underfunded. Now we see that France's system is also underfunded. The 11% being spent is not all the cost there is, apparently.

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