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Diogenes

I want to thank you for writing this series of articles. I have pointed several American friends to it.

Julie, your Foreign Parts correspondent

Thanks! I'm glad you're finding it helpful. -- Julie

Pete

This is identical to my experience in Ardèche, where I live half the time. Last time I called the doctor he saw me the next day, treated me with respect and humor, and charged me 20 euros. I needed medicine. 4 euros. Not worth the trouble to file with my insurance company, which isn't in France.

Comrade Rutherford

I tried to tell Republican acquaintances about this story, they adamantly refused to even look. They all say that this is a lie, that you've completely invented the whole thing. When I asked why they could possibly think that, they retort, 'Because socialized medicine is only about killing people as fast as possible'.

These folks watch Glenn Beck and listen to Rush Limbaugh and read Michele Malkin, so reality can not possibly fit with their world-view.

Julie, your Foreign Parts correspondent

Very interesting ... if Glenn Beck and Rush were correct, Americans would have a higher life expectancy than the French. In fact, people live longer in France than they do in the U.S. In addition, the infant mortality rate in France is lower than it is in the United States — thanks to an excellent, low-cost medical system.

Gummo

This is nothing new either.

My wife was an exchange student in Amsterdam back in the late '70s when she had to have her appendix out. Like you, she was not a citizen and had no insurance.

The issue never came up. She had the necessary operation and all follow-up care for a grand total bill of: $0.

I wish our cowardly Democratic representatives would frame the whole health care debate differently:

Why do Republicans think Americans are so stupid and incompetent that they can't accomplish what the rest of the civilized world has had for decades already?

Linda Everett

My gosh, I keep thinking if this country doesn't get it's act together I am either moving to France or (any other European country) or I'm begging for asylum. I've had it with this bureaucracy.

Caleb Becker

I'm curious about things like joint replacements or other medical procedures like that. Ones that put new things in your body, heart valves etc. Also, surgeries like heart bypasses that usually occur at an older age. Do the coverages change? Are there any restrictions?

Don't misconstrue this as being against the system in any way, I wish we would awaken as a society and realize how connected we all are and how our society (American) basically pits us against one another. Then maybe we would be able to install such a similar system. I ask only because at age 80, my grandfather had a quintuple bypass. Medicare and his supplemental covered the great majority of the cost and there was little trouble with scheduling. However a relative of ours from Canada relayed that their system would not have covered the surgery. I was curious if there were such restrictions in France.

Julie, your Foreign Parts correspondent

As far as I know, there are no age restrictions on surgery in France but I'll double-check that and get back to you.

I did find this French TV report (link below) on "Surgery: When Age Becomes a Risk Factor." The 'risk factor' they're talking about is not financial, but rather the difficulties the elderly face in recovering post-surgery. The report is in French, but even if you don't understand the language it will provide a good peek at the French system.

Notice that the three subjects are elderly — 80, 85 and 90 — and all three had just had surgery. The first gentlemen, age 85, had heart surgery. As I said, the report focuses on the special challenges the elderly face post-surgery, and discusses the importance of proper diet, exercise and physical therapy for recovery.

Here is the link:

http://www.bonjour-docteur.com/article.asp?IdArticle=113&IdBloc=2

Enjoy!

— Julie, your Foreign Parts correspondent

Anthony Finchum

I should say something nice about my experiences here in America with medicine. My own doctor has many similarities to the ones you see. Although he has a staff who handle billing and the preliminaries, he spends a great deal of time working with you. He listens patiently to your answers, then gets hands-on. He and his wife (a husband-wife team, both internal medicine specialists practicing as GPs) lay on hands, order blood work which can be done in-house, maybe schedule a sonogram to look at your innards (also in-house). He (sometimes a staff member) follow up with prompt phone calls with test results. He is conservative in prescribing meds like painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs. He begins and ends visits with a warm smile and a handshake. Billing is casual; when I told him I'd settled last month's bill for some tests, he laughed and told me never to worry.

Petar and Vesna, I should add, were trained in and emigrated from Europe.

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