This is my healthcare plan. It is much better than your stinky French one
In a previous post, I wondered why we don’t just steal someone else’s healthcare system instead of inventing some untried and untested system. In TNR, Jonathan Cohn asks the same question (italics mine):
A closer model for the United States would be France, which doesn’t have that problem and which–thankfully–also merits considerable screen time in Moore’s movie. As Paul Dutton explains in a new book called Differential Diagnoses, the French prize individual liberty, so they created an insurance system that, today, allows free choice of doctor and offers highly advanced medical care to those who need it….
All of this does cost money, naturally, and Moore acknowledges what many assume is the French system’s big drawback: its high taxes. But Moore also provides the same answer that any good policy wonk (including yours truly) would: They pay more in taxes but less in private insurance. In fact, the French system, like every other one in the rest of the developed world, costs less than ours overall.
The French like their system a lot–more than the citizens of any other country, including the United States, if you believe the opinion polls. The World Health Organization likes it a lot, too: It has ranked France’s system tops in the world. But that isn’t stopping critics from attacking it. In a pre-buttal of Sicko that appeared in the New York Post, the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner warned last week that Moore missed the real problem in France: its shortage of high-tech care.
This was news to me. I spent a lot of time researching France when I wrote my book, and I never heard anything about shortages of high-tech care. I asked Victor Rodwin of New York University, this country’s leading expert on the French health care system, if he had ever heard of such shortages. He hadn’t, either.
In the interest of fairness, I decided I would ask Tanner himself: What was his evidence? He said the French government was starting to tighten access to specialists. Well, sure–but it’s still a far cry from what managed care has done in this country for years. He also said that France has fewer MRIs and CT scanners than the United States, which is very true and very irrelevant. Most experts think we have far more than we need here. If there were real shortages in France, there would be long queues to use them, and there’s no evidence of this, either.
Well, that wouldn’t be the first time a professional conservative makes something up to fit a preconceived notion. It still seems like the French are doing it better.
an aside: If playing the exceptionalism card is what it takes to get national healthcare, then, to steal Dan Rather’s phrase, where do I sign up?