Saturday, January 21, 2012

This Is America Today, Part II

These facts are from the CIA—and they are undisputed:

• Infant mortality rate in the United States: 6.06 per 1,000 live births.

• Infant mortality rate in France: 3.29 per 1,000 live births.

• Average life expectancy in the United States: 78.37 years (75.92 for men, 80.93 for women).

• Average life expectancy in France: 81.19 years (78.20 for men, 84.54 for women).

• Total expenditure on health care in the United States: 16.2% of GDP (2009).

• Total expenditure on health care in France: 3.5% of GDP (2009).

• Expenditure on health care in the United States per capita: $7,517 per year (2009).

• Expenditure on health care in France per capita: $1,148 per year (2009).

So . . . to make it clear: France has a Socialist-Commie health care system, while the United States has “the best health care system in the world”—

—and yet the French live longer, have an infant mortality rate roughly half the United States’, and yet still manage to spend less than Americans on health care.

A lot less—in fact, the Socialist-Commie Frogs spend less than a quarter of what the United States does, as a proportion of GDP.

And when you break it down per person per year? The French spend less than one-sixth what the United States spends—yet live longer, and have a lower infant mortality rate

These are the facts—and they are undisputed.

So! One of two things is going on: Either the French—as a people—are simply better than Americans; made of finer stuff; simply superior physical specimens.

Or . . .

Big Pharma, Big Med and Big Insurance are stealing from the American people every last bit of money they can get their hands on, while the Federal government refuses—out of incompetence, stupidity or corruption—to do anything about this rampant, blatant theft.

Too harsh, you say? Well, next time you go bankrupt from your medical bills, tell me again if I’m being too harsh. Because if you go bankrupt in America, there’s a 60% chance it will be because of medical bills. And if you do go bankrupt because of medical expenses? There’s a 40% chance you actually did have medical insurance—yet went bankrupt anyway! (Source here)

These are the facts—and they are undisputed.

This is America today.

(Source: CIA World Factbook, French data here, U.S. data here.)


  1. Ahhhh! The famous lies, damned lies and statistics. In France if a child dies in childbirth or within a month of birth it is not counted. Did you really believe that little French babies are somehow healthier or better then us mere Americans?? An additional confounding factor is that In France most young mothers are in a relationship or married and don't take serious illegal drugs. have you noticed that in our inner city we have aserious drug problem and a serious out of wedlock birth rate. What chance does a fetus/baby have with a crack mother. Would all this be fixed is we adopted a "Socialist-Commie Frog" society?? Maybe, it is our freedoms that allow us to take harmful drugs.

    Then there is the life expectancy question. The U.S. has about a 14% black population and a 15% hispanic population and each of these ethnic groups has dramatically lower life expectancies as a result of genetic problems. If France had 15% hispanics and 14% blacks it is likely there life expectancy would be far lower.

    France spends far less the the U.S. on health care. Indeed and if you are French and wealthy where do you go for lifesaving health care??? Ironically to the U.S. In France if you need a CT scan then you live or die without it because you sure as hell won't get one. In France if you get sick in July or August it's too bad because every doctor and every public sector worker is on vaction. Dont get sick in Paris in the summer!!! So just how do they save so much money on health care??? Easy, you don't get health care especially if you are poor. Please go to a French hospital and take a good look around. Compare it with American hospitals. It is like the dark ages over their...

    1. This is not accurate: All OECD countries measure their infant mortality rates the same way.

      As to the life expectancy issue being affected by different ethnic groups, that’s not accurate: In the U.S., income—not race—affects your longevity . . . which is not the determining factor in France.

      As to French going to the U.S. for “life-saving care”—or that French hospitals are “like the dark ages over there”—that is flat-out untrue.

      This guys sounds like he’s in denial: Willing to say anything, no matter how false, in order to deny the bald, plain, disturbing facts. And the facts are, France—as well as Germany, Japan, South Korea, Holland, Canada, and many other countries—spend far less on health care than the U.S., yet get better longevity and better infant mortality rates.

      The facts can be denied, but the truth only smiles.


    2. you're 100% wrong and anon is correct. get your facts straight and stop posting lies about the US health system.

    3. Unfortunately, the person that has made this comment, is an ignorant. He thinks the US is the best country in the world. The US is the most military powerful country in the world, but the life standard of the citizens is very low, as well as the education and culture of north-american citizens. In general, they are very ignorant, religious bigots, hypocrites and double standard persons. Their lack of culture makes them savages and ignorant.

    4. I was living in the USA for about 10 years and I was surprised to see many, many people without teeth. When asked, they said they could not afford a dentist....I had digestive problems and the american doctor did nothing during all that time for me. Back in my country, I went to a public h ospital, they used a camera to see my stomach, took a sample to see if I had the Helicobacter Pilori bacteria and prescribed a very cheap medicine: Omeprazol. I was suffering for almost 10 years with this wonderful american doctor and the wonderful american health care system. Hahaha, Iran is not the enemy, the american health care system is and iranians only have to seat and wait: the american doctors will destroy the americans hahaha

    5. To say hispanics and blacks die becuase of "genetics" is not only offensive but scientifically false and bordering on Nazi style science. Unfortunately race and income is still highly correlated in the US, as in many other countries, and the facts are simple anywhere in this world,



  3. One other point: When Princess Di died in an auto accident in Paris she lived for awhile after the accident. You may have heard a few commentators say if she had been in any large city in the U.S. she would have lived. 20 cities in the U.S. have more medivac helicoptors then the entire country of France does. If Princess Di had been in any of these 20 cities she would have been in a hospital emergency room within 20 minutes. Princess Di is dead because her accident occurred in France.
    To contain rising costs, government-run health-care systems invariably restrict the health-care supply.

    I love France. I lived there for four years and try to visit once a year. I intentionally do not go to France in the summer because of the notoriously poor health care when everyone is on vacation. But it could be worse. Don't get sick or injured in Mexico (or for that matter anywhere South of Mexico). Germany is not bad, in fact it's pretty good. Italy is a disaster, if you get sick in Italy beg, borrow or steal a ticket back to the U.S. right away. You will die in an Italian hospital. Sadly England is almost as bad. Ironically (and I hate to say this) Canada isn't much better. Canadian doctors are good, their facilities are generally modern, they do lack sufficient modern equipment, the problem is the government restricts access. If you have a heart attack in Canada and show up in the emergency room the odds are you won't be seen by a doctor for hours and in some cases days and if you need a lifesaving bypass you can probably get one within two years (maybe). When seconds count good health care in canada is only months away. Fortunately Canadians have an option. If you live near the border have a family member drive you to an American hospital where it is actually possible to get a bypass operation within hours if it is medically necessary. Cancer treatment can start almost as soon as you are diagnosed in American hospitals. In Canada it can start 6-24 months later (maybe).

    Socialism reduces everyone (except for a small elite group) to the same lowest condition. Socialized medicine does the same thing for health care. England now has TWO health care systems; the famous, if ineffective, socialized health care system for the masses and a private health care system for the rich and elite. Did you really think Queen Elizabeth waits in a waiting room for a doctor! Canada is now moving to the same system. Soon you will have the choice of a Socialized system that costs you an incredibly high tax rate every year but produces inferior health care OR a private system that you must pay for when you use it but will save your life. The good news is they will soon have that choice.

    1. This is the same guy as before—and the points he tries to make here are plain stupid. (“Princess Di would be alive today had it not been for the bad French doctors”? C’mon . . .)

      But what’s interesting about this nonsense is the line in the final paragraph: “Socialism reduces everyone (except for a small elite group) to the same lowest condition.”

      Substitute Socialism with “America’s crony capitalism” and you get an accurate picture of what’s going on there.

      America’s crony capitalism reduces everyone (except for a small elite group) to the same lowest condition.

      I think this denier is afraid to admit that this is the truth of America today.


    2. This anonymous blowhard is full of crap. I don't know the situation in Italy or England (although I'd be willing to bet it's not half as bad as he makes out), but I live in Canada and can assure you that if you show up in any health care facility complaining of chest pains, it won't be "hours" before you're seen. You'll be whisked into emergency and have people checking you out within minutes - regardless of how busy it is at the moment. He is right however when he says that the need for bypass surgery or cancer treatment can put you in a queue. Yes, Americans get treated faster for some things and yes, well-off Canadians use your system for a back-up so I detest some of the smugness many of us have for the faults of yours. We in Canada live in denial with our claims of egalitarianism and criticism of your two-tiered system. Our second tier just happens to be in your country. We're so afraid in this country of a second "for profit" tier and you folks seem to be so afraid of a primary "single payer" tier that guarantees basic care in a cost efficient manner, free of profit oriented insurance companies. Why can't we have both - in both countries?

    3. This guy don't know anything about european health systems. I'm italian and (and not definitely a "Socialist-Commie Frog", otherwise I wouldn't read this blog), live in Italy and I want to point out these facts:
      1) when Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (a billionaire with a $10 billon fortune) has faced a serious health problem he has been addressed to the public hospital of my medium-sized italian city (notably with adavanced expertise in the treatment of his disease) for a course of treatment. He did not go in the USA. Although he could afford any kind of care at any hospital in the world, chose the hospital in my city, located in northern Italy.
      2) When my father and several of his friends, now at an advanced age, discovered to be affected by prostate cancer, they underwent a surgical treatment whitin a week, in a modern hospital near home, at no cost, and the treament proved to be effective.
      3) When my wife moved in the U.S. for a few months for a research program in a California University, I was able to visit her for a week. In that week one of our Italian friend got sick and had to undergo an appendectomy in a hospital in the rich Orange County in California. They charged him $ 120,000 (covered by insurance) for poor medical treatment that prolonged the hospital stay. The Italian doctor has recommended to travel back to Italy as soon as possible because it is not convinced of the quality of care. I should point out that while the modern American hospital was no better in any field than the Italian ones in my area.
      3) I must however point out that the quality of health care in northern Italy is on average higher than that of southern Italy.
      Many thanks to Mr. Lira for his interesting articles.

    4. Caught in a lie! An apendectomy in the U.S. will cost about $4000 not $120,000.

    5. Sorry, Wrong again. I had an appendectomy last year with Group Health in Seattle. Cost: $11,000.

    6. Princess Died and everyone else in that car that wasn't wearing a seat belt is dead.

      The one survivor (TRJ) was wearing his seat belt.


  4. Canada's per capita health care expenditure (2009) was $5,542. France does have something!

  5. GL,

    What exactly are you advocating in this post?

  6. Yes ,the french live longer because eat better food (no hormones)
    In fact the whole european community eat better than americans and english.
    Now, regarding health-systems, the americans have better medical-tech. However the (american-system, beside of portraiting as the world-best, they should be recognize as the leaders of gansterism.

  7. Facts?

    From the CIA?


    Right now there are communities in America in which Medicare patients cannot get care. The reimbursement rates are so low they do not cover costs, so no doctor in the community will see them.

    For those physicians who will see Medicare patients, in some specialties the physician will only be paid to treat one diagnosis per visit. This means if a diabetic patient visits a podiatrist to have his or her foot treated for an acute injury and the physician recognizes the beginnings of a chronic condition, the physician must choose to treat only one. Either way the patient loses. This is what Obamacare will be - on a massive scale.

    If Obamacare survives there will be no such thing as healthcare for the masses. Pain and suffering will be the order of the day. For the young it will be neglect at best and butchery at worst. It will be euthanasia for the old.

    Obamacare is immoral. Those who know the truth about the outcome of Obamacare are promoting victimization. They are just as guilty as those who looked the other way while Sandusky victimized untold numbers of young boys.

    There is already conversation in political circles about restricting birth control. Why? To generate a bigger worker bee population to pay the interest on all the bailout debt incurred by government that the citizens never wanted. Guess who will get to decide who gets birth control and who doesn't? Obamacare. upheaval, social upheaval...the string pullers have sown the wind, and they are now reaping the whirlwind. It is indeed an amazing show.

    I am getting low on popcorn.

    K Smith

    1. "Obamacare" is not in effect at this time. If there is a dearth of Medicare providers, there is another cause. Please don't make up lies simply to deride your political adversary. It's childish.

  8. Being French and having lived in the US and watched first time minor and major illnesses from both sides of the pond, I have some additional data point.

    - Quality of healthcare in both countries are roughly equivalent (US are better at some parts; French at others). But both systems work quite differently so it's hard to get some "deep impressions".

    - French system is cheaper because France enforces a monopoly and negociates with Pharma company to have low price (or we don't buy).

    - Most MD in France are paid a lot less than their US counterparts (also no malpractice insurance and such).

    Main differnece: France see health as a public issue not a personal one and we try to catch illnesses the soonest while US seem to go see a MD when they're on the brink of death.

    As a French I don't understand how the US system works: these points were made by a friend :)

  9. American infant mortality rates differ in measurement. An infant has been born alive if it takes a breath and then dies outside the womb in 10 seconds. These deaths are in the infant mortality statistics.

    In many other countries (I don't know the specifics about France) infant mortality isn't recorded if the baby dies in the first 48 hrs.

    So those few babies that die in the first 2 days skew the results drastically.

    1. See above: OECD countries measure infant mortality rates the same way. Both France and the U.S. are OECD members.

      This stuff that “they measure it different over there” is just a cheap and pathetic way to elude the obvious comparison.

      Face facts like a man—don’t try to weasel your way out of them with bullshit.


  10. Comparing US health care system with just about any other country is like the apple/orange conundrum.

    US health care system is a private sector business just like any other listed on the NY Stock Exchange. Success is measured by P/E, retained earnings, quarterly profit and dividend. All other measurements are secondary or non-valid. The purposes of US health care is to ensure the health of the businesses engaged in it.

    Health care systems of other developed countries, and just about all other developing countries, is either a pure public service or a a mixed private/public setup. Success is measured by, sit back and hold tight, people's health. Money is secondary, to be adjusted according to national needs and economic well-being. But people comes first.

    There is no point arguing about it. US chose its system and individuals must live (or die) with it while corporate health stays paramount. Other countries chose theirs and must make difficult public budget adjustments from time to time.

  11. Hello,

    See this article from that dark pit of morally enervating socialism, Bloomberg-Businessweek:

    It's from 2007 but is a fairly balanced view of the French health system which is generally considered the best in the world. Notice that what is socialized is the financing, not so much the health care delivery:

    "In a recent World Health Organization health-care ranking, France came in first, while the U.S. scored 37th, slightly better than Cuba and one notch above Slovenia. France's infant death rate is 3.9 per 1,000 live births, compared with 7 in the U.S...." And further:

    "To grasp how the French system works, think about Medicare for the elderly in the U.S., then expand that to encompass the entire population."

    France, like everone else is looking for ways to save money, and the article concludes:

    "But France isn't likely to make major changes to a system most citizens say they like. Why would they? Says Shanny Peer, policy director at the independent French-American Foundation: "France gets better results for less money and everyone is covered."

    Let that roll around a little bit. France gets better results for less money and everyone is covered. And once again, Obamacare is not socialized medicine. It's essentially a republican plan modeled on Romneycare designed to use government to maximize profits for corporations at the expense of taxpayers and individual purchasers of health insurance.

    The deeper question is, why can't Americans look beyond their borders and learn from others? The current obsession with "American Exceptionalism" may provide a partial answer. America on the couch? Maybe it's time.

    No other wealthy democracy in the world, as far as I know, has the American health care financing system. Ah, and maybe there's a reason for that. And please don't take this as America bashing. But when your best friends tell you you're drunk, perhaps it's time to call a cab, go home, and sleep it off.



  12. GL,

    In your part 1 expose, you talked about Insurance. There, I commented about other areas of concern. Clearly we are on the same wavelength.
    The point you make, at first blush, seems valid (US has a more expensive health system with inferior results).
    But are infant deaths and life expectancies the most appropriate gauges (expressed as % of all things,for god's sake)for determining if a system is "ripping off" the population.
    Making a comparison of any of the following could give people a better perspective of where value in a health system truly lies:
    - Compare the levels of obesity
    - Availability of Hospitals both public and private (compared on a per capita basis)
    - Availability of Doctors (again on a per capita)
    - Compare diets and exercise
    - Analyse the causes of death in infants
    - Compare the causes of death in adults
    - Ingestion of GM foods - does this have an effect on wellbeing ?
    Where do you stop with these sort of comparisons. IMO ...its unlimited.
    Sure we know the ramifications of smoking...but how well do we know the effects of the drugs administered to the sick and suffering, foods consumed containing poisons but are labelled and issued as fit for consumption by the FDA. Corporate America has one eye on the cash flow and the other transfixed on maximising its leverage...the best way it can achieve leverage of its products or services, is via some 300mln people.
    You talk about a corrupt financial / monetary system but equally menacing are the myriad of socialist, centrally planned programs that deny freedom and choice and repress liberty. Suppression and denial... to ensure acceptance.

    What you discuss are merely the symptoms of the diabolical world we live in. There are distortions in everything and numbers can and do lie and when used in isolation, are inconclusive. In short, comparisons may not tell you everything or more importantly ...the truth is what you believe.

  13. When Americans of European descent are compared with the French or English or Germans the Americans live longer. For genetic and lifestyle reasons the two largest minorities in America (blacks and hispanics) have shorter life expectancies and when the entire population is used to create a statistical comparison you get skewed results. Simple as that. You can brag all you want about the superiority of a socialized health care system but it is more about genetics then diet or who pays for your health care.

  14. Apples and oranges. The French are far healthier than Americans so of course they are going to spend considerably less on healthcare. Now if you could find a way to credit the French being healthier to socialism, then you'd have something, you damn Commie.

  15. Gonzalo,
    your numbers about the cost of France health care are wrong: according to OCDE, France spends 11% of its GDP on health care, that is $4700 per year
    per citizen. This being said, I agree with your points that France has a better health care than the USA which has a horrible one. As a commenter said, there are many other facts which show the superiority of French health care over the USA: obesity, quality of life, life expectancy, ....

  16. I used to think that maybe there was better health care if you were famous, until I read that Andy Warhol died buzzing for help that never came.
    Most of the hospitals I've seen have deplorable food. That's an indication of how much they care for the patients.

  17. Dear Humans, readers of all gender, tribe, lifestyle or age,

    Any system is subject to fraud and corruption. If those systems are controlled by companies and corporations under the Law, then the chances of impurity and mis- and abuse are lower, plain and simple. If a government allows the c&c's to screw around, it is because the People allow their government to do so.

    Hence, we may all get sick, or become in need of assistance provided by the kind-hearted. We must care for them too, it is and always will be a social provision that is not to be regarded profitable. If that starting point is not clear, and the People let the evil c&c's including a corrupt government get away with it, then everybody is already sick and on their ways to the morgue instead of taking the path of recovery.

    Dont forget, love thy enemies and forgive those who do not know what they are doing. But also, clean up your own mess.....

  18. The French eat better, get more exercise, and work less, so of course they are going to live longer and healhtier. And healthier individuals use less of their money on healthcare simply because they don't need so much of it. Don't know how this glorifies Commie medicine when Commie medicine is not really responsible for the French being healthier and spending less of their money on healthcare.

    1. You apparently don't have the slightest idea what "Communism" really is. But never mnd - you share that characteristic with quite a number of other Americans. Unfortunately.

  19. We (Americans) keep getting sicker and sicker, with disease and illness on an exponential rise.

    We are a nation of pill-takers. If there's a problem, we have a pill for it. High cholesterol.... change diet? No way, just take a pill. Need to loose weight? change diet? No, take a pill. Are you sad and in a down mood? You're depressed, take a pill.

    What we eat is a serious problem. Other OECD countries don't eat the junk we eat. And the good stuff we eat is becoming more and more GMO, which is banned in many OECD countries. Why? Because there are no long-term studies on how it affects your body. Of insects and other animals don't want to eat what we grow, what makes it ok for us to eat? It looks the same, it tastes the same, but your body knows there's something different about it....

    What's the solution to lower healthcare cost? Learn about what you eat.

  20. Hmm, no homeland security, work less, eat better, lower cost of medicine, no political campaigns for 2 years at a time, good looking people. I think I will give that good ol french socialism a try. Call me a commie, but I am a good lookin, good eating, slim, healthy and relaxed commies. You fat sick tired, indebted freedom lovers knock yoursleves out.

    Gonzalo--de donde salen todos estos pendejos? Son trolls que te an assignando de los aparatos de seguridad estatal en lost EU? Que crees?

    Oh we commies are also multilingual! And do better on math tests and get this--by objective measures are more economically productive. An our women are hotter and our lives lots more fun than your pathetic tv watching getting aroused by cliches of freedom while they screw you. Put flags eagles and qoutes from the founding fathers and you can screw these stupid bastards blind.

  21. This is too much! "The French eat better, get more exercise, and work less, so of course they are going to live longer and healhtier. And healthier individuals use less of their money on healthcare simply because they don't need so much of it. Don't know how this glorifies Commie medicine when Commie medicine is not really responsible for the French being healthier and spending less of their money on healthcare".

    So perhaps a superiour political economic system and culture? What Eating better, working less and exercising more are bad things? If those are the outcomes then lets roll. Of course like most of the morons afflcting Gonzalos web site you have no sense of causality, or much else other than spouting rationalizations gleaned from FOX or campaign slogans....

  22. We have the best tech in the world… however the rates of Misdiagnoses determined at autopsy have remained flat for the last hundred years; at least until we drastically cut the number of autopsies to save money, or perhaps to save face.

    Also a friend of mine went to India for a heart procedure about a year or so ago. His insurance would have paid for the procedure in the US but by going to Bombay he had to foot the entire bill plus airfare. E.g. he didn’t travel to India out of cost concerns but rather quality of care concerns. The physician who headed the team doing the procedure was last employed at a US university in a tenured position training surgeons in the US.

    Maybe we had the best medical care in the US. However, now we just have the greediest and quality is a secondary concern, if it is considered at all.

  23. It's a combination of poisons in our water, food (GMO), super sizing portions to increase profits, putting addicting substances like sugar and MSG in the food, amalgams, aspartame, vaccinations, fluoride, food subsidies to grains, lack of cost accountability in the medical community (As a doctor, you can make more money the more tests you do in general. Very few industries, except military contractors have this leverage. And you see ridiculous costs there too), pharmaceutical greed in inventing diseases and suppressing cheap cures for many ailments, insurance companies bureaucracy in order to reduce cost and raise profits. The way that medicine and food is looked at also needs to change.
    Not to mention the aging baby boomers, increasing college costs, and of course the insurance bureaucracy is causing many people to either leave the profession or not get into it in the first place.
    Medical care in the US is in a sense like a monopoly. If you're bleeding to death or have a broken bone, you aren't going to have the luxury of shopping around for the best doctor. There aren't that many options anyway.
    The argument as to whether or not the medical industry is socialized or should be left as is, is the wrong conversation. You need to address each issue individual
    And since many of these companies that are causing the problem influence the government directly with lobbyists, I don't see the problem going away anytime soon, if ever, unless a revolution occurs.
    This is one reason why alternative therapies have blossomed in the US. It is born out of necessity because conventional care is too expensive.
    It's cheaper, sometimes to get an operation via traveling in India or South America, than to have one in the states.

  24. I do not always agree with Mr. Lira but I thoroughly enjoy his posts and the lively reactions they elicit. On this particular subject I tend to agree with him, and I have a question if anyone cares to answer it seriously:

    I am on Medicare and needed some lab tests. After receiving the final Explanation of Benefits the “Total Billed” column was $446.40, the “Claims Payment” column was $45.35, the “Patient Savings” was $401.05 and my “Coinsurance Copayment Amount” was $0.

    Of course I was happy to have spent $0, but what happens to the $401.05 that this patient “Saved”? Does the laboratory that performed the testing claims it as a “Loss” at the end of the year and therefore has a tax deduction? Are we all in the US paying for these “Patient Savings” by the health care providers who are not paying the correct amount of taxes? Does someone regulate the “Total Billed” amounts so there are no absurd differences as shown above between the billed amount and the negotiated rate with the insurance provider? And this was just a minor lab test that should have cost what the “Claims Payment” amount was.


  25. FRance and many of the other European Countires (as well as Canada and even to an extent Aus) are pretty diverse. I am a Spaniard. Spain has a lot of immigrants from Latin America and from Africa and still our cost of health care and life expectancy are like those of France. Also, Hispanics in America live longer than Whites, don't blame them for the expectancy data. Maybe because over half of americans are obese? Why are they obese?

    All in all, its an american religion. They cannot admit or usually see that other countries can do something better, that people there have better lives and better schools. If its Japan its becuase they are monoracial. If its multicularal France or Canada its becuase they are socialists--yes bailed out banks and 50% of people on some sort of government benefit is a real capitalist society with brave self sufficient jeffersonian ideals. Ha! Fat, sick, indeted, TV watching government dole people.....Thats the U.S. AT least the dole takers in the UK are not in such denial.

  26. The comment about Prince Di surviving if the accident was in the US is speculative at best. Autopsy showed an aortic tear, if I recall, which is extremely hazardous no matter where one is.

  27. I don't really think it helps your case to just trot out government statistics and go by just that. I am from Texas, still maintain contact with family in Mexico, and reside in Canada. I am amazed at the different qualities and values of life in this hemisphere. I would take you more seriously if you gave examples of your experiences in the countries you're comparing. As for the individual apparently inferring that "Hispanics" and "blacks" are genetically inferior to people of "European" descent, based solely on an assumption of longer life expectancy. There's a lot of holes in that argument, oh, where to start.

  28. It's not merely a question of socialism vs. capitalism, or which type of healthcare system is best.

    Americans are believers in technology and "more." Just more money, more pills, more procedures, and we will all be healthy and young! When in fact it creates the opposite.

    The idea of enough, or the idea of the happy medium, does not exist in America, and it's a cultural problem.

  29. I love the ardent, right-wing attacks on the Commie French. Ok, sure, they spend less on health care and live longer but it's because they are Commies who cheat by being healthier to begin with. Fucking Commies! They should be fat and unhappy like good capitalist Americans!
    Logic like this is what makes America what it is today!
    Let's take this farther. The French have fewer handgun deaths, but that's because they sick Commies who aren't even allowed to own handguns (like those Socialist Brits). We should force them to own guns so they can kill each other like us!
    And they don't work as hard as we do. Hell, those Lenin Lovers get five weeks vacation and 35 hour work weeks! And THEY ARE HAPPY about it. I say we force them all to work for Foxconn just so they know what real capitalism is all about.

    Screw the French and their arrogant healthier-and-happier-than-thou attitude. They should be broke, sick and Real Americans!

  30. I wasn't much impressed with the doctor that I met there for my wife's problems. Neither was one more friend who was admitted to the hospital because of falling down due to becoming unconcious after a severe chest pain. I am not sure if doctors in USA would be better.

    One thing that is very different in the two countries. Food. Food in the USA is horrible, and in France it is probably the better than most places in the world.

    After researching nutrition in the last few years. I have realized how much different the food is. And also I am kind of sure that we would have gotten the same treatment in USA as well. The western medicine has broken down the body into so many specialties that nobody understand the whole. This applies to both France and USA.

  31. You may make this comparative with spanish public health care system with the USA.
    In Spain we have one of the most profitable health care system, with some points under the UE medium and one of the best results around the world.
    The politics, despite up the invest on it to equal to the another countries, are under the neoliberalism arm and the "public opinion" is now probing the private option to get the high capital get into the market in a similar way of USA.
    And yes, this is the STUPID and UNFAIR world.
    Defend the PUBLIC SERVICES!!!!

  32. Please let me add one comment to this wonderful article. Many American find the quality of life so good in France that they move there and go to work.

  33. You are proving your own racism when you say ""Hispanics" and "blacks" are genetically inferior to people of "European" descent, based solely on an assumption of longer life expectancy."

    You cannot accept the facts so therefore the messenger must be racist. Or more accurately you cannot refute the facts so I will try to prove the messenger is racist. Either way to any intelligent person you have defeated your own arguement. Because if you had an argument you would have simply expressed it and not felt the need to play the race card.

    Hispanics of "native" descent are very likely to have diabetes. Diabetes is a death sentence especially if not treated correctly. But let me give you some opposite (opposite of how you presented the data) data. Hispanics in the U.S. live longer then hispanics in their own country. That is because the U.S. has better health care and treating diabetes is actually pretty simple.
    Now look at the related issue of African Americans. They have also have a genetic predisposition to become diabetic and obese. They have a genetic predisposition to acquire high blood pressure and sickle cell anemia.
    Unfortunately within the U.S. with our second amendment freedom and the freedom to "do drugs" both groups (African Americans and Hispanics) have the tendency to get involved in selling drugs and consequently protecting turf and that equates to shooting each other. The single overwhelming cause of death for young African Americans is gunshot.

    None of these facts is racist, they are simply facts. The total effect of these factors is that they statistically dramatically lower the life expectancy of Americans. IF you look only at Americans of European descent their life expectancy is higher then any country in Europe. This is simply because in the U.S. we eat better and have better health care then they do in Europe.

    Here is an interesting factoid to give you an idea about socialized health care; If you come down with acute appendicitis in England you will be placed on an anti-biotic treatment. This means you will suffer in pain until either you recover from your appendicitis or it bursts. If it bursts you will get an operation with a reduced chance of recovery. In the U.S. you would be operated in within hours and be out of the hospital the next day. Why, you ask, would they treat acute apendicitis with anti-biotics??? Simple, because it's cheaper and thanks to the low incentives of socialized medicine there is a shortage of surgeons in England. Most have moved to the U.S. where coincidently you are able to get needed operations almost immediately. Go figure.

    1. "The single overwhelming cause of death for young African Americans is gunshot."

      More accurately:

      The single overwhelming cause of death for young African Americans is prohibition.

    2. Quote: Unfortunately within the U.S. with our second amendment freedom and the freedom to "do drugs"....

      Man, I've done drugs in the US, and I assure there's no freedom to do drugs here.

  34. I actually need to look at the statistics myself to buy off on this. I split my time between Canada and the UK and there's so much rubbish written in the US about the glories of the Canadian system that I trust very little in what people say.

    I've spent about 30 years in Canada, 20 in the UK and 10 in the US and my impression is that on balance the US system is the best, although for non-emergencies the UK private system is pretty good.

    The big difference is the cost in the US and that is largely the cost of Pharma, insurance and the high pay of doctors. The doctor cost is the price in a free market, the insurance is the system chosen, but Pharma is a really abused cost in the context of this argument.

    Canada, the UK, France and many others negotiate with Big Pharma and get a better price, but this is misleading. The real issue with medicine is research and testing. The cost of that is borne by the US and the other countries just negotiate a "fair" price for the final product. If the US were to take the same approach then I can pretty much guarantee that the development of new medicines would grind to a halt. And that would be felt by everyone in terms og life expectancy.

  35. Life expectancy comes from IQ and standard of living, not from getting your breast chopped off or heart bypassed.

  36. My wife works at a well regarded suburban Washington, DC hospital, and she is forever telling me about foreigners that come here just to have surgery.

    What does this tell us?

  37. Sorry GL, but these "Facts" are disputed.

    All live births:
    Austria, Denmark, England and Wales, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, United States

    Live births at 22 weeks of gestation or more, or 500 grams birthweight or more: France

    I agree with the message of the article, but think you should be more careful with your "undisputed facts"

  38. Life expectancy & infant mortality measures, while useful for some things, aren't all that useful for comparing the merits of health care or insurance delivery systems, much less international comparisons of these things.

    The claim that this simple attempt at comparison means that France either has a "better" health care system or that the French are biologically superior is a false dichotomy, since there are not only many differences between France & the US, but there are far more factors that could contribute to the numbers in the comparison.

    Even OECD has noted for years that international comparison of results & numbers is not a good indicator to use.


  39. Give me a break. The best hospital in Paris is the American Hospital in Neuilly, right off of Boulevard Victor Hugo! The different demographics are compounded in the statistics offered, which are called the Flaw of Averages (study statistics). This post is just American bashing. Hey, those of us trained in the US educational system can see this BS pretty easily.

    1. Stacy Herbert, Max Keiser’s producer and co-anchor, who is American but lives in France, was kind enough to write the following:

      Someone in the comments also mentioned the American Hospital is the best hospital in Paris, this is the one I use. It's only because all staff speak English. It is not the best hospital, however. If it were, then the French elite would use it, they don't. They go to this hospital instead: Val-de-Grâce [The] American Hospital, however, is private and posh. It's where all the Saudis and Qataris go due to the nature of private, plush rooms. Nine out of 10 doctors and nurses, however, are actually French.

      I think that about covers the American Hospital in France, don’t you agree?


  40. Regarding Lady DI,
    In France a qualified medical team travels with the ambulance and ensures that patient is STABILIZED on site. This is why she was not moved from the accident site- she was already being attended the medical team .

  41. Some American's are incredibly ignorant and arrogant and have an idiot health system.

    Please note that we (those that live outside the US) actually do not care about how you abuse your own people, exclude them from basic health and dental care and are happy if you keep your idiocy within the US.

    It is a very callous, unforgiving and wasteful society, based on senseless individualism, where many people seem to feel good about themselves because they can step over and trample on others.

    Some points of note are:
    1. A universal health system is far more efficient - sod all to with socialism (as if you really understood the meaning of this word), but a reality. One system is administratively more effective, with all its own flaws, than the US system with all its layers of parasites taking their non value adding 'cut' to massively inflate health care costs;
    2. A national approach to health enables long term 'cradle-to-the-grave' approach to many global health issues such as drug abuse, dietary issues, alcohol consumption, sexually transmitted diseases, etc, as they do in the Nordic countries, and;
    3. Going bankrupt - I have lived in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and to my knowledge no one goes bankrupt (this includes all the other OECD countries excluding the US) as a result of illness but the majority of bankruptcies in the US are due to health issues - the cost burden US society must be considerable (and stupid).

    The real perversion of the US system is that it is in the interests of the health insurance companies to keep people ill as it increases revenues to the health insurance companies.

    Personally, I will be eternally grateful for the UK health service as it saved my life as a kid and I greatly admire those that had the vision to create the health service post WW2.

    So you see I don't care for any opinions about the Kafkaesque US Health system - which is one of senselessness, disorienting and often menacing complexity. We know its busted and not a model any sane person would try to mimic.

  42. How did that "qualified medical team" work out for Princess Di??

    A universal health care system could be more efficient but as it turns out it is not. The money is never enough to actually provide good health care and the socialized system is always forced to deny service due to lack of funds. In Canada the government limits the amount of money a doctor can earn in a year so most doctors there only work until they reach that amount of money and then either go on vacation in Mexico or work at another job. Entire hospitals are closed in the last quarter of the year as they run out of money. There are van services from large Canadian cites near the American border directly to hospitals in American cities. Canadians pay a large federal tax to support their health care system and on top of that they pay another large provincial tax to support their health care. The system does provide decent emergency and typical health care. If you go in with a broken arm or bronchitis you will get your arm set or a prescription for your bronchitis. If you go into the hospital with a serious heart problem requiring a bypass you will go on a list. If you are in your 70's the doctor will tell you frankly that you will not get a bypass because it is not economically practical (an example of socialized medicines efficiency). If you have a serious cancer requiring immediate treatment to save your life then you will be placed on a list that could put off your treatment for 2 years. If you are ill and need a CT-scan you probably won't get one. The entire country of Canada has fewer CT machines then any large city in the U.S. does. Your "free" health care in Canada costs you about 25% of your income whether you use it or not and when you need it they will tell you there is no money left to treat you. THAT is what socialized health care is all about.


  44. Healthcare is not a right. And even if it was, would you really want the powers that be, with their track record, deciding your fate?

    The problem is that there is not EFFECTIVE natural care being delivered, that works quickly, affordable, and for the masses that need it.

    Building a community based on that is our goal.

    Thanks for the continued truth, and entertainment GL.

  45. Wow GL. Usually you do a pretty good job of presenting facts and then providing analysis.

    This time, though, you're way off base. There's more to life expectancy than the hospital you go to. Culture, diet, drug use, etc. are all at least as important, if not *more* so.

    Do us all a favor and try not to write in your obvious bias. Or if you do, try to cover it up a little better.

    If you want to see how screwed up U.S. government-run health care is, compare a VA hospital with a "private" hospital. I have doc friends that have worked at both and I work with/for several different hospitals in my region. The quality of care provided is in stark contrast. I can't speak for overseas hospitals because I've never visited them, but I know EXACTLY why I'll never support government-run healthcare here in the U.S. I've SEEN what that is.

    Besides, why should you have a say? Don't you live in South America? No offense meant, but I don't get to vote for Chile's health system...

  46. Dear Gonzalo,

    Many thanks for this post but please go to the following part of the OECD website:

    First line, choose "Total expenditures HP1-HP9"
    Second line, choose "France"
    Third line, choose "2009"
    Fourth line, choose"% gross domestic product"

    In the table that appears, please check the figure in the box at the intersection of the last column "Total expenditure HF1-HF3" and the row "Total Expenditure HC1-HC9". This figure is 11.5%, it is the figure that is used by the international community of health economists and that corresponds to the official report of the French National Health Accounts available (in French) at the following link

    At the same time, please know that the ideas presented in this post (inefficiency of the US health financing system = poor health status indicators compared to a very high level of expenditures; role of medical lobbies in the cost escalation process) are generally shared by the international community of health economists. To present the actual figure would better serve the purpose of your post.

    A French health financing specialist

  47. Gonzalo Lira is removing comments....

    1. Don’t accuse me of something I haven’t done: Your post with all the links was assumed by the Blogger spam filter to be spam (this site gets about 20 spam comments a day). So it held up your comment for moderation.

      So no, I’m not removing comments. Not even stupid ones.

      Having said that, I would respect a commenter a lot more if—rather than shield themselves with anonymity—they identified themselves.

      After all, I do.


    2. Dear Gonzalo,

      I confirm that you did not remove the comment and please forgive me for not having anticipated the Blogger rules. I really appreciate.

      After having done your own research, do you now agree that the CIA figure is wrong?

      And please accept my preference for being part of the Anonymous.

      After all, we are many.


  48. Hey Gonzalo Socialist, please take into consideration the fact that death panels decide who will and who won't get treatment in France to cut costs. Please also take into consideration next time that your statistics are inaccurate. Good luck next time, you dumbshit.

    1. Point one: There are no such entities as “death panels”, in either France or anywhere else that I’ve ever heard of. If there are, then please: I’d like to see documentation that, a., shows that they indeed exist, and are not just the figment of the imagination of some health-care company lobbyist; and b., that shows—indisputably—that some people got treatment and others were left to suffer and/or die.

      If you cannot show that “death panels” in fact exist, or that they actually leave people to suffer and die, then I’m calling this “death panel” nonsense what it should be called: Bullshit.

      Point two: As I cited in my post, my statistics come straight from the CIA—so they ought to be accurate . . .

      . . . but then again, the CIA and the rest of the U.S. security apparatus claimed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, when of course there weren’t.

      So I see your point: If the CIA gets something that important so flat-out wrong, then they might well be screwing up infant mortality rates and average life expectancy—especially as we all know that the French are desperately trying to misinform the world about these crucial statistics, in order to protect their “death panels” and allow them to continue their bloodthirsty operations . . .

      Point three: If all you can do is call me a “dumbshit” after spouting a lot of nonsense, well . . . I guess it’s no surprise that you posted your comment anonymously.


    2. The only "death panel" I know of actually resides somewhere at the CIA or White House and decides whom to blow up with some Predator bombs, US citizen or not, while all the actual "dumbshits" in the good ol' US of A are those who following the death panel's decision honk their horns and celebrate another decisive victory in the neverending War Against Terrorism.
      They hate you for your freedoms, you know?

    3. NHS death panel:

  49. Gonzalo,
    I’m a fan but your use of statistical point averages to make broad generalizations is suspect. I guarantee that you don’t invest in that way, I.e., not considering nuance, standard deviation and simulations. You’re saying American health care is inferior because of birth rates, etc., taking nothing into account of demographics. I have lived 3 out of the last 10 years in Paris, and I have dealt with the French health care system. I have received good care from good doctors and also had two employees with emergent situations. One hospital basically gave my friend a cot and bucket while dealing with a serious shoulder injury, while in another circumstance the American Hospital dealt with the situation well. I understand the prestige of Val-de-Grâce but it is a military and government facility. The American Hospital was labeled “private and posh”, but having seen the inside of the facility, support and care, I would go there. That is also the opinion of my French and American peers in the Neuilly / Levallois Perret / St Cloud area. Keep in mind, there are good doctors in most civilized countries, but there are additional support elements that are a part of the package deal, e.g., Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins. Stacy Herbert -- close to the American Hospital is one of my favorite restaurants, Lily du Neuilly. I highly recommend it.

  50. With all due respect (the comments have become very personal and I think it is unnecessary), I can give you an example of "death panels" as they exist (obviously they aren't called that). My wife's grandfather was Canadian. He went to the doctor with chest pains and shortness of breath. He was told that he needed a bypass operation and without it he would most likely die in a few years. He was told that in Canada they would not pay for a bypass on an 82 year old. He had about $125,000 from the sale of his farm and he could have easily gone to the states and have the operation. He choose to give the money to his four children and to do that while he was still alive. His wife (a former nurse) was quite angry about it but grandfather was a proud Canadian and never said anything negative about the health care system. He did indeed die two years later. The doctor didn't make that decision. Someone some group in government made that rule. If it helps we can call them a "life panel". But the fact remains some small group of people in the government run health care system got together and decided that a certain class of citizens would suffere and die because there was not enough money in the system to pay for it.

  51. Having lived in the UK for most of my adult life, France for 6 years, Germany for 4, Italy for 5, and a few others in between, I can say without hesitation that the USA has the best medical care if you have the wealth of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. If you do not, then get used to shitty healthcare, with numerous co-pays, crap services, and poor quality.

    In the USA it is not really healthcare, but "Sickcare" and they hand out pills like they are cany. Case in point, I had a vasectomy, which failed, the doctor gave me 60 Percocet, with a refil for 30 days, this is great if your a drug dealer, however this equates to the The United States being consistently ranked among the top two or three in most type of opioid consumption per capita.

    In the USA a visit to the doctor always involves the following:

    1. Show up at surgery.
    2. Pay your co-pay and fill out form (again)
    3. Surgery receptionist no speaky englese, and has attitude.
    4. Sit for 30-40 minutes past your allotted appointment time.
    5. Be called, and sit in a cell type room 6"x6" then have a nurse (illegal alien) take your blood pressure, temp, height weight etc.
    6. Wait another 20 minutes for doctor to see you, all the while hearing why some old women in the next room has vaginal bleeding (so much for privacy)
    7. Doctor gets to your cell, and spends less than 5 minutes before either referring you to a specilist, or having no fucking clue what illness you have, and then sending you home with a handfull of pills.

    That is the extent of US healcare for your ordinary citizen with insurance.

    The reason Europe has a better standard of everything is depicted in the below link/picture:

  52. Having lived in the UK for most of my adult life, France for 6 years, Germany for 4, Italy for 5, and a few others in between, I can say without hesitation that the USA has the best medical care if you have the wealth of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. If you do not, then get used to shitty healthcare, with numerous co-pays, crap services, and poor quality.

    In the USA it is not really healthcare, but "Sick care" and they hand out pills like they are candy. Case in point, I had a vasectomy, which failed, the doctor gave me 60 Percocet, with a refill for 30 days, this is great if you’re a drug dealer, however this equates to the United States being consistently ranked among the top two or three in most type of opioid consumption per capita.

    In the USA a visit to the doctor always involves the following:

    1. Show up at surgery.
    2. Pay your co-pay and fill out form (again)
    3. Surgery receptionist no speaky englese, and has attitude.
    4. Sit for 30-40 minutes past your allotted appointment time.
    5. Be called, and sit in a cell type room 6"x6" then have a nurse (illegal alien) take your blood pressure, temp, height weight etc.
    6. Wait another 20 minutes for doctor to see you, all the while hearing why some old women in the next cell has vaginal bleeding (so much for privacy)
    7. Doctor gets to your cell, and spends less than 5 minutes before either referring you to a specialist, or having no fucking clue what illness you have, and then sending you home with a handful of pills.

    That is the extent of US healthcare for your ordinary citizen with insurance.

    The reason Europe has a better standard of everything is depicted in the below link/picture:

    1. Hi Andy, sorry your really good comment took so long to post. Because of the link, Blogger thought it was spam, and since that day the spammers were particularly aggressive, I didn’t catch your comment until just now. Better late than never!


  53. Let me ask you a simple question and a few follow ups:
    -Do you really believe infant mortality is a valid comparison metric for countries with advanced medicine available for all of the general public?
    If yes, why do you believe the US fare worse? Because the doctors are more incompetent? The poor cannot afford giving birth in a hospital? Other ideas?

  54. I think infant mortality is a legitimate metric of drug abuse. That's what is causing it. Some may argue that is a "health" issue but unless you are willing to take a hardline approach to drugs (like Singapore does) we probably won't fix that problem. Another part of this problem is the reporting. It is obvious for all to see that many European and Asian countries cook the data to make their results look better. Call it national pride or stupidity but when you compare the data and some of the reporters of data have "adjusted" it then the results become meaningless.

    In the U.S. virtually 100% of the poor give birth in the hospital (and pay nothing so affording it is a red herring). The middle class tend to be the ones who "choose" to give birth at home because it's trendy and something they can brag about with their peers. Generally giving birth at home with a midwife is safe and in almost all cases the hospital is minutes away if something goes wrong.

    If you want to fix this problem then we have to fix the chemical dependency problem. Human nature being what it is I doubt that will happen. But cheer up, I hear that Europe is experiencing greater chemical dependency problems so maybe the mortality rates will be equal soon and you will have to look for other statistical anomolies to support your theory

  55. The infant mortality rate is a complete farce. If a child is birthed with even a small chance of living it is determined to be a live birth in the USA while in France this same birth is put in the still birth column. Any child born in the USA has a much better chance of survival then if it were born any place else. As far as life expectancy check the average diets you'll find a lot more healthy overall diet in France. If the French spend less per person it's only because they don't spend on end of life care, in other words if you're 78 and need a hip replacement you'll get it in the USA and not in France, also in all of these countries with social healthcare the middle class is gouged with 35 to 45 percent income tax rates. It takes a ton of truth to overcome an ounce of BS and I'm sorry bud but you need to do a lot more homework because your facts are BS.


    AnonymousJan 26, 2012 09:05 AM

    The infant mortality rate is a complete farce. If a child is birthed with even a small chance of living it is determined to be a live birth in the USA while in France this same birth is put in the still birth column. Any child born in the USA has a much better chance of survival then if it were born any place else. As far as life expectancy check the average diets you'll find a lot more healthy overall diet in France. If the French spend less per person it's only because they don't spend on end of life care, in other words if you're 78 and need a hip replacement you'll get it in the USA and not in France, also in all of these countries with social healthcare the middle class is gouged with 35 to 45 percent income tax rates. It takes a ton of truth to overcome an ounce of BS and I'm sorry bud but you need to do a lot more homework because your facts are BS.

    1. Anon, post up some links. Opinions are like......

  57. Diet is one of those topics that everyone has an opinion about. If you have paid attention in the last 50 years everything has been declared bad for you and then good for you and then bad for you ... af infinitum. Fiest point: The French don't live longer then Amnericans. The data gets skewed because America is amelting pot of different ethnic groups with different genetic issues. When you compare only Americans of European origin with Europeans American life expectancies are slighty better. It all goes back to that old adage of lies, damned lies and statistics. You can't evaluate the statistical results unless you understand the underlying data.
    second point: Is the french diet better? First let me tell you as a frequent traveler to Europe I am biased. I enjoy eating in Europe. Having said that I don't find their food to be that much different. Primarily they use far more butter then we do and their sauces and spices taste and smell better. But a typical "continental breakfast" is pretty much like a McDonalds breakfast without the butter. That is you get a bun/roll, egg, cheese, a slice of ham and a little hollandaise sauce. In a real continental breakfast you will also get a jam/jelly and butter on the side. Lunch; sandwiches are popular in France and the contents are similar to what Subway offers. Some of the entrees they offer are slightly different looking and the names are slightly exotic but the food is the same. The fish is comparable with Long John Silvers and thier chicken is not quite as good as Kentucky fried and often not fully cooked. France has pizza too but again rarely good pizza. Dinners in France are exquisite, tasty, attractive but yet the food and the preparation is not unlike what you would find in an American restuarant. Bread is always available in good in France, every bit as good as the fresh bread you can buy in any Safeway or most any other American grocery store with a bakery. In fact the bread is identical. The butter is better, I eat more butter in France. The cheese in France is awesome. The very same cheeses are available to all in America as well but since they are expensive we generally eat the lower cost cheeses, but I would advise anyone out there who has not paid $10-15 a lb for cheese to rethink their frugal spending. Cheese is simply one of those foods that is so much better if you are willing to pay more. All in all do the French eat more healthier then we do? Depends on your particular bias. Some people won't eat any refined food and think refined food is "poison" but I gotta tell you the French used refined foods. Some people will eat no meat or dairy products but I gotta tell you the French LOVE the meat and dairy. I personally don't drink alcohol and again the French love their wine. So what about their diet is better?

    1. Now you have painstakingly compared eating-out-of-home-diets in France and the United States. Take it a step further and compare what people actually eat when they cook at home, and what kinds of ingredients they actually use. See the difference?

      What are you saying? Americans don't cook and eat at home any more? Well, there you might have the real difference... Just sayin'.

  58. Hi!
    I am Italian: I saw a lot of French or Italian restaurant in USA, but rarely Strips&Stars banners on restaurants in Italy or France. Does it mean something?

  59. There is some reality to the comfort a people takes just from the knowledge "we are all in this together, we all get the same care". This feeling is so comforting that it seems to be capable of covering over a lot of imperfections in a system of care provision,including problems of cost and bureaucratically-determined care limits. I think this says something, but I'm not sure what...maybe that to the extent a people has binding fellow-feelings with other citizens, they are willing to sacrifice certain potential personal advantages for the group? And that such a feeling does not prevail in the US? Basically, the us system is economic insanity, and it is definitely the middle class which is damaged by this. I also definitely agree with the commenters who have correctly pointed out the statistics shenanigans which appear to make France's system seem so much better. If the US adopted France's system, it would drag along into that system all of the problems such as ethnic groups with higher disease rates, inner city drug abuse, etc. And it would end up being a cost-overrun nightmare. Americans either have to accept a collectivised system wwhich contains bureacratically-determined limits to care, or the have to revert to a system with radical market-type reforms,where more complete individual choice is preserved.

  60. The constitution is the law of the land. We have in the past ignored it and no doubt we will again. However the constitution clearly restrains the federal government from creating a national health care system but allows the states to do so. In my opinion the constitution is correct on this issue. Where is the inherent right of government to threaten me with jail or physical harm and take from me money at the point of a gun to pay for the health care for someone who by choice or circumstance chooses not to pay for their own health care? Now, I realize for those of you in other countries without a constitution and guaranteed rights who have lived under a system where the governments hand in your pocket is normal and may even please you, that this concept may seem... well, foreign. But I do not want to lose any more of my constitutional rights and in fact would like to turn around prior unconstitutional acts by our congress and presidents in the past.
    Socialized health care will not make our health care better it will make it "equally" as bad for everyone and put it on a slip slide into disaster. This plan is a wetdream for the leftist/Socialist in our political system and their goal is not some kind of Nirvana/equality in health care but rather a destruction of our constitution to make it easier to replace it with a Marxist/socialist style government. This is far more then the nose of the camel in the tent this is the whole damn camel humps, ass and tail.

  61. So you'd be okay with it if it were enacted on a state level? Also, don't say embarrassing things like suggesting that other countries don't have constitutions, just because their legal documents allow for different roles for the state. It's one thing to substantively argue that our constitution is better for reasons a,b or c. It's entirely another to pretend that the enumeration of powers in the US constitution is"gospel" or holy writ.

  62. Reread it. I never said I'd be OK with it if the states implement it. What I said is the constitution gives the states and the citizens the right to do it.

    I have had Canadians and Australians say to me that they wish that they had a 2nd amendment enshrined in a constitution so that the government could not have taken their guns. THEY don't feel that they have a constitution that protects them the people. I have heard similar statements from people from England. Perhaps what you missed is that the mere existance of a "constitution" is not the same as constitutional rights.

    The "enumeration of powers in the US constitution" ARE the "gospel or holy writ." DUH! That's the point. There is no higher law for us.

  63. They are NOT gospel. I think that is more the point. Also, in regard to healthcare, our system as currently configured is incredibly is nothing worth preserving, because it is vastly overpriced, has tons of terrible built-in incentives to overuse and mismanagement, and is horribly damaging tot the middle class. The real passion advocates of freedom should have should go something like this: "we demand the dismantling of our corrupt, corporatist healthcare system which holds us hostage,wrecks lives, and inspires a fear of financial ruin greater than thefear of illness itself! Wedemand the restoration of a truly free market in healthcare NOW" Instead, what always comes out is something more like this: "we can't have socialism with all of its inherent flaws! We must fight tooth and nail to preserve our own vastly superior system, because it is free-market healthcare!" Its just dishonest, and ends up deteriorating into an endless fact-counterfact food fight. Both systems have their flaws. It is arguably worse to have a system which is so awfully expensive that average peoples' entire economic lives are built around getting and maintaining jobs where decent healthcare is offereed. Read George reisman's 'the real right to medical care vs socialized medicine', and concentrate really hard onthe first page,in which the supreme defender of capitalism writes 'the current system is not worth preserving as it bears the earmarks of financial lunacy'.

  64. You are correct that our healthcare system is not perfect and it certainly is not free (arguably none of them are free). However even considering it's shortcomings it is the best in the world. When Canadians get cancer or need an emergency open heart bypass if they can afford it they go to the U.S. and get immediate health care. If they cannot afford it they go on a waiting list and wait. . . and wait...

    What you are suggesting is that the government be autorized to take from me my money at the point of a gun if necessary and give that money to someone who won't or cannot work so they can have "free" health care. I concept that would have brought you derision 60 years ago but since the "great society and $15 trillion dollar debt seems to "almost" be reasonable. I'm sure there are many out there who would welcome some more "free" stuff. But there are two immediate problems and one long term problem: 1)the constitution forbids the federal government from doing this. 2)We are deep in debt and the economy is about to collapse it is impossible to add this enormous cost to the federal budget. The long term problem is that like every socialized health care system on earth it is not sustainable and will result in lowered health care standards, rationing and death panels. So the question is will thinking Americans jump on this doomed bandwagon?

  65. I'm not suggesting we should adopt a socialized system. I am suggesting that given the fact that we don't have freedom in healthcare anyway, and we already have tax money taken from us to pay for the healthcare of others, then it verges on the ludicrous to oppose full socialization as if it were the bogeyman, when actually fuller socialization, although not as ideal as full freedom, at least has the advantage that someone is looking to control costs, again, unfortunately through bureaucratic fiat. I also say this because of my absolute absolute CERTAINTY that the American people are neither interested nor will they EVER be interested in, a return to a truly free market in healthcare, with the degree of radicalism that would be necessary to control costs reasonably. Therefore, if I had to pick between two flawed systems, I am already making a utilitarian bargain. I might as well at that point say "principles aside, which one works best?" or at least "which system, filled with coersion and manipulation, is the least violently damaging to the weakes members of society?" That is more what I mean. I used to get all excited about market reforms in healthcare, and what all good that could happen. I now know that this will never happen in this country, and so my heart simply breaks for the millions who groan under the grotesque costs of our system.

  66. Having lived in five countries I would just like to come to the defense of Gonzalo Lira for this excellent post. Sure, not all the statistics are correct, but even so they still show that French as a WHOLE lives longer and have healthier lives than Americans. The talk about genetics is just to ignorant to acknowledge, but for those who want to persist in that let me just tell you that there are PLENTY of blacks and hispanics and arabs and whatever in France. Everywhere. If you don't believe me just go Google Street View crazy on Paris in your free time.

    Sure there are examples of bad health care in France, just like there are examples of great care in the USA, but on a WHOLE, the majority of French are healthier than the majority of Americans. That is just undisputable. Having many CT scanners doesn't make you healthier, it just means that you have more expensive equipment with which to "get a second opinion".

    So before you attack Gonzalo Lira with nonsensical genetics, isolated examples of good care (for those who can afford it) in the US or nonsense about death panels and Lady Di, just consider the fact that even if Gonzalo Lira is wrong and you are right, 40% of bankruptcies in the US are as a result of health problems, vs. virtually NONE in France. So even if your are right, these bankruptcies are contagious... financial mayhem spreads you know, and the defaults and missed opportunities of financial growth affects everyone in the community and the country.

    So in whatever way you count or whatever way you see the figures, France has a superior health system at a fraction of the compounded cost. And France isn't even the best in Europe. Go figure.


  67. Ignore genetics because it's ignorant!! Your'e kidding right? I understand that statistics is confusing but you really need to study it before you try to explain it. The U.S. has roughly 67% of people from a European heritage (genetics) which means 33% are from a different heritage. Sadly almost all of those other 33% have genetic predispositions to serious diseases that reduce their life expectancy ( high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity etc.) When you lump all of these people together and look at longevity statistically that lowers the overall longevity rate. It DOES NOT mean that Americans of European descent die younger then Frenchmen of European descent!! DUH! Most people in first world countries die of old age. That is without having to worry about the serious diseases modern medicine has cures for or being shot in a revolution most of us die of diseases of old age. For the most part modern health care has NOT found a way to "cure" these diseases. So health care in France or Canada or the U.S. will not prevent diseases of old age or materially increase your life expectancy once you get one of those diseases. So that is why a statistical difference of a few months between the U.S. and France means little or nothing when evaluating the health care system. To conclude that this statistical anomoly means anything (never mind to conclude that it means "France has a superior health system") is ludicrious and ignorant. I don't expect you to understand it you don't understand statistics and your mind is already made up. I can only suggest you move to France and hope that makes you live 11 months longer.

    Most bankruptcies in the U.S. are the result of stupid decisions by people who don't know how to manage their money. Indeed some people get sick and cannot afford to pay for health care so under our system once they have spent their own money they can declare bankruptcy and the tax payer pays it. You and everyone else who thinks it would be OK to tax me a lot more to pay for those health care costs are free to pay for them without taxing me for it. Why would anyone think it is right and just to tax the prudent productive people to pay for the health care of the imprudent and unproductive?? Explain that I think it would be a very interesting look into your mind. You are arguing that the government has the right to send armed men to my door and take my money and if I refuse to put me in jail and take my property and for what?? To pay for someone who is unwilling or unable to pay for themselves! Is that your plan???

    1. As I said, there are plenty of non-Europeans in France too, so the argument doesn't stick. France has had non-european immigration for centuries, thanks to colonies in North America, South America, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Have you ever been in France? Have you ever been abroad? Asians generally live longer anyway. Poverty is the biggest disease in America.

      News flash: Healthy people can work more. Proactive health care (like, the stuff they do in France) has a positive compound net effect on the economy. The middle class is the group that benefits most from having healthy compatriots.

      But if these kinds of complicated foreign mumbojumbo arguments challenge your patriotism then so be it. I'm only arguing that the US health care system is screwed. Especially when compare to what we have in other countries. That is all. I've never heard of armed men coming into anyone's house in the EEC countries for failure of paying taxes!

    2. Just googling a little I found this, a black man, going to Europe for surgery invented in the US. Yes, the system is broken.

  68. While I am sure that you are very prudent and very productive, it is definitely NOT correct to say that most bankruptcies occur because of "stupid decisions" by people who don't know how to manage their money. They wealthy use bankruptcy constantly as a means of getting out from under deals that go awry. The wealthy also generally have enough resources that a few hundred dollars a month increase in medical insurance costs don't even register on their radars, whereas for a hard-working middle class family, this difference can be overwhelming.

    One of the sad things about reading your rant is that you are so fixated on not being forced to pay for anyone else's bills, and so fixated on your moral superiority as a "productive and prudent" member of society, that you ignore the most obvious fact in this whole debate: you are ALREADY being forced to pay for non-productive and non-prudent peoples' healthcare. you are paying for it THROUGH THE NOSE in the form of constantly rising insurance premiums which in NO WAY reflect market conditions,(and in other, less tangible ways) which are directly affected by the fact that we have a half socialized system. Higher education is another area where this dynamic is obvious; subsidize the hell out of something, while leaving that thing in nominally private hands, and watch the price rise like hot air. Since this is the case

    1. Well, you got that mostly right. I am indeed "fixated" on not paying other people's bills. It is all about freedom and rights. The government should not be allowed to enslave some people to pay for other people. But you disagree. You seem opposed to freedom and rights and embrace economic slavery.

  69. Any system is going to fail, socialist or capitalist if the people that make up the system are corrupt. You don't change the 'ism, you have to change the human if you want a more perfect system. Changing the ism is only going to change the nature of the corruption. In socialism, you have supply problems. In monopoly capitalism (which the US has to some extent), you have cost problems. It's often times cheaper to fly overseas for expensive surgeries than it is to have one in the states. I know because my dad is looking for artificial teeth work and it costs about 1/2 to 1/3 less than in the US than the country he is in now.
    You could make the argument of course that some ism may be better than others for a certain type of culture or people. I won't go as to far to say that you can paint a broad brush and say that capitalism or socialism are better.
    You could also argue that all this corruption does turn out to be good for society in the long run. In the US, the corruption in the medical system is bad enough that people are turning back to alternative therapies - some of which actually are better than conventional therapies. In other words, the corruption is helping to fuel a healthier society.
    Sometimes a negative thing can have a positive result. Just as sometimes a positive thing can lead to a negative result.

  70. I don't know of any "corruption" in the medical system. If you do you should report it to your state attorney general. If you truely believe CAM is better then science based medicine then your problems have just begun.

    I understand Mexico has some great prices for dental work and the good news is they can give you a haircut or cure your cancer while you wait.

  71. You're not aware of it so it doesn't exist?
    The local hospital I live across has been known to charge for outpatient costs because it was more profitable than inpatient costs even though a patient stayed there more than 24 hours.
    They did a number on me too. A doctor did the same exact thing (procedure) to me that a nurse did to me so as to make an extra profit even if it wasn't necessary. It raised my bill though.
    pharmaceutical companies have relegated certain devices, such as rife machines, during the Nixon administration to strictly research devices.
    You don't have to take my word for it, even in conventional therapy there exists plenty of corruption - just watch mainstream TV if you don't believe conspiracy stuff. Watch 60 minutes on medicare fraud.

    What is CAM? I didn't make the claim that alternative medicine was better than conventional therapy if that is what you are implying. And a lot of alternative medical therapy is based on science. Although some of it isn't.

    And as foreign countries goes, there are places that do have modern facilities, like india, for heart surgery for example.

  72. So if they broke the law report them! DUH!

    So something happened during the Nixon administration... How is the relevent? And why does it matter who's administration was in office? I smell a political motive.

    Medicare fraud does indeed exist! You got it!! That is because the government does not watch where their money goes. That is why the government run health care is such a disaster.

    You could not possibly be touting alternative health care and not know what CAM is. Google it. Complemetary and Alternative Health Care.

    There is no alternative heatlh care that is effective and based on science. That is why it remains in the alternative health field and not in the science based health care field. If it actually worked then real doctors would use it.

    Does India's famous and glorious heart surgery perform operations for free to the 1200 million poor people in India??? I'm betting this facility mostly provides health care to the rich and foriegners. I'm also betting that if you go there and the doctors screw up and kill you that your spouse has ZERO legal right to sue them or to get the government to crack down on them. The reason that the quacks and snake oil salesmen have their offices in third world countries is because of the ability to evade the law. Feel free to go to India for your health care.

  73. Liar liar pants on fire. You said you were not aware of any corruption, and now you admit it. You're not interested in debating the truth, you're just interested in promoting an agenda.
    I'm heavily involved in alternative healthcare and have used some of it on myself - and some of it works - look up Hulda Clark.
    But no, you'd dismiss it because it doesn't fit into your arguments...
    Yeah I know. the world is black and white.

  74. Hulda Clark was a quack.
    This doesn't give a lot of credence to your belief in voodoo.

    What corruption are you talking about. Can you write in complete sentences and complete thoughts?

  75. Just a small personal story which may be of interest. I was making a stopover in the US for a few days before flying to Europe where I live (I'm a Canadian living in Europe). When arriving at LA airport and getting on a taxi to go to my hotel, I suddenly developed severe pains to the side of my chest. It was so bad that I asked the taxi to stop at the nearest hotel so that I could lie down. That was at 10 pm. Sure enough, the pains did not go away, and after two hours of suffering, I called 911 and was taken to hospital. That was at 12 am. One of the staff after some time quickly examined me and determined that my condition was not life-threatening, and so I was ordered to sit down and wait until it was my turn. It turns out that I had a kidney stone, and those of you who've experienced that will know how painful that is.

    I suffered excruciating pain and pleaded for FIVE HOURS for help until it was finally my turn. Everyone else in the waiting room was relaxed, either reading the newspaper or watching TV. No one really had an emergency condition. Looking back I now think that they were basically all uninsured, and that was their only way of being seen by a doctor for free.

    Back to the story, the secretary in the waiting room of the emergency department was rude and oblivous to my pains the entire time. No one in the waiting room cared either, despite my obvious pains, lying down on the dirty floor, or banging on the door for help. Finally at 5 am I was admitted in, and it took another 90 minutes before they actually offered to give me something against my pains. The only treatment I received was a urine test, and a few other basic tests, and a liquid infusion. I spent 5 hours in the hospital bed, after 5 hours of agonizing pain in the waiting room. Some months later I got a $5000 bill.

    I like America, but what I experienced on that occasion in LA was a lack of sympathy, or humanity for that matter, and a broken health-care system.

    1. You'd get the same treatment in Florida. Unfortunately, our emergency care sucks. My solution...don't get sick and God forbid you get hurt.

  76. I thought I smelled some horseshit there. No, OECD countries do not have standardized reporting procedures.
    Or at least they didn't in 2000.

  77. Re: tobacco.

    Hardly anyone in America understands the relationship of tobacco to schizophrenia.

    A tobacco tax is a tax on schizophrenics.

  78. I would also point out the food in France is superior to common American Fare. I was shopping at a local grocery store in Paris and was amazed at the freshness, quality, and diversity of the foods one could purchase in that particular grocery store. In America a grocery chain such as Safeway has relatively terrible produce, very limited freshness and diversity when compared to the French equivalent. You are what you eat, and your longevity and heath are directly influenced by the types of food one consumes.

    Like any resource the more it is demanded the higher the price increases. I am suggesting that Americans and their lifestyles contribute greatly to the amount of healthcare they require. The increased requirement of care results in higher prices, declining quality, and higher mortality rates. starts with the food.

  79. Mr. Lira,

    Good post. Love the controversy you stirred up with simple facts. I don't know how anybody with one active brain cell can deny the pernicious and deadly influence of the Sickcare Cartel (Charles Hugh Smith's terminology) on American life.

    To be clear, while I often agree with your suggested course of treatment, I typically disagree with your diagnosis of the underlying disease. The above post is one of the few times where I've agreed with you on both the diagnosis and the cure. Not that you care . . . :-)

  80. I am as conservative as you can get. At least in a libertarian, pro-entrepreneur capitalist mold. I agree with pretty much everything GL says, except I'm libertarian enough to not care one way or the other about gay rights. (Go ahead and get married, and adopt kids, for all I care).

    I am also a police detective who investigates insurance fraud for a living. The amount of waste and corruption in the healthcare system is astounding. GL is right, either we need to scrap the jacked up system we have now, and go all socialized or all private. The current system is going to either collapse or explode, but either way it will cost a fortune and destroy the economy.

    I once sat next to a doctor on a plane ride from Sacramento to Los Angeles. She was in Sacramento to to testify before the State Assembly about healthcare costs and insurance. She told me about the useless spending and wasted money in the insurance system. In her practice she told me she doesn't accept insurance or Medicare. All of her patients know this and know how much she will charge, and what all the costs associated with treatment are. She has a thriving practice, including treating patients on fixed incomes.

    So how about this radical idea: eliminate healthcare insurance entirely, eliminate medical subsidies from the government, and eliminate entitlement healthcare, and just let medical professionals determine prices? Let the patients pick and chose their doctors based on what treatment they think they need, and what they think they can afford?

    1. I agree in general with that - but how is it going to get implemented? Government and industry aren't going to police themselves. In fact, it seems to be the opposite is going on - the fox is in the henhouse.
      And you still need to address the fraud in the food, pharmaceutical, and other industries (like paper, energy, and hog waste) which also affect the ecosystems.
      In addition, emergency care needs to be either heavily regulated since they work like monopolies (you aren't going to go shopping for the best doctor when you're about to die). Cost accountability needs to be built into the system in all areas - whether through competition or through regulation. Hospitals can charge up to 26 or 27 times the price of certain drugs that can be found in a pharmacy. Doctors do unnecessary tests and procedures to jack up prices.
      You can't just go with the simple solution and go with the 'libertarian', 'socialist', or 'capitalist' model. You have to fix each problem one by one.
      If there is any philosophy that should be used it should be "if it works, then use it" - not capitalism, socialism, or libertarianism - because each of those systems addresses one set of problems while ignoring another set of problems that can be created by solely relying on that philosophy - and hence will tend to polarize people. Solve people's problems, and then the problems over debating which system is best will also go away.

  81. OECD countries measurements are all flawed. Most are set to fit what ever governing body decided it needs to be.

  82. From a French statistics site:

    Still birth
    Previous Next

    In general, a child must be declared with the births, deaths and marriages register when the gestation period has lasted at least 180 days. Since March 1993, a "still birth" certificate is drawn up only if it has not been established that the child was born alive and viable.

    This is the case :

    - when the child, dead at the time of declaration with the births, deaths and marriages register, was born alive, but not viable. The civil status officer draws up the certificate upon production of a medical certificate regardless of the gestation period ;
    - when the child died before the declaration of birth at the town hall, without a medical certificate stating he/she was born alive and viable ;
    - when the child was still born. Since the 30 November 2001 circular, a still life bulletin can be established as of 22 weeks of amenorrhea or if the child has reached a weight of 500 grams (viability criterion of the World Health Organization, WHO).

    In 2008, a new legislative change took place. Indeed, the decree n2008-800 of August 20th, 2008 redefined the notion of dead child. Henceforth, the act of dead child is established on the basis of a medical certificate of childbirth (delivery). The criteria of the gestation duration, 22 weeks of amenorrhea, or weight, 500 grams, are not taken into account anymore.

    This legislative change pulled in 2008 and in 2009 an increase of the number of dead children. The French data on the dead children cannot be so compared any more with those of the other countries (for whom the criteria of weight and of gestation duration still remain).


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