Many people have cited the “roaring” success of government-run healthcare programs in Europe as sufficient reason for America to adopt a similar program. Perhaps, we should actually look to our neighbors abroad for the long term effects of such a health care program. This article in the WSJ highlights the limits, real life frustrations, economic effects and problems associated with France’s Universal Care. In understanding the trends of universal care already implemented abroad, America should take note of the alarming comparisons. Here are some of the highlights in the article:
France claims it long ago achieved much of what today’s U.S. health-care overhaul is seeking: It covers everyone, and provides what supporters say is high-quality care. But soaring costs are pushing the system into crisis. The result: As Congress fights over whether America should be more like France, the French government is trying to borrow U.S. tactics.
The French system’s fragile solvency shows how tough it is to provide universal coverage while controlling costs, the professed twin goals of President Barack Obama’s proposed overhaul.
Despite the structural differences between the U.S. and French systems, both face similar root problems: rising drug costs, aging populations and growing unemployment, albeit for slightly different reasons. In the U.S., being unemployed means you might lose your coverage; in France, it means less tax money flowing into Assurance Maladie’s coffers.
As the U.S. continues debates over Obamacare and a universal health care package maybe this time we should look to our neighbors for what not to do.