The French Health Care System from a Happy Patient

I got this today from a dear friend who lives in Paris, in response to my previous blog. She only lives there; she is American – an American in Paris, like Gene Kelly (I mean from the U.S.A. – I am also American – from Argentina, which is also in America 😉

I stress the fact of her nationality so that you better understand her description and appreciation of the French system. So, should I go to Paris?

She has given me permission to use this, without her name. It is very important to understand it, as here they are fighting Obama for his “commie” views on health… Will they say the same of the French?  Never!  My guess is that they don’t even care or know about it.

“I begin to understand the benefits of the welfare state in France as I deal with my end stage renal failure. When they say “prise en charge”, for a malady of long duration, they really mean it. They make almost all my appointments for me (and usually immediately), call me or ask me to come directly to the hospital (not to the ER), if they see an oddity, follow my case very carefully with the team of doctors who know me inside out, send me for scans and tests sometimes to have different eyes look inside, make sure that reports and lab results are shared with every doctor I see. The philosophy of the State as caretaker is firmly rooted here as in other European countries… perhaps too expensive to keep up the standards people are used to, but based very much on the traditional and constitutional tenets of solidarity and good citizenship. This is a social contract between citizen and state. One’s rather high taxes pay for these state services. The aim is free and equal education, basic health and child care, sanitation, housing. Realizing the goal is getting very much harder for many reasons, but the concern for citizens’ welfare is in place. I wish you had the same kind of safety net and were not called upon to do all that you need to do (and pay) while you feel sick, tired, and frightened.

It’s certainly not perfect, but it is based on principles in which I believe. Much love, xxx


She is very lucky to be living there!!! And this doesn’t make her or me more of a Euro snob than any others who have access to great health care at hardly any cost (something that is not mentioned but is also part of the system.)  I am ready and willing to go tomorrow 😉


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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4 Responses to The French Health Care System from a Happy Patient

  1. Princess Solange Von Sachs says:

    The French health system is fantastic. And it’s certainly improved since the disastrous heat wave that killed (how many?) elderly persons trapped in their walk up apartments? (I responded to that horror with an outraged letter to the NYTs.) Now the French have an outreach program–a registry– that keeps their vulnerable citizens on the health radar screen. Their universal health care reflects a civilized nation. Compare that to our shameful, abysmal, embarrassing US ‘health care.’

  2. martisima says:

    They learn from their mistakes. We were there when they has that heat wave – unprecedented, really! Here we are paying a hefty sum in addition to our insurance, to try to get acceptable health care. But I still cannot get to see a doctor when I want!!!

  3. Anna Amato says:

    I just opened your blob and I have to say that if you’re a Euro snob then I certainly am as well and would move there willingly if you and Guido go! What a difference between France and what we have to endure!
    I finished a Discovery of Witches and tried to read On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – it’s just ok – now I’m on to the Witch of Babylon – should keep me sane as tax season ramps up!
    State Bene my dear friend

    • martisima says:

      Yes, cara Anna – let’s all go to France together! Wish I had more help here, but I am still waiting for Dr P to reply…

      As far as books, A Discovery of Witches will be made into a movie. I don’t think I’ll like it. I loved The Witch of Babylon and wrote a review in amazon:

      5.0 out of 5 stars Bewitched by Babylon, June 15, 2011
      By Martísima (Potomac, MD) – See all my reviews

      This review is from: The Witch of Babylon D J McIntosh (Import) (Paperback)

      A truly formidable book! I started reading it, and by midnight every time I came to the end of a chapter I thought of stopping and continuing the next day. Could not do it. Had to finish it. And so I was confronted by quite a turn of events throughout the book, and then even more towards the end.

      In addition to a well structured and suspenseful plot, the characters are exceptionally well portrayed. The description of all the places is masterful. It makes the reader feel like being there. And sometimes like not wanting to be there… But there are no true “witches” here – only the ones we are familiar with and that do exist.

      And then, there is much important information on the cultures of the Mesopotamia, its origins and developments. It makes us aware of so much we did not know or do not remember. It is so well integrated in the text that it is not at all intrusive.

      In all, this is an original and superb first book. Let’s just hope that they don’t start comparing it to The Da Vinci Code or any other like it. This book is all its own in every respect – themes, characters, locations. I am now waiting for more!
      Hope you like it too! I had heard about On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet , but don’t think I’ll read it yet. I have about 340 books on my poor Kindle, and many are still waiting to be read.

      Thanks for writing! I remember you all the time!

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