2005-06-29
Our last day together

Jeremy Curtis plans to go into medicine, and he has interviewed two practicing physicians here in Les Sables.  One thing he notes first off is the French sense that a vibrant democracy depends on the health of its citizenry.  He explains that this may be the reason that France puts health care at the core of its policy of national security.  In fact the French health care system is called "SÚcuritÚ Sociale" -- Social Security.  The current system has been in place since around 1945.  Jeremy says it was constructed in part to ward off future disasters like the those seen in the Depression and in the two World Wars.  Today every working, retired, or dependent French citizen is a part of the national security system.  Those who opt out must provide their own employment and individual insurance, but in practice most every one wants to participate.  It's quite expensive, of course, and it's paid for through taxes on employees and employers.  When you add up the numbers, though, the French system is far less costly than its "privatized" American counterpart.  Jeremy tells us that the World Health Organization ranks France as the number one nation in the world for quality health care.  The W.H.O. uses figures like life expectancy, infant mortality, accessibility, and overall costs to make their rankings.  (Just for reference, the U.S. ranks 37th).  If you want to live a long time, you'd do well to be born in France -- and to die as late as possible...

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This page last updated on 2005-06-29 6:12:36 AM.