While doing his media thing in New York, Sarko weighed in on healthcare, saying,
“Welcome to the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and the poor,” Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.
From the European perspective, he said, “when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it’s difficult to believe.”
“The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them … is something astonishing to us.”
Then to hearty applause, he added: “If you come to France and something happens to you, you won’t be asked for your credit card before you’re rushed to the hospital.”
That’s IF you get to the hospital. Poor Princess Diana wasn’t rushed to the hospital even when she was clearly injured in a car accident.
But let us take a look back at that statement of Sarko’s, compared to a few hard facts on France’s healthcare: Almost exactly four years ago I did a roundup of articles from the BBC on France’s disastrous healthcare situation:
May 10, 2005
Hundreds of French surgeons have begun a symbolic “exile” in Britain to demand the right to charge higher fees
Jan 22, 2004
Thousands of French health workers have held a one-day strike to protest against government plans to cut costs in the country’s health system.
Jan 22, 2004
Doctors, nurses and other health professionals have taken to the streets of Paris to protest against government plans to cut back on a health service which has a projected overspend this year of eight billion pounds.
15,000 elderly and frail dead during a heat wave in 2003
Aug 14, 2003
With temperatures soaring above the 40C mark over a two-week period, France’s poorly-prepared hospitals never stood a chance,
since they lack air-conditioning.
Sept 9, 2003
French doctors have angrily hit back at an official report which said their “massive” holiday exodus last month had contributed to the heatwave tragedy.
Aug 13, 2003
A widow is demanding to know why her husband lay dying in a French hospital for nine days without his family being informed, say reports
Jan 3, 2002
Gynaecologists in France are refusing to carry out ultrasound scans on pregnant women after a court found they could be liable should a disabled child be born.
Jan 22, 2002
A national strike of hospital workers was called on Monday to protest about staff shortages after the introduction of a 35-hour working week.
Doctors at French ski resorts are staging a 24-hour strike over complaints they are not paid enough for treating winter sports injuries.
At least half of patients in Europe with muscle or joint pain are not receiving treatment, research suggests.
The chronic shortage of doctors and medical personnel, the strikes, and the restricted treatments continue.
But, Sarko’s right: “Welcome to the club,” America.