Image by iwmpop via FlickrI live in France, as most of you know, and I'm happy to say that France has one of, if indeed not the best, National Health Assurance systems, in the world.
Being of British Nationality, but having spent most of my adult life in Germany, I've had experience with all of those other systems, as well as many others - countries where I have worked. Whilst it is true that I've never really had to use them often until recently, I am impressed by the services offered, once you understand them!
If, like me, you are classified as "long term illness" - which includes many things, notably Heart conditions, but also Diabetics and many other conditions, then you are taken in charge for all of your medicaments, all treatments, even for the transport by taxi or ambulance or emergency services to wherever you need to go, at 100%. The only complaints I would have is the lack of (as usual) Dental Treatment - those gangsters of the mouth, don't want to know, and remain very Private and are "reimboursed" at a ridiculously low tarif, and if you need to enter hospital, then you are required to pay a "daily hospital tariff".......
amounting currently to around 18euros, which - considering the fact that the food is inedible - even if you're allowed to eat - is rather steep, bearing in mind that meals in France start around 8euros for excellent quality stuff. Of course, "supplementary" or "top-up" Assurances are available which cover all these additional costs, but many people simply do not have the resources to allow themselves such luxuries.
|This is the current version of the French Health Assurance Card.|
Now, such systems are prone to being "abused" - generally by people who don't need to, and those who are simply too dumb to understand that they ARE abusing it..!
I've heard stories from Taxi drivers who have been asked if they could "maybe just stop off at the supermarket" whilst on their way to the Hospital, and equally well Taxi companies who squeeze 5 or 6 clients into one taxi but charge the Assurances individually.
Today I was witness to one of these "abuses" when I went to the pharmacy to get my supply of medicaments for the month to come, all at 100% reimboursed totally.
A youngish male, around 35 years, who lives close to me, and who is considered as "mentally feeble" by the Authorities, who has never worked in his life, who has his rent paid by the local Social Services, his Health Insurance, as well as everything else - even including a lady who comes 3 times a week to clean up and do shopping - washing - ironing for him, in his rent free appartment, was sitting there talking as usual in his extremely loud voice, informing all and sundry that he had made a good bargain for a new pair of sandals.
They should have cost 45 euros and he got them just for 5 euros!
Yes, he explained, they were just a little bit too small, and they rubbed his toes, but being a Diabetic, that wasn't a problem, all he had to do was to go and waste the Doctor's time, get a prescription, free of charge, of course, go to the pharmacy and get the stuff (again free of charge) and.....all of this BY TAXI...and "all free of charge", of course!
I don't think I should quote my feelings as he recounted all this in his loud voice!
I'm very happy to have such a Health System, but I just wish I could arrange it a little bit better, particularly since I am well aware that certain people, and millions of them, are not insured at all, and probably never will be........if they stay where they are....whilst certain others are using and abusing everything they can get their hands on - in ignorance or on purpose.
Image via Wikipedia************(iwmpop) Mr le Marquis - Vauvert, France Mai 2011