View Full Version : Doctors, bills, pills, insurance

02-08-2003, 01:27 AM
hi all,
in France we are always surprised to see that you americans buy \"strange\" medicines such as HGH, Ephedrine, etc so easily. These products are either forbidden here (Ephedra) either highly controlled by doctors. So we tend to think you don\'t take a lot of precautions when it comes to cure any illness and that you can buy any medicine in any drugstore...

BUT I know you have a very different system from ours, ie you have to pay your own medical insurances, whereas we have the \"securite sociale\" which allows us to go and see a doctor almost whenever we want.

My question is : how much do you pay to see a doctor (a generalist and a specialist) ? or are the prices free ? and if you have, say, a simple cold, how much does it cost to cure it ? (here in France it could be about $40, and we get a 70% reimbursement with our health system, more if we have a supplementary insurance : it may cost us nothing). If we have to go to the hospital it\'s the same : it may cost us nothing, except TV in the room and a special food if we want.

This is something I\'d like to understand ! thanks for your answers


02-10-2003, 08:01 PM
Hey, Frenchie.

People who have jobs at companies that offer good health insurance are able to stay healthy and keep their teeth in good repair and get eyeglasses when they need them. People who work for themselves or people who work for companies that don\'t offer health insurance or only very marginal health insurance cannot afford any preventative maintenance nor much care. They tend to go to the emergency room after something has got to a critical stage because they\'ve held off, hoping it would just go away, because they couldn\'t afford a doctor. A physical can cost a good $1,500.00. A non-specific ailment can easily run into the thousands. It depends on what complaint you present with and how much you know about your own condition. If you go into the doctor and say \"I have a sinus infection. I know this because I have exactly the same symptoms I had before. I want so and so medication. Write me a prescription.\" You can get out of the office for maybe $150.00 for the office visit, plus the cost of the prescription. However, if you go to the doctor and say my nose is stuffy and I don\'t know why, he is under obligation to run as many tests as would rule out whatever could possibly be wrong with your nose. If he misses something, you could come back and sue him for negligence, which will make his malpractice insurance go up. The more tests he orders, the more money you have to pay.

Insurance is extremely expensive. $200-350 dollars a month is not at all unusual. I work for a big fat ass law firm with more money than god and I don\'t have to pay anything, but it took me my entire life to get to this point. Years ago, with smaller firms, I could not afford a physical and most of the time could not afford a doctor, because I couldn\'t afford the visit NOR could I afford to pay for health insurance.

Many, many people here just cannot afford to go to the doctor.

And it\'s funny what you say about the perception that we don\'t take precautions about substances ... I\'ve had the perception that many things are approved in Europe that are not approved here - so, just the opposite perception. /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

02-11-2003, 06:37 AM
Honest to God, for the life of me, I can\'t understand why the USA pays for the medical research for the entire world. Only our laziest and oldest people get any health care sponsored by the government (almost forgot our military veterans).

Unlike in France, our doctors would rarely, if ever, make a house call. Your fees are less, too. I know people that would like to get rid of their American citizenship so they could become a part of your system and not pay our inflated taxes.

I do believe that our medical services are superior to yours. Our litigious society may be responsible for that.

02-11-2003, 11:43 AM
One of the fairly recent improvements in our Federal system has been the deregulation of many chemicals and herbs. To regulate or control a new substance (controlled items pre-existing to the law passage are grandfathered), the government has to a) pass a new law explicitly controlling that substance, or b) go through regulatory law processes - hearings, notices in the Federal Register, comment periods, etc.

The basic rule is that if it is \"natural\" - a product of nature or found in nature, then it is innocent until proven otherwise.

This system is under attack, of course, by various interests. Ephedrine, for example, has been controlled on a state level.

In the other direction, some states are allowing marijuana for medical uses while the Federal government (Justice Depratment, at least) is adamently opposed. One local case had a gentleman, growing medical marijuana for the City of Oakland, California, convicted in Federal court for wholesale growing and trafficing. This man had lead the political initiative to make medical pot legal - that\'s where the voters of the state cast ballots on specific laws. The jurors later apologized to him since the facts about the medical use was kept from them in court.

Regulation of drugs is a very active issue politically in the States these days. Frankly, it\'s mostly about power and money - we consumers can do a lot for ourselves without paying ridiculous prices to doctors and pharmacuetical companies who want governement profit protection at our expense.

02-13-2003, 08:38 AM
Our health care system is barbaric. Every civilized, industrial country does better. No one takes responsibility, when it is crucial the major entities all have to. We are the richest country in the world and you have to work for a big corporation to have insurance. Guess why there\'s incentive not to fix it? Because the more people forced, under threat of sickness and premature death, to join corporations, the more complete the power of corporations will be. Lawyers are forcing physicians to incorporate to spread liability.

Insurance companies swing deals the way they want to swing them -- not with individuals. If they were a bit less corrupt they would offer group rates to informal groups of individuals.

Virtual corporations, formed only for insurance purposes, might be one approach. These could be based in communities.