Obamacare, Healthcare, Costacare – Politics to Paradise
Relatives come in all sorts of political clothing, more diverse and opposed than friends, who tend to be of the same ilk. My family is sprawling in that we seem to be related in one way or another to just about everyone in New Orleans Jewish community, if not by blood, then by marriage. I came in contact with people I had not seen since childhood, who of course looked different than I remembered them, now that their hair was thinner, grayer or they were fatter, more wrinkled.
As the family gatherings took shape over the weekend in New Orleans, the conversations took interesting shapes, too. It started with, “Oh, you’re the sister that lives in Paris, right?”
“Yes. I’ve been there 18 years now!”
“You must like it, then?”
“Yes, what’s not to like?”
At which point the conversation would often turn to politics. The hot topic: Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) vs No Care vs French Socialized Medicine.
They wanted to know, “Do you like the healthcare in France?”
Some didn’t really want to hear what I had to say. The physician husband of a first cousin, who is politically right and had some awful nickname for Obamacare that I can’t remember and wouldn’t want to repeat, absolutely could not allow himself to hear the positive things I had to say about the quality of the health care in France — the low cost of the care and the drugs, or the fact that while Social Security costs are not cheap, they are a whole lot less expensive than private health insurance Stateside. And that guess what?…EVERYONE has health care benefits regardless of how much they earn.
That’s what really drove him nuts. Like many, he didn’t think that he should have to pay for anyone else, particularly those who don’t help themselves. It was a classic point of view, particularly for a physician who is earning oodles of money — much more than any French physician would hope to earn. And that’s what he wanted to know, too — how much a doctor in France earns.
“Not much,” I replied. “Not as much as you.” And then I tried to explain how and why a doctor in France can devote more of his/her time to the patient and not the administration of the practice and since what they do isn’t about the amount of money they earn, why we as patients get so much better care.
My cousin is politically opposed to her husband, who had a hard time getting him to actually ‘hear’ what I was saying. He was not alone. I discovered that even the most intelligent of Americans don’t really WANT to understand how ‘socialist’ (dirty word) policies might actually be good for them, as well as for those who aren’t as fortunate as a well-educated physician.
I equate Obama’s campaign to spread the wealth a little more is akin to Sarkozy’s campaign to instill the “work more, earn more” idea into the French…that as we all know, failed. Funny how our two nations grow further apart in philosophy. While the leftist France is going further left, the right America is going further right.
Meanwhile, we’re all going to fall into the abyss of no man’s land somewhere in the middle between the two, which is where (in my opinion) we need to be. As the old saying goes, “it takes two to tango,” meaning it takes a close relationship between the two to dance well. Both doctor and patient have to be happy to be healthy. Both landlord and tenant need to benefit from their lease. The employer won’t be successful if his employee doesn’t care about the job he does. And the list goes on and on.
On Tuesday we flew from New Orleans to Costa Rica and after getting lost several times on the back roads, drove miles to our resort hotel on the Pacific. The terrain is drop-dead stunningly lush and beautiful. By the time we reached the Clandestino Beach Resort, it was pitch black and we couldn’t see the magnificent Pacific shore along which we were driving on a rocky dirt road.
Under a thatched roof on bamboo furniture we dined on grilled shrimp and “ceviche.” My daughter and I vowed to diet on seafood and salad the rest of our vacation to make up for the fat-full, hormone-injected, genetically-modified, sodium-laden diets we existed on in the restaurants and airline meals. She reminded me that while French food is rich in butter and cream, the produce is fresh and the meats and fish are naturally organic, one reason you see so much less obesity in France.
After dinner, we wandered into the ocean in the dark with the French owners of the resort (really! — we’ve been speaking French!) to see the baby sea turtles, now hatching by the thousands, then swam in the luke warm pool where big frogs swam and hopped in and out.
Our room is a bamboo and stone house with a big veranda swathed in mosquito netting, modern and beautiful, with two queen size beds, adorned with fans and air-conditioned. As I write, I am sitting in a bamboo swing on the veranda, surrounded by palms, banana trees and luscious vegetation. The pool and the ocean are steps away. I think I have died and gone to heaven and may never leave.
On Monday, you’ll hear all about the crazy adventure we are sure to have as we plan on taking the Zipline Canopy Tours, trek through the rain forest, jet ski and a myriad of other excursions to visit this beautiful spot on the planet.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
(Costa Rican office)
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