The Watchdog had a routine visit to a medical group of eight specialists.
The building was “A” grade. The waiting room was spacious and well appointed, albeit almost empty. The receptionist was courteous in verifying the Watchdog’s insurance coverage. (If no insurance, presumably cash up front.)
He noted several support personnel passing through the lobby and later in the corridors, many transporting files.
He assumed that behind closed doors there were other clerks billing and negotiating with the insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid.
Led into a comfortable examination room, a pleasant medical assistant asked a few questions and conducted a test.
The specialist entered with file in hand. He was most informative, helpful and gracious.
The Watchdog did not mention that in France the offices would have been small in size, rates were standardized and largely covered by universal health care, there would have been far fewer support personnel, all his health records would have been kept on his “vital card” carried in his wallet, the physician would have had immediate access to the information and, at the end of the visit, have added his notations to the records on the card.
Nor did he mention that the cost of national health care in France is half as much per capita as in the USA. Nor did he add that care in France is considered the best in all of the advanced economic countries, and care in the USA is rated the worst
After his examination, he entered a pleasant office where he settled his account with a proficient lady.
As part of friendly chatter, the physician volunteered that he thought the British Health Care system was in trouble and was going to become two tiered, meaning that rich patients would be allowed to bypass the universal health coverage and obtain health care at his or her own expense from private sources.
The Watchdog remarked to the doctor’s surprise that the American system was already two tiered: Some Americans have access to adequate health care. Others do not.