Molly Roberts, MD, president of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA), recently visited France, where she had an opportunity to see that nation's healthcare system in action. She was impressed with what she saw.
Critics of European-style healthcare often decry France's system as the epitome of everything wrong with "socialized" medicine. According to Dr. Roberts, the French system is actually a mix of public programs and private payors. The key difference is that the French central government sets fair ground rules for comprehensive coverage that apply to all citizens.
"The French people take offense at the notion that they have socialized medicine. They see their system simply as the most intelligent and logical way to make sure all their citizens get affordable healthcare."
She believes the French approach to healthcare, like the French lifestyle in general, is much more holistic than our American way. Basic coverage in France includes a host of medical, psychosocial and community support services for which Americans must pay out of pocket. Despite this, the French spend less of their GDP on healthcare, and generally have better health outcomes.
She acknowledged that France does not have all the answers, and that a French style system probably would not work in the US. But Dr. Roberts beleives Americans would benefit from taking a more open-minded look at how other countries solve their health care dilemmas.
"We miss out on an opportunity to learn from others' successes and failures if we don't pay attention to the healthcare systems that others have already tried and vetted. If a healthcare system keeps people healthier overall, helps them live longer, covers the vast majority of the population, keeps their babies more healthy, treats the sick in a way that doesn't bankrupt them, lets them see their doctors of choice, has smaller co-pays, is very popular with the people, and is still more economical than what we have here in the U.S., then what, really, are we arguing about? Médecine holistique pour tous est une bonne idée!" concluded Dr. Roberts.
Drs Molly & Bruce Roberts will be featured speakers at Holistic Primary Care's upcoming Heal Thy Practice: Transforming Patient Care conference, Nov. 9-11, 2012, in Long Beach, CA