The French medical system rocks. After partying way too hard in rainy weather, I have a nasty case of strep throat. After realizing the seriousness of my illness today, I explored my options. Most doctors make house calls here, but being used to rape-and-pillage American prices, I figured I should drag my butt halfway across town. It worked out, but I now know that it would've been better to make the doctor come to me. For being a student under the age of 26, I'm required to buy insurance that covers 80% of medical expenses for a grand total of $120 for the whole year. This means that a 40E house call would have cost me 8E. As it was, the medical visit and the antibiotics cost me about 35E total, meaning after reimbursement, I pay only 7E. That rocks.
Why don't we have socialized medicine? Oh yeah, "quality of care."
I was able to make an appointment with a general practitioner for two hours after I'd called. The doctor I visited was completely bilingual, as was the woman at the pharmacy. I'm used to doctors whom I know personally because my mom works for my general practioner. So, I usually have rather pleasant experiences at doctor visits and it has come as a total shock the few times I've entered the harshness of the "normal" American medical experience. This was by far the best interaction I've had with a alopathic doctor. He was patient, caring, unhurried and willing to explain everything. Unfortunately the treatment took a few days to work and it still hurts quite a bit to swallow, but I don't think that problem arose from socialized medicine.
Now, I can't speak to the intricacies of the available surgical techniques, technological innovations nor the quality of cancer care or AIDS treatments. But from what I know about the American medical system, those extremes are only available to the few people who can afford them anyway.
I say hooray for cheap medical care.