Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Rationalizing Dead Frenchmen
by Lee

A reader named Paul writes in with a critique of this post on the French health care system.

I am totally against Michael Moore because he is a liar. I came to your site hoping to contribute in some way to revoking his Oscar. I’m interested in the truth. But you’re as much of a liar as Moore. How did we come to the point where neither side feels that the truth is persuasive enough?

You claim that the relatively few deaths in the American “heat wave” prove that the American health care system is much better than the American one. But read the article you link to:

“Iowa’s temperatures are only slightly above normal for this time of year, said state climatologist Harry Hillaker.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A48364-2003Aug26?language=printer

Now compare it to this:

“Records were set in a number of French cities on Tuesday, notably in central Tours and the northwestern city of Rennes, where it was 102 degrees. Paris temperatures hit 100, setting a new record for August, according to France’s national weather service.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/07/world/main567111.shtml


Well Paul, allow me to retort.  I think you’re seriously missing the point of the post.  There is no way to definitively quantify the differences between the French and American health care systems, yet the world’s lefties do just that very thing when the decry the US system and hail the French as the ideal way.  What I was attempting to do with the numeric comparison was simply to show that this was a massive failure on the part of the French system.

What I am astonished by is the way the fact that 11,000 people died is being dismissed by the left.  Can you imagine if 11,000 people died in America, what the critics of our health care system would be saying?  “If only these people had free access to health care they would be alive today!” Well, in France, with its nanny state cradle-to-grave welfare system, these people had access to all the health care they needed, and they died anyway.  It’s a failure of epic proportions, yet nobody is viewing it as such.

Answer me this, Paul.  Are there biological differences between Americans and French that are so great that a ten degree difference in temperature will kill one but not the other?  Why is an American able to comfortably go out and play golf in 102 weather, yet it kills a Frenchman?  And don’t give me that crap about the French being elderly.  Elderly in America, from much colder northern areas, routinely retire in Palm Springs, Scottsdale, or Miami, all places which get much higher than 102, and they don’t drop like flies because of the heat.  They play golf, go for walks, go shopping, and do all kinds of activities outdoor in that type of climate.  Where does the difference lie in how heat affects French and Americans?

I feel, and have stated, that it is the French welfare state attitude that contributed to this tragedy.  Nobody has to take responsibility for themselves or their families, because that is the government’s job.  Nobody needed to check on old Aunt Marie, because that was the government’s job.  Providing health care for the elderly, well, that’s the government’s job.  Someone else will do it.  Well, France hit temperatures that were abnormally high and their elderly keeled over in record numbers.

Tell me, Paul, why do elderly Spaniards not drop over dead in the summer heat?  How about Algerians, or Moroccans?  They’re all right next to each other, what is the difference?

If you dispute my figures or conclusions about this particular American heat wave, fine.  My challenge to you is to find a single American heat wave of any length or duration, adjust for population, and come up with a figure anywhere near 11,000.  You can’t do it.  For all the crowing we hear from Michael Moore and his ilk about France’s spectacular health care system when it was faced with a relatively simple problem—102-degree temperature—the system fell flat on its ass and 11,000 people lost their lives.

And that, my friend, is the point.

Posted by Lee on 08/31/03 at 06:49 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

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