While France struggles with a broken universal healthcare model, Democrats in the House and Senate want to reform US healthcare to look more like the moribund French version.
The article contained a timeline of budgetary actions since the inception of a universal health care system in France. Note the number of times taxes were raised and services curtailed - by studying the past, we can see the future of Obamacare - and it ain't pretty.
Tilting the Balance
Since France began building up its universal health-care system, in 1945, successive governments have been faced with the challenge of balancing the national health insurance budget without going back on the original promise of taking good care of the entire population. For the past three decades, small reductions in health care coverage and incremental increases in health-care taxes have been the main recipe.
1976 -- Coverage of ambulance costs is reduced.
1977 -- Coverage of some medications is reduced. Some hospital beds are closed.
1982 -- Patients must pay a "moderating fee" of 20 francs (3 euros) out of pocket when they are hospitalized.
1985 -- Coverage of some paramedical procedures is reduced.
1986 -- Increase in health-care payroll taxes.
1987 -- Letters sent to the national health insurance must be stamped.
1988 -- Creation of a special tax on medication advertising to help fund health care.
1990 -- Introduction of the CSG, a new tax levied on all types of income to help fund health care.
1991 -- Increase in health-care taxes levied on payroll.
1993 -- Increase in CSG rate. Coverage of doctor consultation is reduced.
1996 -- Increase in health-care taxes. A new health-care tax is levied on private health-care plans.
1999 -- New tax levied on drug makers when their revenue exceeds a pre-defined level.
2000 -- Doctors are required to explain to the national health insurance why they granted a worker sick leave.
2003 -- The "moderating fee," which was increased over time, is raised to 15 euros.
2004 -- Patients must register with a "preferred" general practitioner who will reroute them toward specialists when necessary, or face lower reimbursement for care.
2005 -- The national health insurance deducts 1 euro off doctor consultation fees before it starts calculating how much it must reimburse patients.
2008 -- The national health insurance deducts 50 cents off every pack of medicine before it starts calculating how much it must reimburse patients.