Sunday, March 25, 2012

"I want to help you get teeth!" Answering Bill Maher's Assumptions About a Free Health Care System

Now, you have probably seen the Bill Maher video which purported to compare the negative sides of both conservatives and liberals (with the latter happening, by entire coincidence, to be far less serious than the former), and which says so much about the liberal mindset. (As Da Tech Guy has pointed out — hat tip to Instapundit — when he watched the video, he saw the enlightened "Lord and Lady of the manor.")

Here is the money quote, as said, unbelievingly, by Bill Maher (at 9:55), who just can't fathom why the commoners, those clueless clods, won't see the light and join the liberal club.
When I see the toothless guy, as a liberal, what I say is, "I want to help you get teeth!" Why does that make me an asshole?! (laughter) I don't understand why — "You damn Yankee, tryin' to get me teeth!" (laughter)
What is wrong with you?! Don't you get it?! We're here for you! We're on your side!

Although Bill Maher and Alexandra Pelosi go to pains to certify that the Mississippi interview was "just snapshots" and "organic", in which "everyone … interviewed looked like that", the mindset is all based upon the following premise and unchallenged assumptions:

When you think of Mississippi — and of an America without health insurance — you think (or leftists, American or foreign, think) of the racist, uncultured, toothless, badly-dressed rednecks in the woods. You do not think of the (relatively) healthy and (relatively) prosperous people living in Jackson or Gulfport.

By contrast, when you think of a place with health insurance, you think (or leftists, American or foreign, think) of, say, France, with the suave, nuanced, witty, well-dressed types in Paris salons, without a health worry in the world. You do not think of the toothless peasants in the French countryside who do not have enough money to —

Now, wait a minute, Erik! you interrupt.

The toothless peasants?! In a Western European country?! Snort! Surely you jest!

Don't you get it, Erik?! The point is that France has universal health care — u-ni-ver-sal! health care — for citizens, e-ve-ry-where!!

What is it you damn clueless conservatives do not understand about that?! How dare you be so irresponsible and try and peddle shameless lies?! (Toothless people in Western Europe! Hrmph!)

Well, oui: bien sûr. The problem is that it turns out that there may be a reason there is a legend about the teeth of Frenchmen being yellow and ugly: a couple of weeks before Alexandra Pelosi's second appearance on the Maher show, France's newspaper of record, Le Monde, published a report saying that dental costs are hardly covered by la Sécurité Sociale at all and, indeed, have never been so expensive.

And thus it is that Laetitia Clavreul treats us a series of Le Monde articles that seem straight out of a greedy-and-evil-capitalist-pigs-in-America-preying-on-the-innocent-(and-)toothless-paupers documentary on the France 2 TV channel (or on HBO); from the teacher who opted not to get five (!) teeth replaced and the maid who had to settle for a botched-up job for her broken front tooth to the 49-year-old woman who no longer has any teeth at all and to the other teacher who would rather have holes in his mouth than wear a (humiliating) set of false teeth (see previous post for more details).
When he saw the estimate, the teacher understood that he would not have the five teeth that the dentist deemed necessary: the invoice was 12,500 euros, 10,500 of them out of his own pocket, after refunds by the health insurance and his personal insurance company. "I gave up, and I carried on with my toothless mouth," he sighs. That was four years ago. He is still in the same situation. One that is common. Who, indeed, has not, when presented with such an estimate, even a lower one, weighed the pros and cons? And decided to incur the expenses at a later date.
As for the story of Véronique, it sounds like a caricatural cautionary tale from the hell-hole of capitalist America:
Faced with the inability to pay, everyone reacts in their own way. Véronique (not her real name) broke a front tooth two years ago. She is a domestic helper. It was unthinkable to go to work with "a hole" in such a visible place, and equally unthinkable to pay for a prosthesis. Her dentist patched up an old piece of equipment manufactured for molars. She wears it "outdoors", and especially not while eating, lest it break.
Related:
And if you have some more time…