Suzanne was born in Hungary, and at the age of 3, she moved to France, which became her home for 34 years. In a country where government regulation is engrained into the culture, the effects go beyond economic factors – it becomes a mindset. Suzanne explains:
“The whole country lives by regulations, which has become the law. When you are raised in France, you cannot imagine what freedom of enterprise and personal responsibility are – these concepts are not known or discussed. In school, you are taught to depend on the government. This brings a mentality of non-responsibility, dependency and indifference. Why would people care what they do, if they are not held personally responsible and personally rewarded for it?”
Suzanne knew things would only get worse as a new president came into power and welcomed communist members into his cabinet. It was at that time she and her husband move to the United States. Living under regulation oppression, Suzanne and her family embraced the free enterprise, capitalistic society that seemed so different and better.
“Everything seemed easier – transactions, everything. The freedom of the market made relationship between people completely different. When you walked into a business, there was an attitude that people cared about their business and customers. Businesses knew if they treated you well they would benefit from it. Where in France, you were treated like a number or someone who did not have a voice.”
This mentality – a result of socialism – was definitely prevalent in France’s healthcare system. Experiencing the system firsthand in the 60s, Suzanne said it was painful. She watched her mother, who broke her hip and limb, lie in a bed, which was one of dozens in a large room. There were no partition walls, no curtains and no privacy – even for the private moments like bathing. The doctor would come in, quickly assess patients and leave. They never explained the diagnosis or treatment, and according to Suzanne, you did not ask questions. Sadly, this culture of indifference made patients more like a number, where quality of care was impersonal and quite poor, and for many, getting accesses to doctors and specialists was not easy.
This is the stark difference to the prompt, individual care offered in America even in the 60s. When Suzanne had to receive hospital care in the United States, she could not believe how patients were given individual rooms and how physicians treated patients with respect and care. Simple things like being able to ask questions seemed like a luxury.
While some say that policies like Obamacare will not affect quality of care, it does – just ask Suzanne and her husband, who have often said, “We have seen the future [of healthcare], and we don’t like it.”
– Suzanne from Texas
Have a story of your own? Click here to tell us your story.