This morning, we met with Dr. Carole Michel. Dr. Michel is the chief doctor for French workers and also works with health insurance for farmers. Amongst the multiple statistics that were listed, it was interesting to hear France’s policies on migrant workers. A few facts that Dr. Michel touched upon stuck out to me. There are two main types of working contracts – temporary and permanent. Workers who come to work in agriculture and stay for less than 45 days are not required to undergo a health examination by a professional. In fact, 50% of the seasonal workers are temporary, and do not undergo health exams. So, what happens if one of the workers gets injured or sick? France’s public healthcare system will fund up to 70% of health insurance. However, when there is an injury or sickness, majority of the workers deliberately do not report it to the village doctor because they fear the repercussions. More importantly, the fact that satisfied me the most, Dr. Michel noted that if a worker becomes sick and needs to overstay his or her 45-day work limit, French doctors and the healthcare system view it as their priority to continue patient care until the person is well enough to return to their country. Unlike America, France has an incredible healthcare system, benefiting even overseas workers. The concept of putting the patient first, regardless of who is being treated or what the problem is at hand, rather than focusing on the politics that tag along to every situation, is something other countries can learn and gain from.
While others were slightly critical of Dr. Michel’s presentation, I thought it was quite informative and learned a lot. It appears as if France’s stance on immigration and healthcare usually go hand-in-hand and are a priority, which is vastly different from the United States. Even 30-year residents of the U.S. will avoid healthcare because of its high cost and lack of employment offering health insurance. Truly, I am looking forward to learning more about France’s system and its constant advancements.
On a completely separate note – when traveling in Toulouse, the front doors of buses do not always open at every stop. Make sure you and your travel buddy always exit the same door!