Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to Mike Leifheit’s
Hanging Out in Rockford
columns from the Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 issues.
I was genuinely interested in [Mike Leifheit’s] column in the 9/30 to 10/6 edition in which he mentioned personal health care cases in Europe. I also have a story of health care in France.
My brother-in-law graduated from Augustana College, married my sister, and moved to France after accepting a Fulbright scholarship. Their stay extended long after the scholarship, and before he knew it, he was following a different career path (wine, of course!). Then, one day he found that he had inherited his mother’s polycystic kidney disease. He was an American citizen, but not able to qualify for help through the U.S. system because he had not worked long enough here—just part time while in college. In France, however, it was a different story. Since he had been paid through his employer there, he qualified for France’s health care system. They lived in Paris in a sixth-floor apartment and were able to have an in-home dialysis machine installed in their apartment, paid for by the French government. Supplies included! Then, when they moved to a small village outside of Paris, the machine went with. He died in 2006 after a life of 32.5 years on dialysis! Here in the states, the average life expectancy is four years. He was very serious and meticulous setting up his dialysis every three days or so, and then dialyzed through the night. Here, the patients on dialysis are on only about four hours during their treatment. He never was able to find a donor that was compatible to him, so lucky for him, he was in France when this happened.
We, too, are disgusted with the lies of the Republican Party and of Mr. No Manzullo. Imagine government getting in the way of your doctor and you! What about the insurance companies, as you stated! And Mr. No voted for war funding, which also includes Universal Health Care for Iraq and Afghanistan. Go figure.
From the October 21-27, 2009 issue