Crystal Kayser recently provided analysis of the French health care system ("France's health care," Readers' Forum, July 5). She didn't say where she got the information she shared, but I thought I'd do a little research of my own to see how France manages to provide such awesome and efficient health care to its citizens.
I went to Wikipedia to find out what the personal tax rates are like in France vs. the U.S. Here are a few of the statistics from the Wikipedia web page, "List of Countries by tax rates." For France — individual tax rate: 0-75 percent; payroll tax rate: 66 percent; Value-Added-Tax, or VAT: 2.1–19.6 percent. The corresponding tax rates in the U.S. — individual tax rate: 0–35 percent; federal: 0–11 percent; payroll tax rate: 2.9–15.3 percent; Utah State Sales Tax (roughly equivalent to VAT): 6.9 percent.
The average French citizen paid 50 percent of their income to the government in the form of taxes; the average U.S. citizen paid 28 percent. These numbers were provided by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2005. Granted the statistics are quite out of date, but I would assume that any changes have probably been somewhat proportional.
If my tax rate increased by 22 percent, I would certainly expect that government health care quality here would increase significantly. But I, for one, would rather keep the 22 percent and leave the government out of my pocketbook. I can hardly wait to get my first paycheck in January 2013 to see what the new Obamacare taxes are going to do. If my taxes go up by 22 percent, I'll seriously consider the move to France with its great health care. Until then, Bon Voyage!