Yesterday, as a part of a two-day trip to the United States, French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke to students and faculty at Columbia University. At one point in the speech, the French President lauded the United States for passing a health care bill that extends coverage to millions of uninsured, welcoming our nation to “the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and poor”:
“Welcome to the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and the poor,” Sarkozy said, referring to the US health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.
From the European perspective, he said, “when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it’s difficult to believe”. […]
Then to hearty applause, he added: “If you come to France and something happens to you, you won’t be asked for your credit card before you’re rushed to the hospital.”
Sarkozy also explained during his speech that it was “astonishing” to the French that a “violent debate” erupted in America over the notion that “the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them.” Sarkozy is a member of the conservative UMP party in France and is considered to be well right-of-center in the European country. His reaction to the health bill stands in stark contrast to leading conservatives in the United States, who claimed that it would damage the country more than 9/11 and constitute a great assault on freedom.