I wanted to write this all before I forgot. Thom always talks about Euro health care so for anybody interested:
I just finished talking to a couple guys from Holland here on business to fix a ship. I asked them how they liked living in Rotterdam and they said it was OK but they have nothing to compare it to. I asked them if they had free health care and they said no it costs $130 Euro a month for them which greatly surprised me. It varies slightly for income level AND the quality of the care desired as well. The rich go for the Cadillac plans which are a little more. The deductibe is $350 and the $130 is typically deducted monthly from evrybody's bank account. Its mandatory of course.
I asked them why didnt they just pay it in their taxes every year and they said NOOO that's already too high. They pay 35% to 52% in taxes depending on income. They pay 21% sales taxes ( I think it was sales tax) and high gas taxes and they charge a tax depending on weight of your car. They said their health insurance was complete govt program-no privates. And this $130 a month is a fairly recent thing. They still have free checkups and free health screening procedures like Obamacare.
I told them that some people in the US with cancer or heart problems CANT get insurance and they asked what happens to them. I said they die, up to 50,000 people die every year because they cant get insurance or wait too late to get conditions checked out because of cost. Obama care will take care of that though eventually.
I told them some people with cancer history or heart problems here have to pay up to $2000 a month for insurance and deductibles can be as high as $10,000. They were shocked and then seemed very thankful for theirs.
He said their minimum wage there is $900 to $1200 Euros a month. I told them ours is by the hour Federal about $6 an hour, which equals $240 a week $1000/ month. But the Euro is worth 30%? more than the dollar. He said any over-time is taxed at the maximum 52% tax rate for some reason.
They said they hate the Euro and the EU and would LOVE to get out of it. The EU has a central govt, capital in Brussels,to which Holland must pay $10 billion? Euros a year. They said they thought that raised the price of everything. He said he hopes Greece goes back to the Drachma because then prices there will be very cheap again for their vacations.
They talked about buying cars over there, how high taxed they are for purchase especially imports. He said a Xbrand? would cost him $40,000 Euros there but if he bought it in the US for $18,000 Euros it would cost him as much or more to import it back to Holland. I asked him if Holland made any cars and he said no most popular import econ car is the Ford Fiesta which gets 60 mpg. He didnt know where the Fords were made in Europe.
He said he hated to be sent to Africa for repairs because in the Congo they had to ride around in cars with smoked glass. He thought Tanzania and other places would be the same but I told him they love tourists there for the money they spend but he said they get robbed a lot. too. I think he's exaggerating a bit there. We talked for 20 minutes or so and had to fly back in a few days.