Free to Die, Pay to Live


Free to Die, Pay to Live

Despite being one of the most fundamental human rights, healthcare remains difficult and out of reach even for those living in the most modern nations. AWANI Review's Luqman Hariz discusses with Arnaud Vaissié, International SOS founder and CEO.

When President Barack Obama was elected way back in 2009, reforming America’s healthcare system was one of the main promises that carried him all the way.

True enough, he followed through on that promise by managing to create and pass Obamacare a year later.

Obama managed to do something many of his predecessors (and as of now, his successor) have tried and failed to do.

But why is free healthcare such a difficult feat to achieve, even in a country as modern and wealthy as America?

When you ask the question, the answer seems obvious.

Should healthcare be absolutely free for absolutely everyone? Yes.

When someone, anyone, is ill, should he or she be able to get treatment instead of being left to die just because he doesn’t have money or insurance? Yes!

But apparently it’s not that simple.

Free healthcare has been one of THE most debated issues for a long time in America, and other countries as well.

And when I ask Arnaud Vaissié, the founder and CEO of International SOS whether healthcare should be free, he seems a bit apprehensive himself.

International SOS provides medical and travel security assistance. Companies usually pay them to protect their employees who are travelling or working abroad. It has 11,000 employees, operates in 90 countries and handles 12,000 calls a day.

“I think healthcare should be universally accessible," Arnaud says, "Countries which are providing free healthcare, or let’s say mostly free healthcare actually have a better system because in the end, it is good for society."

Just to be clear, there’s a fine line between free and accessible.

“Free” means I can get treatment at no cost. “Accessible” means if I am sick (or dying), I have the freedom to walk into any hospital to get treatment, but if I don’t have money or insurance, I won’t get that treatment anyway.

“Free is not the exact word, it should be accessible because if it is completely free, it might not be used in the best possible way,” says Vaissié.

Watch the video above for Arnaud‘s full answer. We also talk about the biggest cases International SOS has ever dealt with

Podcast of the interview: