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Old 09-13-2012, 01:32 AM
 
Location: Aix-en-Provence, France
104 posts, read 213,240 times
Reputation: 69

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Hello Friends, (and also hopefully Future Neighbors):

Some quick background: I am an American (Cali native) but I currently live in Northern France with my wife (Fr) and our three young daughters 7,5,2.

I teach university (doctoral candidate in media & philosophy) and my wife is a freelance graphic designer at home. We have been thinking of moving back to the US but only if the region is right, and we think Southern Maine (Portland area) would be PERFECT for us.

There are really only two things holding us back (aside from finding a job at one of the colleges), and that is social services.

I admit, we've become spoiled over here: excellent, near full-coverage healthcare... 10 Euro doctor (of our choice) and dentist visits, free Rx prescriptions and free, excellent kindergartens are just a few of the perks of living in a Euro-socialist country. (Of course we PAY for that– salaries are much lower here than in the US, but still... The peace of mind is invaluable).

But we love the US, too. And we want the girls to experience growing up there while they're young, so we've decided to make the move.

So, my two QUERRIES:

1) I am assuming kindergarten is NOT part of the public school system, right? I have friends in the US paying up to $1000 just for kindergarten and preschool! Which sounds nuts.

So then, how reasonably priced are the pre-schools and kindergartens? Our 2 1/2 year old is a pistol and she loves her mornings at school, and frankly the thought of keeping her here home for another 3 years is too much.

2) How expensive is health care in Maine?? For a family of five, what would be a ballpark monthly insurance payment??

Thanks for reading... I look forward to your comments!

Last edited by ejlorge; 09-13-2012 at 01:42 AM..
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,432,647 times
Reputation: 3974
Most of the public school systems in Maine now include kindergarten but for younger than that you would have to use private. We don't have socialized medicine (just Medicare) which is for those 65 and older, so anyone making a reasonable salary would have to buy their own insurance. For those that are at or around the poverty line - the can use "Medicaid". Cost wise it sounds like you would be better off staying in France.
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:46 PM
 
1,360 posts, read 1,857,004 times
Reputation: 1244
At least some (if not all) public schools not only have kindergarten, they also have Pre-K. There are some Montessori preschools if you want to pay for it yourself and start your child in preschool as young as 2 years old. Some people pay to put their children in private schools because they're hoitie toitie elitests and think their kids are too good to go to public school or because they think the education a child receives in public school is inferior. Some put their kids in private schools for religious reasons.

If you get a teaching job at a university or in a public school system, you'll have health insurance--may not be what you have in France, but it's health insurance. The cost varies depending on where you work. There's talk/rumors that Obamacare will deteriorate this type of health insurance--only time will tell. Dental insurance is iffy at best. Better do your research. If you got a job in Northern Maine maybe at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, your wife might enjoy being in an area where French is more likely to be spoken (also English).

I may be going out on a limb here, but I doubt many Mainers would consider what you describe as giving peace of mind. Mainers in particular pride themselves on being rugged, independent individualists who don't expect the government to take care of them.

Is socialism working as well for those in France as it doesn't seem to be in Greece? I hear their economy is disastrous and rioting in the streets.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:11 PM
 
177 posts, read 336,851 times
Reputation: 337
Quote:
Originally Posted by mainegrl2011 View Post
At least some (if not all) public schools not only have kindergarten, they also have Pre-K. There are some Montessori preschools if you want to pay for it yourself and start your child in preschool as young as 2 years old. Some people pay to put their children in private schools because they're hoitie toitie elitests and think their kids are too good to go to public school or because they think the education a child receives in public school is inferior. Some put their kids in private schools for religious reasons.

If you get a teaching job at a university or in a public school system, you'll have health insurance--may not be what you have in France, but it's health insurance. The cost varies depending on where you work. There's talk/rumors that Obamacare will deteriorate this type of health insurance--only time will tell. Dental insurance is iffy at best. Better do your research. If you got a job in Northern Maine maybe at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, your wife might enjoy being in an area where French is more likely to be spoken (also English).

I may be going out on a limb here, but I doubt many Mainers would consider what you describe as giving peace of mind. Mainers in particular pride themselves on being rugged, independent individualists who don't expect the government to take care of them.

Is socialism working as well for those in France as it doesn't seem to be in Greece? I hear their economy is disastrous and rioting in the streets.
Forgive me, but I don't understand why some social programs - like healthcare - are looked down upon, but others - like public school - are exalted. We're supposed to be rugged and pay our own health insurance, but we're elitist if we pay our own schooling?

Political debate aside, I am moving with my family to Maine at the end of the month (finally) and we are paying our own healthcare. Private health insurance is ridiculously expensive in this country - we're talking a payment on par with mortgage or rent. I would hope that you can get a discounted rate through your job. Good luck!
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:11 AM
JC3
 
296 posts, read 708,105 times
Reputation: 355
Nothing is "free". Someone is paying for it because no govt is doling it out from it's "stash". You are paying a lot higher taxes for that peace of mind and now higher incomes are going to pay 75% to support those socialist bennies? That isn't "free", that is confiscation of someone's money. When approx 53% here pay taxes, the "free" stuff comes from them. We are seeing how well the "free" stuff is working in other countries and for a period of time it may look and feel good...until there is no money to give away the freebies. I guess if I had it so good where I was, I wouldn't leave all the "free" stuff. It's like someone moving from another state to Maine. They move here for what they perceive as maybe getting away from a lousy location, yet they try to bring their "freebies" with them and force it on their new location. If all the healthcare is so wonderful and the way of life is so "free" and wonderful in these countries, I find it hard to comprehend why anyone would want to come to the U.S.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:55 AM
 
Location: Aix-en-Provence, France
104 posts, read 213,240 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by JC3 View Post
Nothing is "free". Someone is paying for it because no govt is doling it out from it's "stash". You are paying a lot higher taxes for that peace of mind and now higher incomes are going to pay 75% to support those socialist bennies? That isn't "free", that is confiscation of someone's money. When approx 53% here pay taxes, the "free" stuff comes from them. We are seeing how well the "free" stuff is working in other countries and for a period of time it may look and feel good...until there is no money to give away the freebies. I guess if I had it so good where I was, I wouldn't leave all the "free" stuff. It's like someone moving from another state to Maine. They move here for what they perceive as maybe getting away from a lousy location, yet they try to bring their "freebies" with them and force it on their new location. If all the healthcare is so wonderful and the way of life is so "free" and wonderful in these countries, I find it hard to comprehend why anyone would want to come to the U.S.
If you re-read my original post JC, you'll see I clearly said it isn't exactly free– salaries are more modest since employers pay into the social security–as a result you pay. People here make less, spend less, consume less. The flip-side to that is it is more difficult to start a company and/or get rich.

But you're wrong on the taxes: my income tax is, as far as I can tell, nearly the same as it is back home.

So it's a bit of a wash– here you make less and get better social services, or can make more in the US and pay for those services. One problem with paying for those services, is you're at the mercy of insurance and drug companies.

Another problem with that system is, you really pay twice in the States: once with your insurance company, and a second time with taxes. Since insurance is SO expensive a LOT of people go uninsured and use the ER as their doctors office. By that time their medical problem is much worse and much more expensive (when simple preventative measure could have been administered in the beginning).

And who do you think pays for those astronomically expensive ER visits? Tax payers.

Last edited by ejlorge; 09-14-2012 at 02:04 AM..
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:30 AM
 
Location: Aix-en-Provence, France
104 posts, read 213,240 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by mainegrl2011 View Post
At least some (if not all) public schools not only have kindergarten, they also have Pre-K. There are some Montessori preschools if you want to pay for it yourself and start your child in preschool as young as 2 years old. Some people pay to put their children in private schools because they're hoitie toitie elitests and think their kids are too good to go to public school or because they think the education a child receives in public school is inferior. Some put their kids in private schools for religious reasons.

If you get a teaching job at a university or in a public school system, you'll have health insurance--may not be what you have in France, but it's health insurance. The cost varies depending on where you work. There's talk/rumors that Obamacare will deteriorate this type of health insurance--only time will tell. Dental insurance is iffy at best. Better do your research. If you got a job in Northern Maine maybe at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, your wife might enjoy being in an area where French is more likely to be spoken (also English).

I may be going out on a limb here, but I doubt many Mainers would consider what you describe as giving peace of mind. Mainers in particular pride themselves on being rugged, independent individualists who don't expect the government to take care of them.

Is socialism working as well for those in France as it doesn't seem to be in Greece? I hear their economy is disastrous and rioting in the streets.
Thanks Main Girl. I think you're right. It is best to just wait for a good job with good insurance to make the move... even if that means hunkering down and making it a 2-3 year goal.

And yes, I know many Americans in general, but New Englander Libertarians in particular, are not cozy with the idea of
of socialized medecine. What can I say to that? "Trust me"? Every American I know who moves here for school or work says "If only the people back home could see for themselves..."

As they say, it's complicated, but the Euro Crisis (which I think you're referring to) has several causes–

1) The banking crisis in the US in 2008 obviously infected the global markets. The contraction began then.

2) Many Euro cities here, like in Span, got over enthusiastic with the birth of the euro and borrowed WAY to much (like to buy airports and museums in the middle of nowhere), mostly from private banks in Germany looking to make a quick Euro. (So don't be fooled, German lenders are also guilty for this mess).

3) One currency for many countries (and cultures) has turned out to be more difficult than expected. this was evident when the markets started going to hell. Individual countries couldn't adjust THEIR currency according to THEIR inflation.

4) Finally, the cherry on the sundae, was Greece (with Goldman Sack's help) hiding their massive debt so they could get admitted to the Euro. When the truth came out, the Euro took a dive and never fully recovered.

So you see, socialized medicine and schools are no more responsible for the crisis here, than socialized schools are responsible for the crisis in the US.

Last edited by ejlorge; 09-14-2012 at 02:38 AM..
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:45 AM
 
Location: Aix-en-Provence, France
104 posts, read 213,240 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeneric13 View Post
Forgive me, but I don't understand why some social programs - like healthcare - are looked down upon, but others - like public school - are exalted. We're supposed to be rugged and pay our own health insurance, but we're elitist if we pay our own schooling?

Political debate aside, I am moving with my family to Maine at the end of the month (finally) and we are paying our own healthcare. Private health insurance is ridiculously expensive in this country - we're talking a payment on par with mortgage or rent. I would hope that you can get a discounted rate through your job. Good luck!
I couldn't agree with you more. A real Mainer in a forum here said Maine is proud of two things: pristine nature and good schools. Medical care is just a logical extension of that kind of good stewardship mentality.

In any case, how free are you if you are beholden to the exorbitant fees of insurance and pharmaceutical companies?!
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:07 AM
 
1,360 posts, read 1,857,004 times
Reputation: 1244
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeneric13 View Post
Forgive me, but I don't understand why some social programs - like healthcare - are looked down upon, but others - like public school - are exalted. We're supposed to be rugged and pay our own health insurance, but we're elitist if we pay our own schooling?

Political debate aside, I am moving with my family to Maine at the end of the month (finally) and we are paying our own healthcare. Private health insurance is ridiculously expensive in this country - we're talking a payment on par with mortgage or rent. I would hope that you can get a discounted rate through your job. Good luck!
You must be one of them...Have you ever heard the expression "You get what you pay for?" Why do you think people from other countries sometimes come to the U.S. for medical care?

Typically the employee is offered health insurance as part of their job in the example I provided. Then to add a spouse and children, they have to pay. Elitest has to do with motive. You're only elitest if the reason why you pay for your child or children's schooling in a private school is because you think your kids are too good or too special to be with others from all socio economic levels in the public school.

Here's something to think about. I went to the doctor and was told if I didn't have insurance, I would be charged $69. If I had insurance, the insurance company would be charged $139.

On the topics of socialized medicine and socialized public schools. Look at the salaries of teachers compared to the salaries of those in the health care profession...

Last edited by mainegrl2011; 09-14-2012 at 05:35 AM..
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:08 AM
 
1,360 posts, read 1,857,004 times
Reputation: 1244
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
I couldn't agree with you more. A real Mainer in a forum here said Maine is proud of two things: pristine nature and good schools. Medical care is just a logical extension of that kind of good stewardship mentality.

In any case, how free are you if you are beholden to the exorbitant fees of insurance and pharmaceutical companies?!
How free are you if you are beholding to the government.
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