The French system seems to work a lot better than what we have in Canada. Sure, the French complain about their healthcare system too but when you look closely at what they're complaining about most of it centres around things that aren't even an option in pretty much any other country. They really are spoiled here.
The downside to this is that costs are spiralling and the government has finally started to cut out many "nice" but unessential aspects of French healthcare.
It's true that French doctors earn quite a bit less than in ths US, especially if you're in any sort of surgical specialty. Salaries were just raised this year (finally) but are still less than in the US, Switzerland, the Netherlands or Germany. (Incidentally, I think family doctors in the Netherlands and Switzerland earn more than in the US--they used to in any case.)
And, yes, taxes really are too high here. But I think that's mostly because of a huge web of social programs. France actually spends a low percentage of its GDP on healthcare (something like 9.4 %--lower than Canada and much lower than the US's 15%). Rather than healthcare, I'd much rather see spending cut in a number of social programs which I think a lot of people abuse. Personally, I'd like to see another increase in doctors' compensation and an increase in the number of training spots for certain specialties. But overall, the system here seems to work.
Interestingly, some of the things we pride ourselves on in North America, the French actually criticize in their own system. I posted a message on another thread in which I mentioned Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou--a big, modern hospital of the sort you'll find in many North American cities. (It's actually much more modern than most NA hospitals but you get the picture.) As a Canadian, I was impressed...but the French, in general, aren't. Apparently, they're convinced that it's more cost effective and provides better service to simply improve preexisting, older, smaller hospitals that are more dispersed. It's a different approach from what we value in both Canada and in the US.
The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat.