The U. S. might have Medicare to cater to its senior population, but France ensures that its entire population has health coverage. And this is free of deductibles as opposed to Medicare. Also, in France, the intensity of sickness is indirectly proportional to payment for health expenses, which means that patients with chronic diseases are fully reimbursed and cancer patients do not pay at all for treatment. Prenatal and early childhood care is one of the specialties of the French system and all this is possible because as mentioned earlier, French doctors are paid lesser than those in the U. S.
It is also made possible because of the legal system which offers doctors complete autonomy over medical decision-making, the reason doctors agreed to participate in the national health insurance plan in the first place. As Williams (2004) notes, while the government assumes a significant burden in helping to assure the health of the population, in France, it is not just the government, but the responsibility of every person as well as a facilitating legal and educational system which has led to a stellar healthcare system.
As Shanny Peer, policy director at the independent French-American Foundation says, “France gets better results for less money and everyone is covered. ” However, there are still problems which the system now has to deal with. One of these is the staggering rate of healthcare inflation, which has led to substantial increases in tax rates. All the same, about 65% of French citizens were content with their system, as compared with 40% of U. S. residents. And when healthcare expenditures are compared, the U. S.
spends 16% of its GDP on healthcare which is more than any other country, while France spends just 10. 7% of GDP (Capell, 2007). Summary: The French Health Care system was ranked No 1 by the World Health Organization in 2000 and this paper shows a system which has uniquely mixed public and private financing to provide universal health coverage to its population. The French government has the prime responsibility for the health and social protection of all its citizens and regulates the healthcare system closely.
However, France is also the fourth largest spender (as a percentage of GDP) on healthcare among all countries, and this has led to a number of issues which the government is currently planning on solving through health reforms. Nevertheless, France is definitely an interesting case of how to ensure universal coverage through incremental reform and ensure responsive healthcare providers, patient and provider freedoms, and the health of the country’s population. References Capell, K. (July 9, 2007). The French Lesson In Health Care. Business Week.
Retrieved on February 22, 2008 from: http://www. businessweek. com/magazine/content/07_28/b4042070. htm Green, D. & Irvine, B. (2001). Health Care in France and Germany: Lessons for the UK. Great Britain: Hartington Fine Arts. Henley, J. (January 24, 2004). French health service on verge of collapse, says commission. The Guardian. Retrieved on February 22, 2008 from: http://www. guardian. co. uk/world/2004/jan/24/france. jonhenley Rodwin, V. (2003). The Health Care System under French National Health Insurance: Lessons for Health Reform in the United States.
American Journal of Pubhc Health, 93(1). Sandier, S. , Paris, V. & Polton, D. (2004). Health Care Systems in Transition: France. Copenhagen, WHO Regional Office for Europe on behalf of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. The French Healthcare System. (2005). Embassy of France. Retrieved on February 22, 2008 from: http://www. ambafrance-us. org/atoz/health. asp Williams, S. (2004). Essentials of Health Services, 3rd edition. Albany, New York: Delmar Publishers.