Essay about How Are The French And United States Health Care Systems Different?

Essay about How Are The French And United States Health Care Systems Different?

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How are the French and United States’ health care systems different?

The concept of equal health care for everyone is a grand and noble goal. The reality is much more complicated. The systems in France and the United States both rely on government manipulation of health care costs. There are major differences in the basic mechanics of each system. In France, the consumer pays at the time of service and in the Untied States the consumer pays the balance after their government-mandated personal insurance has paid their share. Because there is a major human factor involved in the health care industry, it is very difficult to create a system that is “set in stone”. Decisions for patient care, doctor’s income, and profitability for the hospitals are just three massive variables.

In 1945, France began a national health care system based on a national health insurance. This was funded through mandatory payroll withholdings, similar to Social Security in the United States. It was intended to stabilize individual incomes in the event of chronic illness. Because the money is taken out of paychecks before they are received, it is somewhat hidden from the population. This money is then placed in a government run fund, Assurance Maladie. At the time of medical services, the consumer pays the doctor’s office and then the government reimburses part of the bill to the consumer as a percentage based on their "ability" to pay their bill based on their income. On the surface, the French system should be efficient and provide the best possible health care services, as they have had more than fifty years to make corrections. There are adjustments made so that the more severe the illness or the longer the duration, the higher the percentage reimburs...


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... is available to all and appears to be high quality. The government controls how much is paid to the providers, but allows for private insurance companies to bridge the gap. Because it is set up as a "user pays" system, the consumer sees the cost and therefore pressure to keep costs down is applied. In the American system, a major failing seems to be that the consumer is insulated from the actual charges made. The financial obligations of the consumer are in paying insurance premiums and then paying the balance of the amount owed several weeks to months after the services. This makes the consumer much less aware of the actual costs involved. Another failing in the U.S. system is the gaps for coverage in the lower-middle class and the loss of general practitioners. Should learn from each other french making gps gate keepers, us making consumers pay a point of service.

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