A Comparative Analysis of the Health
A Comparative Analysis of the Health Care System in France vs the United States Introduction Everyone would agree that a good health system, above all, must contribute to good health. It is certainly not considered acceptable to protect or improve the average health of the population, if at the same time inequality worsens or remains high because the gain accrues disproportionately to those already enjoying better health. The responsibility of a health care system is also to reduce inequalities to race, gender, social status and religion.
While the United States is considered a world eader in almost any category they are Judged; however, the US healthcare system remains one of the worst. This analysis will compare the US health system with that of the French. Their health system is worth comparing because they are considered a world leader when it comes to their healthcare system. Population and Health Status Rated “the best health system in the world” by the World Health Organization in 2000, the French Health Care System serves more than 65 million individuals (French Health Care System).
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Dutton summarizes statistics compiled from the Organization or Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2005 detailing the population to include more than 16% over 65 years of age with a life expectancy of 79 years of age. He goes on to explore the mortality and morbidity rates. In 2003, the infant mortality rate was four per 1000 live births. And, interestingly it was reported that 26% of the population 1 5 years and older consumed tobacco products daily and 9. 4% of the total population were obese. Dutton, 2007, p. 7) The comparative summary of the same data for the United States shows that while the American population is uite a bit larger at more than 293 million individuals, the life expectancy is shorter at 77 years of age, and the infant mortality rate is greater at 6. 9 per 1000 live births. The United States population has a much higher percentage of obesity at 30. 6% – more than 200% greater than that of the French; however a smaller reported percentage of tobacco consumption at 18. 4%. (Dutton, 2007, p. ) One can deduct from these statistics that the health care system in the United States has not successfully been able to keep up with the growing population. In addition, the United States’ system does not effectively maintain the aging population. At this rate of growth in population and the aged population, access to health care services requires strategic attention. Access to Health Care The French have access to more practicing physicians and physician consultants per capita than that of the United States by more than 30% as summarized by Dutton of the 2005 statistical analysis done by the OECD (Dutton, 2007, p. ). The French government provides coverage for the majority of all health care services allowing individuals to decide which physicians and/or facilities they desire, whether it is for specialty or general care in a public or private sector. The hospital system is profit institutions. This differs greatly from that of the United States, in that the government insures way less individuals leaving the management of care for the people at the direction of primary care physicians participating in a managed care insurance company.
The people of the United States not only have access to fewer practicing physicians and physician consultants, they are also required to see only those that belong within their managed care network at the discretion of their primary care physician. For the United States, managed care by private insurance ompanies has resulted in a failed healthcare system; hence the dire need for reform. But, the problem presented now is reform is being done in reaction to failure. Any industry will show that making change based on a reaction is much less effective and more costly than making change proactively after careful consideration.
And, at whose expense will reform come It will come at the expense of the American people. Expenditures Dutton, summarizing OECD statistics reported in 2005, claims that the French government pays for 78. 3% of France’s total health care spending which accounts for 10. 4% of their GDP equating to $3048 per capita. Depressingly for the United States, health care spending makes up a much higher 15. 2% of the GDP at $5711 per capita, of which the United States government is contributing only 44. 6%. (Dutton, 2007, p. 7) Health insurance in France is primarily funded through their Social Security System.
The system is made up of many different bodies and is complicated to understand in detail. Everyone working in France must contribute to the French Social Security system and everyone (French or not, working or not, unemployed, child or retired, legal or illegal immigrant) is entitled to benefit from it with no exception; the system s rather complex and considered bureaucratic. The system is threefold: Health, Family and Retirement, each of them having different structures and financing; each of them being financially autonomous. The Health system is based on the concept of providing help to anyone for any medical need.
The French Health system of insurance differs from that of the United States in that in the United States, not everyone is entitled to benefits. Individuals and their conditions or problems are subject to rules and regulations and standards of practice. The proposed health care reform adds debt to the United States budget; owever where is the true expense being incurred? Physicians are threatened with a more than 20% reduction in Medicare reimbursement. And, patients and employers will be forced to make decisions regarding health care solely on the basis of costs.
These two items only hurt the people of the United States. Should the government take more of a financial stand with the United States health care system? Environmental Influences on the Healthcare System Controlling costs in both France and the United States is at the forefront of the future state of their health care systems. The French have historically allowed eimbursement to physicians to allow for any and all services they provided, giving them full freedom to determine what services they deemed are necessary. As a result, physicians were exceeding their fee schedules on multiple levels.
They have put controls on such costs and to “alert doctors to economic conditions that cannot be ignored” (Dutton, 2007, p. 165). This is the path the United States has been taking for quite some time now, but they are still in a state of flux. The United States government is looking to reform health care to its fullest potential, when in fact it eeds to be rebuilt. There are portions of health care reform that will help the people yet there are others that will hurt the people. Take for instance the focus on quality.
Introducing coverage for preventative medicine will reduce long-term negative effects to the body. And, basing physician and hospital payments on quality will only reduce medical errors; therefore improving the life expectancy within the United States. Summary In summary, contrary to what one could expect from a large, state-owned and centralized organization, the French Health Care System is very efficient and has the tatistics to back it up; however placing controls on physicians could lead them in the direction that the United States seems to have failed..
It is obvious that there is no one solution to the “best” health care system; however France has proven through statistics and patient satisfaction that they are definitely one of the best. References Dutton, P. (2007). Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative History of Health Care Problems and Solutions in the United States and France. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press French Health Care System. http://ambafrance-us. org/spip. php? article625