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Individual liberty, social equality, and equal chances for everyone is the slogan of the

French. This slogan holds true when referring to their healthcare system. Each citizen lives
freely and has an abundance of access to healthcare as well as affordable health insurance no
matter what their social status. This same concept has also came into law in the United States
with the Health Care Reform Act of 2010, as no matter what the social status no one is denied
healthcare, and everyone must be insured (Shapiro, 2008).
Unlike in the United States, health insurance companies are not large corporations with
hundreds of employees. There is no CEO who reaps a large salary of millions of dollars.
They do not partake in the stock market. Lastly, they do not focus on withholding payments
or denying benefits from pre-existing conditions (Edelberg, 2012). This healthcare system is
government financed and is funded by compulsory payroll taxes that also include some
income tax contributions. It is quite similar to the Medicare and Medicaid system the United
States utilizes. This system is considered to be a universal healthcare system and covers all
citizens and the benefit package is quite generous compared to the United States.
Universal healthcare is a national insurance program utilized in France. This insurance is
called top up health insurance. It is organized by a mutual society mutelle or insurance
provider. Citizens meet criteria to qualify for insurance coverage under the CMU (French
Social Security System.) To qualify they are required to live in France full-time throughout
the year, hold a valid residence permit, and pay French Social Security contributions through
paid employment.
Insurance agencies in France are not-for-profit agencies, which means that they do not
distribute income to anyone. The revenue surplus is used toward achieving organizational

goals. Not-for-profit organizations are tax exempt which defers the organization from the
need to pay income taxes (Henderson, 2015). These agencies meet annually with the state to
negotiate healthcare funding. There are three funds which the state funds healthcare with the
largest fund covering 84% of the population while the other two funds cover 12%. Citizens
pay 7.5% of their salary towards healthcare cost while their employers pay 13.10% of each
employees salary for these costs. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether there is a cap towards
the percentage paid by employees or employers. The state, through the CMU, covers around
70% of general practitioners fees.
Physicians fees are set by insurance payroll monies and will go to several quasi-public
insurance funds, which negotiates with medical unions. Physicians get to choose whether they
want to work within the system r on their own. If they do not work within the system or their
own system they charge patients based on what they are willing to pay.
French citizens who are of the age of sixteen and older will receive a healthcare card to
present each and every time they seek medical treatment. This card is an identification card as
well as a health record for the patient. The French have topped the United States in
technology in this area as the French health care identification card has a chip in it which gives
medical personnel the patients entire healthcare record. This unique way of identifying the
patient gives way to faster response time to medical care. Quite impressive! (A Guide to
Healthcare in France, 2015).
Significantly ill patients do not have to pay for any healthcare services as the French
government feel that they should not be liable to pay. The government kicks in and pays 100%
of the bill. Diabetes, mental illness, and cancer are just a small amount of these illnesses. In
the United States medical services, especially for patients with pre-existing conditions, are

combed through with a fine tooth comb, before they will consider paying the medical care
The self-employed in France purchase their own insurance through a separate company and
the rate to be paid is based on the participants income. Unemployed citizens are covered
entirely by the government until new employment is gained. The up-side of the healthcare
system in France is: no matter what no one loses covered for any reason, it is impossible to be
uninsured; denial of benefits is unheard of; the term pre-existing condition is non-existent; the
patients can utilize the services of whatever physician they choose, no referrals required; and
lastly, the French have never heard of the term network when referring to insurance unlike
the citizens of the United States (Edelberg, 2012). In the United States the insured have to
keep track of what physicians, clinics, and hospitals they utilize as their insurance does not
cover services of all options. It is wise to check to see if there choice is in the insurance
companys network.
French citizens utilize their physicians services a much more than the citizens of the
United States yearly but yet the United States spend double the amount of money towards
healthcare per citizen. The French spend approximately $3,200 per person. Keep in mind,
this system covers their entire citizenship. The United States spends $224 trillion a year,
which adds up to approximately $7,500 per person (Edelberg, 2012).
Physicians in France earn around twice as much as the average earning of their fellow
citizens. Physicians in the United States earns approximately five times more! In France a
routine visit with a physician costs around $23, while the average visit to a physician in the
United States is more than four times more (Conroy, 2013).

Like the Unites States health care system, the French system is going broke. They pay for
treatments like massages and mud baths from luxury spas. Luxuries like these are causing this
healthcare system to accumulate shortfalls of billions of dollars each year. Cuts were put into
place for free taxi rides for rural citizens seeking healthcare, and for physicians to stop
prescribing such a high abundance of medications. In the past citizens could refuse generic
medications with no problem, today generic medications are to be utilized by physicians when
possible to cut back on costs. With these changes it was estimated that the French would save
702.4 million dollars in the year 2013. It is unclear if this amount was truly saved (Torsolj,
Comparing the healthcare systems of France and United States is quite interesting. The
United States spends so much more than France does, why is this? Where are these costs
being incurred? It has been determined that physicians fees are a significant amount higher
(four times), and the cost of insurance is astronomical for both employers and patients.
Insurance costs are a significant amount higher in the United States for both the employer and
the employee. Lastly, the cost of testing is again a significant amount higher in the United
States. The United States is also known for their technology but unfortunately these test are
also known for their extreme costs.
Has the Affordable Care Act proven to help the healthcare problems in the United
States? According to an article in the New York Times the Affordable Care Act has succeeded
in most areas. The Affordable Care Act has mandated that all citizens are to have a form of
insurance or there will be a fine incurred on yearly Federal taxes. This mandate has caused the
number of uninsured to drop considerably. For most, the insurance they had to acquire is
affordable. The article also states the health care industry has been helped by the law as it has

provided more paying patients as well as more customers paying for insurance. Lastly, the
article states that there may be a small amount of a slowdown in healthcare spending (SangerKatz, Goodenough, Abelson, Gartocollis, & Tavernise, 2014).
I personally predict the demise of our healthcare system in the next ten years, especially
our Medicare and Medicaid systems. With seeing what our healthcare system is doing to our
Medicare recipients on a daily basis I am saddened to see the stress our older citizens incur
due to the extensive costs of healthcare. I have seen an increase of Medicare patients gaining
Medicaid as a secondary which is good for them as they have no expenses where healthcare is
concerned. This point brings me to another concern, our Medicaid system. The state of Ohio
alone has hundreds of thousands of citizens, children included, partaking in the state Medicaid
program. My fear is that these funds, both Medicare and Medicaid will run out over time.
Our middle-aged, and early adulthood citizens are working very hard and paying there share
into the Medicare system, my question is, will these two group be able to draw funds that they
have worked so very hard to contribute to? Our insurance industry frustrates me as they are
for-profit entities. This industry is greedy and only out for a significant revenue, of course the
revenue is at the expense of the citizens of this country as well as their employers. Physicians,
clinics, hospitals, and our pharmaceutical industry all charge significant amounts of money for
services. Something has got to give, this vicious cycle needs to come to an end before our
healthcare system reaches a point of unaffordability in all directions (patient, employer,
physicians, insurance..etc.) I, for one, hopes that a suitable plan is implemented and I have a
chance to get back the monies that I have worked so hard to pay into our government
sponsored program.

In closing, the French healthcare system is quite impressive. They are by no means perfect,
and some mandates need to be put in place, but overall it is obvious that the French are
catering to their citizens where healthcare is concerned. The cost of healthcare is affordable
for all, they have ample access to medical services and no mandates as to what physician they
see or what hospital they utilize, and their quality of healthcare is quite impressive. The United
States definitely need to take a hard look at this system.

Works Cited
A Guide to Healthcare in France. (2015, January 13). Retrieved from Expactica.com:

Conroy, E. (2013). PPACA and French healthcare one and the same? Far from it. New York:
National Underwriter Company dba Summit Business Media.
Edelberg, D. M. (2012). What We Can Learn From The French. Medical Economics, 72-73.
Henderson, J. W. (2015). Health Economics and Policy. Stamford: Cengage Learning.
Sanger-Katz, M., Goodenough, A., Abelson, R., Gartocollis, A., & Tavernise, S. (2014,
October 26). Is The Affordable Care Act Working. Retrieved from The New York
Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/27/us/is-the-affordable-care-actworking.html#/
Shapiro, J. (2008, July 11). Health Care: An International Comparison. Retrieved from Health
Care Lessons From France: http://wwwnpr.org/templates/story.php?storyId=92419273
Torsolj, A. (2031, January 03). Health Care Frances Health-Care System is Going Broke.
Retrieved from Businessweek: http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-0103/frances-health-care-system-is-going-broke