Monday, August 3, 2009

Health Care in France...

France and the United States are very different and it may not be possible for us to have the same sort of system here, but they are definitely doing some things right. In 2000, WHO ranked the health care systems of 191 countries. France came in number one. And the U.S.? The country with "the best health care in the world"? It came in 37th.

Some researchers, however, said that study was flawed, arguing that there might be things other than a country's health care system that determined factors like longevity. So this year, two researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine measured something called the "amenable mortality." Basically, it's a measure of deaths that could have been prevented with good health care. The researchers looked at health care in 19 industrialized nations. Again, France came in first. The United States was last.

Now, obviously this sort of health care is expensive. In 2005, France spent $3,300 a year per person on health care. But guess what the U.S. spent? Almost twice as much...$6,400.

But we don't want none of that socialized medicine in this country, right? Well, the French don't consider their health care system to be socialized medicine.

France, like the United States, relies on both private insurance and government insurance. Also, just like in America, people generally get their insurance through their employer.

In France, everyone has health care. However, unlike in Britain and Canada, there are no waiting lists to get elective surgery or see a specialist, Dutton says.

He says the French want pretty much the same thing as Americans: choice and more choice.

For an interesting discussion on the French health care system (and to see where the quotes above came from) read this.

And then for further information, take a look at the following two videos.


sharon said...

And, the USA which supposedly has the best health care in the world comes in 30th among industrialized nations for infant mortality. That means number of babies who live past their first birthday. This is considered a general mark of general health in a country.
By the way, there are only 30 countries that the World Health Organization counts as industrialized. That means that coming in 30th, the USA is LAST.

Cherie said...

Sometimes I think part of the problem is not health care, it's the insurance companies. Think about it. Having a third party involved increases costs, plus look at how wealthy insurance companies are. In addition, those of us with insurance don't really pay attention to the actual costs since we aren't paying it ourselves. It seems we need to find a way to cut out the red tape. It's not lack of insurance that's the problem; it's affordable heath care.

I also think we need to take responsibility for our health. I know a woman who is grossly obese, has a terrible diet, is a heavy smoker, has bad knees due to her weight, generally abuses her body, and just got on disability. Should taxpayers pay for someone who has such little concern for her own health? I'm not heartless, just trying to be realistic.