October 11, 2017
“Healthcare Reform: French-American Comparisons”
With Victor G. Rodwin, Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Wagner School of Public Service and Co-Director of the World Cities Project, a joint venture of Wagner/NYU, the Hastings Center, and the Butler Columbia Aging Center.
The French-American Foundation hosted its second meeting of the Transatlantic Forum on Wednesday, October 11. Assembling French and American leaders in business, politics, education, and culture, the Forum provides a space to build transatlantic relationships and examine topics of mutual interest. This meeting featured keynote speaker Victor Rodwin, Professor of Healthcare Policy and Management at the Wagner School of Public Service at NYU. As an expert of public health in France and the US, he led a discussion of healthcare in both countries, a comparison of the two, and the relationship they have to one another.
Professor Rodwin addressed some of the most pressing questions in 21st century healthcare with the addition of a transatlantic perspective. He compared France and the US on topics such as socialization and privatization of health systems; cost and insurance; advances in technology; and healthcare’s relationship to the economy. His analysis initiated a dialogue about accessibility and barriers to care, such as poverty and education, and their influence on longevity of life. From a transatlantic point of view, the group explored the history of moments over the last century when the development of one country’s health infrastructure has been significantly influenced by the other’s.
The group concluded by raising a question that is often discussed in French-American relations: Which country has better healthcare? Professor Rodwin responded by explaining that it is so nuanced in each country – for example, the intricate mix of socialized and privatized in both – that evaluating it on the basis of such a general question comes down to the values of the given individual who is responding. There are “islands of excellence” in both systems, according Rodwin, and the challenge is learning from the other to enhance progress in both. The Forum underscored the importance of transatlantic cooperation and the role that such a relationship can have in shaping the outcome of health policy and reform in France and the US.