French and U.S. Health Care

January 1, 2008

Shared Ideals and a Much-Needed Common Reform

Popular stereotypes describe France as a land of socialized medicine. In reality, the French system is a mix of public and private care, just as in the United States. Moreover, the two nations share common ideals of patient choice, primacy of private-practice physicians, and rejection of rationing. Both countries face a similar challenge, as changes in economic structure and health technology mean that employment-linked health insurance is no longer the most efficient way to deliver care.

About the author (at the time of publication): Paul V. Dutton is an Associate Professor of History at Northern Arizona University and a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is the author of Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative History of Health Care Problems and Solutions in the United States and France (Cornell University Press, 2007).

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