The population of the United States is higher than that of France which may account for healthcare policy differences between the two countries. Many of the similarities and the differences between the healthcare systems of the United States and France are ascribed to the disparity in population. However, the two countries are working forward towards the provision of high and advanced healthcare services to its patients. This paper discusses the differences and the similarities in the healthcare policies of the United States and France in terms of the risk factors, the GDP expenditure on healthcare services, and the OECD statistics on the healthcare services of the two countries as well as the healthcare indicators.


Comparison of the Health Care Policies the United States and France

The healthcare of the United States remains a contemporary issue of argument in the continent. Many people claim that it forms the healthcare system arguments in the continent following the consistent emerging issues. Ironically, the federal government has invested huge capital in healthcare services whose end results do not much the money spent; the services are extremely poor. On the contrary, France offers universal healthcare services yet on moderate capital investment. In fact, according to World Health Organization’s statistics, France offers exemplary healthcare services in the whole world. In comparison, France and United States health care systems operate distinctly.

In the United States, a majority of the healthcare institutions are operated by the private businesses. According to Cooper and Gardner (2016), the US government owns twenty-one percent of the community hospitals. Of the said hospitals, fifty-eight percent are non-profit whereas twenty-three percent are profit-oriented hospitals. On the other hand, France’s government largely finances its healthcare services thus most of its healthcare institutions are public. In fact, France has well-established healthcare insurance which governs the healthcare system.  As an illustration, the government of France spent much of its GDP to provide world-class healthcare services to its citizens. Knaus et al. (2014) institute that seventy-seven percent of France’s healthcare expenditures are funded by the government agencies unlike USA where expenditures are met by private agencies.

Similarities and Differences

In both countries, the healthcare systems rely majorly on private and government insurance. It should be noted that both countries have national insurance. However, the national insurance level varies in the two countries. Unlike the United States, France healthcare system majorly depends on national insurance policies. Cooper and Gardner institute that the United States does not only rely on national insurance policies but also on public and private organizations. Similarly, in both countries, the healthcare insurance services are provided by the employers. However, the level of government financing health care services differs in both countries. In particular, the United States government depends largely on private institutions for finance whereas the government of France depends much on itself to finance health services. As of 2014, the healthcare expenditure was seventeen point two percent whereas that of France was at eleven point three which implies that the government of the United States spends much of health yet low-quality services. France has reduced expenditure on healthcare yet the services are of high quality.

Health Risk Factors

Different risk factors in both France and United States make the level of morbidity to vary. In fact, OECD statistics in 2014 revealed that the United States has fourteen percent tobacco smoking rate and eight point six alcohol consumption rate as well as thirty-five percent obesity rate. Correspondingly, smoking rate of tobacco stands at twenty-three percent in France. The consumption of alcohol is at one hundred and twelve litres and twelve percent obesity rate. Using the said statistics, the obesity rate of France is slightly lower than that of the United States. Contrarily, France has higher rates of alcohol consumption as well as the smoking rates compared to that of the United States (OECD, 2014). The slight differences account for the morbidity differences in which France has lower morbidity rate than that of US.  OECD statistics of 2014 further institutes that the morbidity rate of France was sixty percent while that of the United States was eighty-eight percent. The statistics suggest that the US has a high burden of diseases which are ascribed to health risk factors. For instance, the US death rates are higher than those of France. OECD research of 2014 reveals that mortality rate of US stands at 1,291,964 while that of France was 25s6,092 (OECD, 2014).

The Health Insurance

Citizens have limited access to health care insurance services. In fact, since 2000, the number of American citizens with healthcare insurance policy has been declining. In particular, less than eighty percent of American citizens had access to the insurance covers as of 2010. The statistics translate to about forty-nine million citizens who did not have an access to health insurance coverage. The higher rate of unemployment in the US also account for America’s under insurance. On the contrary, the French government has considered prerequisites of healthcare insurance cover to its citizens as its obligation. In fact, nearly hundred percent of the France people can access health care insurance coverage. In fact, the government of France insists on the social insurance model to its healthcare services. Notably, it is compulsory for every French person to have healthcare insurance since it is funded by the government taxation. On the contrary, the government of the United States still lags behind on the subject of providing healthcare insurance cover to its citizens.

Health Expenditure and Financing

OECD found that financing and expenditure on healthcare services is the most costly agenda in most of the countries of the world. Sadly, most governments spend too much on healthcare whereas the services offered are of lower quality. In fact, the financing and the expenditure on healthcare services in the United States have been on the steady rise. For instance, the expenditure on the healthcare services was four thousand dollars in 2000 while it was nine thousand in 2013. The government of the United States has recorded higher expenditures compared to other countries. As an illustration, in 2012, the government of US spent nineteen percent of its GDP to invest in healthcare services. In 2014, the OECD statistics indicate that about seventeen percent of the total GDP to fund healthcare provisions. Correspondingly, the government of France spent about eleven percent of its total GDP to meet healthcare costs. The said observation means that the government of the United States spends higher amounts on healthcare as compared to France.

Health Care Quality Indicators

The main goal of the healthcare quality indicators is to establish a favorable environment which ensures that there is an improvement in the safety of the patients. In fact, the healthcare qualities advance the services to be offered in any healthcare system. According to Buchmueller et al. (2016), the government of the United States puts emphasis on applying healthcare indicators to advance healthcare services. However, the said indicators often vary in accordance with the kind of healthcare service that is being offered.  For example, the indicators for mental health care differ adversely with that of acute care. For instance, United States’ health care indicator for primary care is at 101.2 percent. In France, the healthcare indicator for primary care is at thirty-one percent which implies that the US has higher healthcare indicators than that of France. The disparity implies that the United States is looking forward the realization of advanced standards of healthcare services compared to France. However, Zeitlin (2015) states that the healthcare is of services of France are of advanced quality compared to that of the US. In fact, the healthcare indicator for patient’s safety was eight percent in 2014 while that of France was slightly higher. The United States is looking forward to improved healthcare services to its citizens.

In summary, the health care systems of France and the United States constitute differences and similarities. In terms of the quality, France has the best healthcare services to its citizens. Likewise, the government of the United States spends a lot of money to fund the delivery of healthcare service yet they are of low quality. Although France records higher risk factors compared to that of the United States, it still holds quality healthcare services delivery. The governments of United States have many citizens who have no access to healthcare insurance cover, unlike France where healthcare insurance is compulsory. In fact, the United States can derive many lessons from the healthcare system of France to advance their services. For instance, the US government can adopt the principle of compulsory healthcare insurance to enhance all of her citizens have access to healthcare insurance.


Buchmueller, T. C., Levinson, Z. M., Levy, H. G., & Wolfe, B. L. (2016). Effect of the Affordable Care Act on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage. American Journal Of Public Health, 106(8), 1416-1421. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2016.303155

Cooper, R. W., & Gardner, L. A. (2016). Extensive Changes and Major Challenges Encountered in Health Insurance Markets under the Affordable Care Act. Journal Of Financial Service Professionals, 70(5), 53-71.

Knaus, W., Wagner, D., Loirat, P., Cullen, D., Glaser, P., Mercier, P., … & Campos, R. A. (2014). A comparison of intensive care in the USA and France. The Lancet, 320(8299), 642-646.

OECD Health Statistics. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/health/health-data.htm

Zeitlin, J., Blondel, B., & Ananth, C. (2015). Characteristics of Childbearing Women, Obstetrical Interventions, and Preterm Delivery: A Comparison of the US and France. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 19(5), 1107-1114. doi:10.1007/s10995-014-1602-0

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