Universal Health Insurance in France: How Sustainable? Essays on the French Health Care System

VG. Rodwin
Washington DC, Embassy of France,

In France, American nostrums of unleashing market forces under the banner of "consumer-directed health care," and selective contracting by private health insurers, have gained little ground. That should not, however, lead one to conclude that the French health care system is irrelevant to the United States. The organization and financing of health care, in France, resembles, in many respects, that of the United States - more so, in fact, than do Britain's National Health Service or Canadian and German national health insurance (NHI). The French reliance on a public-private mix that includes a significant proprietary hospital sector, private fee-for-service medical practice, and enormous patient choice among a pluralistic organization of health care providers makes French NHI a model for what Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman Pete Stark have called "Medicare for all."

Wagner Faculty