In the cotemporary arena, the health care system is a pertinent aspect of modern civilization, with the health and wellbeing of global populations being a pertinent role of rule and governance. As such, the contemporary aspect of social welfare is inclusive of health and medical care, where a populations health and wellbeing entail a huge chunk of political debate. As pundits would portend, a state-nations population is vital towards its greater endeavor towards prosperity, with a healthy working population being the main catalyst. Their health is a top priority consuming a portion of national GDP, and necessitates much attention, heated debate and shifts in core dynamics.
Health Care in France
France, amongst Europes dominant power-houses, is a reflection of the Unions overall health care system, showcasing both its gains and negative effects in current social contexts. Through provision of quality health care, by way of enhanced organization and availability, through private-public sector interaction, the prevailing rates of expenditure are indeed low, covering about the whole French populace. Consequently, this enables high patient success rates, as well as low mortality prevalence rates, resulting in greater client/ patient satisfaction. Initially, the system was restricted to social security fund contributors i.e. retirees, and workers in general, but this was to later change under Lionel Jospins administration, which introduced universal health coverage. By combining low cost, together with flexibility, in regard to doctors greater autonomy as well as patient choice, Frances heath care system is indeed one to be emulated (Ambler, 1999).
Financing/ Disbursement of Funds
Its system routed on universal health care is majorly financed by the government, through the French National Health Insurance. As such, this system, having been perfected over time, was rated as amongst the best globally, by the World Health Organizations 2000 global assessment of existent health care systems. A study shows that the nation spent an estimated eighth of its 2005 GDP, on health and medical care, which approximated to around $3,926 per capita. This is far higher than the average expenditure by a majority of its neighboring states, but less than what is spent in the US. As such, three quarters of the aforementioned expenditures are covered by existent agencies funded by the government.
A unique feature is that while a majority of general physicians tend to concentrate on private practice, they do draw their incomes from the existing public insurance funds, showcasing an advanced public-private sector partnership, with reference to the medical health arena. The above said these funds are under the governments management, with its role-responsibility being on the operational and financial aspects of management, especially as regarding medical insurance. This is mainly through the setting of premium levels as related to population income, towards determining the pricing of both services and goods refunded. This as such extended to all those living legally in France, with a small 4% of all hospital treatment expenditure being reimbursed through the existent private insurance (Rodwin, 2003).
Health Care in the United States of America
The United States of America, on the other hand, as pertaining to its health care is different from that of France, as this service is provided by the variants of distinct organizations present. As such, health care is facilitated largely by private sector enterprises, which run the day to day operations and are the holders of a majority of medical facilities. Public-private sector partnership is as such, quite different from that of its counterpart France, with the government being the primary provider of health care insurance to its public sector. Pertinent, in respect to the American medical health care system, are such programs as Medicaid, Medicare, the Childrens Health Insurance Program, TRICARE, and the Veterans Health Administration. While a majority is insured, some segments of the American populace are, however, not insured, with this bringing about the Obama Medicare Act.
This is as a direct result of the nations poor performance, with reference to the health care sector, with the nation having the highest of infant mortality rates amongst others. Such issues, when combined, place the nation at the bottom of the list, with reference to life expectancy. Further worsening the above is the fact that it is also ranked low by the Commonwealth Fund, in terms of quality health care, amongst industrial nations, which is paradoxical due to the fact that the nation spends more funds on health per capita, with approximations being at $8,608. This translates to roughly 18% of its annual GDP, as compared to France, which is at roughly $3,926 per capita, or 13% of its annual GDP (Reinhardt, Hussey, & Anderson, 2002).
Financing/ Disbursement of Funds
Employers are the major insurers of the population; especially those under the 65 years thresh hold. However, there is the option of buying health care privately. As such, 65% of provisions and spending, with regard to healthcare, comes from the aforementioned programs, which essentially cover a majority of its citizen populations. Due to the fact that a huge segment of its population is uninsured, as exemplified by the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported a total of 49.9 million citizens, roughly 16.3% of the total population, as of the year 2010. Accordingly, the nation is ranked amongst the few industrialized states, which does not guarantee its population greater access to health care. However, current situational contexts portend to a shift from the above, as Obamas Medicare Act, takes root.
The above is further worsened by the fact that as of 2007, 62% of all filers of bankruptcies did claim that high medical expenses were the main cause of their troubles. In the current year, roughly a quarter of all senior citizens declared bankruptcy as a result of high medical expenses, showcasing the dire situation affecting the nation. All the above, is traceable to the fact that majority ownership of Americas health care system is majorly in private entity hands, though government ownership is also existent, abate at a lower level. Total expenditures on health care in the year 2010, neared the $2.6 trillion, with this rate of growth being accredited to increased costs/ expenditure (Reinhardt, Hussey, & Anderson, 2002).
A Comparative Analysis
Health Care Policies
France has a comparatively better placed health care system as opposed to that of the United States, due to the fact that in the former, the sector is majorly under the control of government, as opposed to the latter, which is majorly in the hands of the private sector. With government intervention, management and policy implementation, France continues enjoying good quality and affordable healthcare, which is within the reach of most of its residents. The USA, on the other hand, is suffering under strained state and federal budgets, as a result of a growing burden due to the fact that health expenditures continue increasing, while contributions conversely decrease.
This has witnessed an increase in enrollment in both Medicaid and Medicare, especially as a result of the recent recession (brought about by the financial crisis). As such, this rise in costs is attributable to amongst others, increased rise in chronic disease ailments, technology and prescription drugs developed and utilized, as well as administrative costs. Consequently, the nation through Obamas Recent Medicare Act/Plan (Affordable Care Act, 2010), has entailed enhanced government intervention, regulation and oversight, especially with reference to health insurer practices and premiums. In addition to this is the need for enhanced price transparency, as well as increased competition, especially in regard to insurance policies sale (Blendon, Leitman, Morrison, & Donelan, 2000).
Funds/ Expenditure Monitoring
Funding has, is and continues, being a major issue of focus, as the above case scenarios showcase a marked difference, in terms of overall management, implementation and availability of medical and health care. With regard to the USA, research funding is also touted as being another aspect contributing to the above increases, with comparative effectiveness research comparing the various existent strategies and interventions. As such, pundits are of the opinion that there is a need for refocusing of existent medical delivery systems towards those that are patient-centered. Through improved coordination and quality of care, the USA will be able to enhance its overall provision of medical care. America health care majorly depends on individual contributions, through private health providers, with the public sector being enhanced through the aforementioned programs.
While the French government provides almost its entire residents health care, with some aspects of private insurance issuance being present. This results in about 4% of all hospital treatment costs being reimbursed through existent private insurance, with the other 96% being provided through the governments National Health Insurance Scheme. This Scheme refunds about 70% of most health care expenditure, in addition to 100% of all cases in reference to long-term or costly ailments. Supplementary coverage happens through private mostly non-profit insurers, which are known as mutual insurers. Public as well as independent non-profit hospitals, in addition to private for-profit hospitals provide overall healthcare, as opposed to the USA, where the private sector does control this critical arena (Wilsford, 2001).
As aforementioned, health care continues being a fundamental aspect of current society, with existent disparities, providing for a need of shift in focus, as pertaining to universal coverage. As such, the above cannot be achieved in case scenarios as presented by existent data on American health care. Thus, there is the need for enhanced public sector participation, as only government participation may enable the aforementioned universal coverage of its populations. Spending costs should be debated on, providing avenues through which such scarce resources may be saved and utilized elsewhere.