The Price of Healthiness: The Role of Employers, Government, and Physicians in the Evolution of the Health Care Systems in France and the United States
The United States has one of the most expensive health care systems in the world, yet there are no comparable outcomes associated with access and quality of care. While other countries consider access to health care services a human right, the United States has maintained a system where too many people are uninsured and are, therefore, not readily able to gain access to these services. Rising costs and a growing vulnerable population led the United States to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. France, however, has had compulsory health insurance, fulfilled through Sécurité Sociale, for several decades. The current state of both health care systems offers an interesting comparison of how employers, government, and physicians exerted their influence on the eventual passing of compulsory health insurance. Important to this comparison is that even though France has succeeded in completely insuring all of its citizens, a current issue the country must address is the financial burden of keeping a program of such magnitude afloat. Entwined in their history, France and the United States share a commonality in problem and solution, which is ultimately connected to the continual evolution of what defines healthiness.