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The French health care system

France as an industrialized country has the history of its health care system. In 1930, an Act on Social Insurance was passed, which created a protection for employees in business and industry with low earnings. People were insured in case of: maternity, illness, disability, old age, and death. In 1939, two thirds of the French people were covered for illness. On the 4th of October 1945 the Ordinance was passed, and together with it, the social security system came into force. In 1961, farmers got the statutory health insurance, and in 1966 non-agricultural workers also received the possibility to be insured. In 1974, the government created a system of personal insurance. People were insured despite the fact that they did not fall under any of the categories of people who had to be insured (Sandier, Paris, & Polton, 2004).

As any health care system, French health care system has its pros and cons. Positive aspects of it are: the universal coverage, high levels of services, the availability of medical assistance, and low level of spending of gross domestic product on health care (Rodwin & Sandier, 1993). Negative aspects of French health care system are: much money is spent on routine medical care, and because of the availability of health care services, people go to physicians and complain about the slightest health problems. As a result, there are long queues to the doctor (Warden).

Speaking about the public health insurance program, which was established in 1945, one can say that this is a well thought-out health insurance program because it covers eighty percent of French people. French public health insurance system is also called as sécurité sociale (social security). Twenty percent of people’s salary is intended to fund this system, and uniform rates regulate the reimbursement (Brunner, 2009).

The public health insurance system is controlled by the state, which decides what types of care have to be reimbursed, and to what degree, and what role different participating entities play in the delivery of a health care. The state protects patients and enforces policies concerning the medical care. During the last years, regional authorities began taking part in policy-making in the health care system (Brunner, 2009).

Except sécurité sociale, there is also l´assurance complémentaire (complementary insurance). The complementary insurance was established because not everyone had the opportunity to be covered by the social security. Those patients who are covered by the complementary insurance can choose medical services which are best suited for them (taking into account their state of health, income, place of living, and family) (Brunner, 2009).

Since November 2007, French health care system became less affordable to EU residents in France. The restrictions of health care system are applicable to unemployed people and students. To stay in France, these categories of people should have a reasonable level of income and health coverage. If an EU resident is sick, does not have a sufficient level of income and health coverage, and has lived in France for less than three months, he or she has the right to get the dispositive soins urgent (emergency care device). If this person has lived in France for more than three months, he or she can get l’aide médicale d´etat (state medical aid). Inactive residents can get the couverture maladie universelle (universal health coverage) (Brunner, 2009).

French health care system is considered to be one of the best in the world. It offers many services, and the best healthcare specialists and general practitioners are available to provide the patients with valuable advice concerning their state of health. Public health insurance program was established in 1945, and there are different insurance programs in France for its residents and people from the EU, who are residing in France.

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