Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

International Healthcare Models: France

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Jun• 15•10

Here is my previous review of the French healthcare system.  Below is the some additional information on medical care in France based on the book by William Roth.


  • Physicians generally work out of their own practices rather than in health centers.
  • Physicians choose whether to work in the private sector or public sector.  They cannot work in both.
  • Patients can go to any physician they want among those who work in the public sector.  Those with private insurance can go to any doctor in either the public or private sector.
  • Public physicians are salaried government employees.
  • Private sector physicians operate on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Physician ratio: 1:330


  • The system is a mix of fault and no-fault.  The general trend over time, however, is towards a no-fault system.
  • Compensation levels for no fault decisions are regulated.
  • Awards come from a national compensation fund supported by premiums.
  • Private practitioners must by malpractice from a private firm.


  • There are 3 types of hospitals: local hospitals provide general care but no surgery, regional hospitals provide more specialized care, and general hospitals provide the widest range of services (e.g., surgery, rehabilitation, LTC).


  • Payroll taxes fund must of the public sector medical expenses, although there is a shift lately towards general tax revenues.
  • Individuals who want private medical care purchase private health insurance.  Private insurance is an “add-on” to the public insurance, not a replacement.
  • Patients pay for the full cost of treatment upon receipt.  Their local health insurance department reimburses them for the covered expense.


  • All French citizens carry computerized Smart Cards containing all their medical background.

Source: Roth, WF (2010) Comprehensive Healthcare for the U.S.: An Idealized Model. Productivity Press, 174 pages.

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