In 2005, U.S. spending came to $6,400 per person. In France, it was $3,300.To fund universal health care in France, workers are required to pay about 21 percent of their income into the national health care system. Employers pick up a little more than half of that. (French employers say these high taxes constrain their ability to hire more people.)Americans don't pay as much in taxes. Nonetheless, they end up paying more for health care when one adds in the costs of buying insurance and the higher out-of-pocket expenses for medicine, doctors and hospitals.
"Americans assume that if it's in Europe, which France is, that it's socialized medicine," he says. "The French don't consider their system socialized. In fact, they detest socialized medicine. For the French, that's the British, that's the Canadians. It's not the French system."
"The French hold individual liberty and social equality very dear ... 'liberty, equality, and fraternity' — of course the slogan of their revolution," he says. "And in this country, of course, we have similar ideals: individual liberty, social equality — equal chances for everyone."But the French have done a better job of protecting those values in health care, Dutton says.
Jill Timmer Teehan
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