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A Social Problem: The French Health Care System—Inspiration for an American Solution?

June 22, 2009

In the United States, most people have to pay for their health care. Some sociologists argue that a better way to approach supplying health care services in society is to allow the government to have a stronger hand in regulating the industry. These social scientists point to other countries such as France, Canada, and Britain as inspirational models. Watch the report below from CBS and, if you like, respond to one of the discussion topics below:

1. According to this report, what are some of the major advantages of the French national health care system compared to the American approach to health care? Do you think something similar to the French model might work in the United States? Why or why not?

2. What is the average income of French doctors? Do you think this would affect the number or type of people who would want to become a doctor in America? Would this be good or bad? Does France seem to be having a similar problem? Why or why not?

3. What is a major advantage of the French health care system in responding to emergencies? Does the American model vary in responding to medical emergencies? Which do you think is better? Why?

4. According to this report, the French approach doesn’t suffer from problems of quality or access. What is its major problem? What would you suggest to avoid this problem in France?

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