She explained that the Affordable Care Act creates a system that is very different from France’s more far-reaching universal health care system:
Among other differences, the U.S. system provides government-sponsored insurance coverage only to certain segments of the population. Historically, that’s been seniors, the disabled and the poor. Starting in 2014, the federal government will begin subsidizing private insurance for some low and middle-income Americans.
“This segmentation is quiet different than what we have,” said Ms. Touraine, given that France’s health coverage extends across age groups and income levels. Many French find it surprising that Americans would resist a system of near-universal health coverage, she said.
Similar to U.S. officials attempting to slow the growth of Medicare and Medicaid costs, France is trying to reign in health care spending. Because the French government pays for 75 percent of citizens’ health care, controlling the costs is part of the nation’s effort to limit spending while Europe tries to resolve the euro crisis.