Healthcare in US and France

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In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%. How come the epidemic of ADHD—which has become firmly established in the United States—has almost completely passed over children in France?
–Marilyn Wedge “Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD”

It is not that French children are different than American children. It is that the French approach diagnosis and treatment in a different way. In the US we focus on effects, so we look at symptoms and diagnose disorders. The French are more interested in cause and context. ADHD is not part of their CFTMEA (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L’Enfant et de L’Adolescent). Their children have similar problems and struggles. They just think and talk about them differently.

“The French classification system supports labor and resource-intensive diagnostic and treatment practices, and such an approach is well-suited for a country with a universal health-care system, which covers the majority of medical costs. Conversely, such a labor-intensive approach would not find the same support in America’s managed care system, which deliberately seeks to curtail access to medical resources in general, and labor-intensive practices in particular.”
–Manuel Vallée “Resiting American Psychiatry”

The French approach to health care is radically different than the US. France has a multi-payer system and it works really well for them. US also has a multi-payer system but it does not work as well.

In France they believe that those who are most sick should get the best health care and that no person should be without access. In the US we believe the most deserving (those with the most money) should have the best care and the least deserving (the least money) should get little or no care.

In France they pay closer attention to context, social and environmental factors, which make for more complex, lengthier and more expensive treatments. The US system is focused on the rapid dispensing of medicine (drugs) and treatments (technology) and our symptom-focused diagnostic reflects that.

Universal coverage with lengthy and complex treatments is very expensive and France has one of the most expensive health care systems in the world. Yet many rate the French system the best in the world and the cost per person is less than half what it is in the US.

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~ by severalfourmany on January 11, 2014.

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