Healthcare Systems Paper Japan, France, Switzerland vs. the United States


The US, France, Japan and Switzerland provide healthcare to the indigent (Rovner, 2010). The countries, however, record similarities and differences with the US healthcare system as discussed below. The US health system allows citizens to choose who they want to be insured by as they decide the kind of plans they want and how to spend funds. For example, a citizen can decide to pay higher premiums but decide to accept cheaper healthcare services.

In France and Japan, however, citizens do not enjoy similar privileges. Japanese healthcare system offers more comprehensive coverage for the citizens than in the US. Thus, everybody is able to participate in the universal insurance system as the fees are set by the government. Japan’s healthcare system, therefore, covers more services with fewer restrictions compared to the US system with the prices being reasonably priced. France, Japan, and Switzerland, however, are expensive to average consumers prompting many citizens to purchase supplemental insurance. Just like the US, Switzerland offers patients an opportunity to decide their healthcare provider. France and Switzerland do not provide elder care. They lack a Medicare program existing in the US to cater for the elderly. More so, very few employers in Switzerland offer or contribute towards insurance (Rovner, 2010). Thus, citizens are often required to pay the full cost of healthcare insurance.

According to Tanner (2008), the cost they pay can be twice that paid by the US citizens. Tanner, therefore, claims that Swiss consumers end up paying higher premiums especially if they are healthier in attempts to subsidize costs. Conversely, French consumers are required to pay 20% of their gross salaries in payroll taxes. The taxes are utilized in funding healthcare in French. Thus, the French government has made it difficult for insurers to deny coverage of pre-existing conditions prompting the national system to pay 100% of the required costs. Considering there are over thirty chronic diseases including cancer, the French healthcare system is expensive. France and Switzerland should, therefore, be ranked among countries with the most expensive healthcare systems.

In conclusion, the four healthcare systems need reforms. For example, they should concentrate on government regulations with regards to drug prices and generic pharmaceuticals. Government control can ensure citizens have broader choices in deciding the kind and plans of care they want and can afford.



Rovner, J. (2010). Health Care Policy and Politics A to Z. CQ Press, 2000, the University of Michigan.

Tanner, M. (2008). The Grass is not Always Greener: A Look at the National Health Care Systems Around the World. Policy Analysis.