Cardiovascular diseases are nowadays one of the main threads to the human kind. Very many people die as a result of a stroke or other cardiovascular-based problems. In the year of 2009, according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) (2012) statistics, 35 per cent of all deaths in the world were caused by cardiovascular diseases. They remain the main cause for death all over the world. Moreover, in the USA, the situation is pretty much the same: it is cardiovascular disease, which is the cause for one third of deaths in the country. Besides, the cost of preventing cardiovascular diseases is much higher than such cost for cancer or any other group of diseases.
Meanwhile, in France, despite the majority of the risk factors are similar to those of the US or Great Britain, the mortality rate turns out to be about four times lower than in the other developed countries (Law & Wald, 1999). This is so-called French paradox, and there is no satisfactory explanation for it. Many scientists suggest that it may be the everyday consumption of red vine, which is expected to be the leading factor for such indexes. However, another group of scholars strongly believe that the aforementioned assumption may be the reason for the part of the phenomenon. It cannot explain such a significant difference. Other scientists also suggest that it may be a time difference between the period when French began consuming animal fat and serum cholesterol concentrations, and when those started being consumed in other countries. Law and Wald (1999) underline that in France the consumption of the above-indicated products has increased recently, while it substantially grown decades ago in the majority of other developed countries.
In France, the health care system is paid for mainly by the citizens since they need to have a compulsory health care insurance. Additionally, it covers 80 percent of expenses. At the same time, the rest of the sum is taken from the taxes for gambling, income, and the salary of the citizens. It is important to understand that when coming to the hospital the customer needs to pay at about 20 or 15 percent of the fee. The rest is covered with the insurance. Furthermore, it is possible to get additional insurance from private companies, and have this part also covered by the insurance (World Health Organization [WHO], 2000).
In the USA, the majority of health care organizations are in the private sector. People who work for the public sector organizations get health insurance paid for by the government. The most part of the health care facilities in the United States are owned by private companies though there is a certain amount of those owned by the government. There are no government-owned facilities, which would be open to the public nationwide; instead, there are local facilities, which are open to the public and are owned by the government. The production of medical devices, as well as pharmaceuticals, is carried out by the private sector organizations. However, the researches, dedicated to developing new pharmaceuticals and medical devices, are supported by both public and private sources (Billig, 2007).
Both French and US health care systems appear to be similar, and it is very unlikely that minor differences, existing between these two systems, may explain the phenomenon described at the beginning of this paper. It should not be due to the differences in the health care systems that the cardiovascular mortality rate in the US is so much higher than in France. The reasons should be looked for elsewhere.
- Billig, H., Blakemore, C., Bouillon, R., Brechot, C. I., Brunetti, A., Gruart, A., . . . Vasar, E. (2007). White Paper from The European Medical Research Councils: Present status and future strategy for medical research in Europe. Retrieved from http://www.esf.org/fileadmin/Public_documents/Publications/EMRC_White_Paper.pdf
- Law, M., & Wald, N. (1999, May 29). Why heart disease mortality is low in France: The time lag explanation. British Medical Journal, 318(7196), 1471-1480.
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2012), Mortality from heart disease and stroke. In Health at a Glance: Europe 2012. OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/8112121ec007.pdf?expires=1379965556&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=01931462440228910C801DD33DA9A6BF
- World Health Organization (WHO). (2000, June 21). World Health Organization assesses the world’s health systems. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/inf-pr-2000/en/pr2000-44.html