France - Health

Under the French system of health care, both public and private health care providers operate through centralized funding. Patients have the option of seeing a private doctor on a fee basis or going to a state-operated facility. Nearly all private doctors are affiliated with the social security system and the patients' expenses are reimbursed in part. Many have private health insurance to cover the difference. During the 1980s, there was a trend away from inpatient and toward outpatient care, with a growing number of patients receiving care at home. Cost containment initiatives were raised in the 1980s and early 1990s to increase patient contributions and establish global budgets for public hospitals. In 1991, new reforms to strengthen the public sector were initiated. The social security system subsidizes approximately 75% of all health care costs. Pharmaceutical consumption in France is among the highest of all OECD member countries (exceeded only by Japan and the United States). In 1992, the French government imposed a price-fixing mechanism on drugs.

France's birth rate was estimated at 11.9 per 1000 in 2002. A study conducted from 1980 to 1993 indicated that 79% of France's married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception. The total fertility rate in 2000 was 1.9 children per woman during her childbearing years.

As of 1999, there were an estimated 3 physicians and 8.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people. Life expectancy in 2000 averaged 79 years for men and women. The infant mortality rate was about 4 per 1,000 live births that same year. The overall death rate was an estimated 9.1 per 1,000 people as of 2002. Tobacco consumption decreased from 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs) in 1984–86 to 2.2 kg (4.9 lbs) a year per adult in 1995. Alcohol consumption is the highest in Europe and among the highest in the world.

Efforts to immunize children up to one year old in 1997 were favorable and included: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 97%; polio, 92%; and measles, 83%. In 1999 there were 16 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people.

As of 1999 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 130,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 2,000. HIV prevalence was 0.44 per 100 adults.

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