Economic note / January 2007
Since 1945-46, the French system of Social Security has been imposing a mandatory health insurance and thus has a captive clientele – as the insured are compelled to finance it. 1 This system has been, and is still, justified in a great measure in the opinion of the general public on grounds that it allegedly leads the French people to become equal in health and provides financing of all the cares they might need.
Yet, more than sixty years after, one can wonder whether both of these justificatory grounds do not turn out to be myths. Faced with the impossibility of financing all the health needs felt by the French population, successive governments have settled down to contain healthcare expenditures, the result being a growing bureaucratization of the health system. In fact, it is high time to contemplate the possibility of restoring competition and leaving more room to individual choice in the area of healthcare.