The French and Danish Perspectives on Healthcare: An Exploratory Study of Citizens' Attitudes

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During the summer of 2011, I studied France's healthcare system in Avignon, France, as part of an internship working in the medical field. For my research project I recruited 5 individuals who agreed to an in-depth interview about their experiences with France's healthcare system. I was located in a hospital and a clinic during my internship, and was able to find willing individuals from among the professionals with whom I worked as well as the patients attending the clinic. Although the sample was small and nonrandom, I recruited a variety of individuals with different ages, health statuses, family and social class backgrounds to ensure a kind of representativeness. The interviews took place at the convenience of the interviewees and lasted approximately 30 minutes each. The following summer, 2012, I returned to Europe, this time to work in a clinic setting in Denmark. Like the study I conducted in France, I recruited individuals for in-depth interviews about their experiences with the Danish system. I was able to interview 4 individuals. My combined sample totaled 9 individuals. The motivation to understand European citizens' perceptions of their healthcare system came from what I've observed about Americans' opinions on the pros and cons of government-run healthcare. With the changes that were happening since the passage of the healthcare reform legislation in the U.S., my desire was to learn and experience as much as I could about other systems to expand my knowledge about healthcare programs and policies in general, as well as shed light on these timely issues through the perspective of the people using the healthcare. Through this research, I learned how the French and the Danish feel about their healthcare options and was able to compare their views to the common attitudes we may find Americans expressing about government-run healthcare. My findings concluded that French and Danish citizens are generally content with their current healthcare system, even though there are flaws, and feel that socialized medicine is a good thing, unlike the private system we have in the US, which these individuals fear.
Thesis completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Alfred University Honors Program.
Honors thesis, Healthcare, France, Denmark