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France was one of the first to embrace UHC. The country is now at the forefront of this field, including providing some of the highest financial protection amongst OECD countries. It also co-founded P4H with Germany to help other countries make greater progress.


The French model doesn’t necessarily provide a blueprint for other countries, but its successes and ongoing challenges highlight the key issues that need to be considered, the alliances that have to be built, and the types of organizations that are critical for success.

Three broad lessons have emerged from France’s experience:

  • The country has been able to implement cooperative strategies between different actors, based on a strong political will to treat everyone at the lowest cost. More generally, there is widespread support for UHC across the population.
  • The development and implementation of health policies for the most fragile and poorest sections of the population involved a challenging organizational evolution that took decades to achieve. Today, the poor are entitled to the same health coverage as everyone else – there is no longer special coverage for this group.
  • Despite the political success in implementing UHC, and a widespread consensus to sustain investments in healthcare, the situation remains complex due to financial pressures and the need to manage all the organisations involved more efficiently. These challenges require systematic adaptations that can be difficult to realise due to vested interests.


If you’d like to find out more about France’s UHC initiatives, check out the links below.

France and Universal Health Coverage – French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sustaining Universal Health Coverage in France: A Perpetual Challenge – World Bank