France and socialized medicine:
A CONSUMER body has warned that healthcare costs in France risk becoming “totally unbearable, especially for senior citizens”.We can keep taxing the richest among us or we can work with the system we have now and fix it.................. competition, waste, free choice, charitable organizations. Stay well
As parliament stats debate today on the 2012 social security finance law, which includes measures increasing taxation on top-up health insurance mutuelles, UFC Que Choisir has brought out an alarming report into recent escalations in healthcare costs.
The new measures will only make things worse, says the association, which says for years people’s costs have been rising while the amount reimbursed by the state has been going down – a factor which makes having a private top-up policy all the more essential.
It says the part of people’s healthcare costs paid for by the state reached its lowest since 1973 last year. “On top of this abandonment of national solidarity there comes an increase, from October 1, of taxation on mutuelles , which is being presented as painless for the consumer because the insurers will absorb the blow.”
However this claim, which is “repeated annually”, is not true, said UFC Que Choisir. “Increases in tax – by a factor of seven from 2005-2011, reaching €75 per insured person per year – are systematically passed on to the consumer; hence from 2005-2009 monthly insurance fees rose 56% more rapidly than did the reimbursements being paid out.”
What is more it is senior citizens who bear the heaviest burden, the association says. Their fees are now an average €90 a month, up 11.8% on last year, or 5.8% of income.
However if cut backs in state reimbursement continue at the same rate, trends show that by 2020 the cost will be €190/month, or 10.1% of income, says UFC Que Choisir.
More and more older people will abandon mutuelles, which are nonetheless “essential for them to be able to get care at a bearable cost”, it says.
To avoid this UFC Que Choisir has proposed:
• The decline in state reimbursements must stop
• The aide complémentaire santé (benefit for those on low incomes towards buying a mutuelle) should increase
• The top-up healthcare sector should be made more competitive by making them publish, for each policy type, the reimbursement level in euros for the 10 most common medical procedures. The association says the firms are inefficient, with excessive running costs.