As French President Emmanuel Macron recently pledged to overhaul hospital operations, EURACTIV France A closer look at what Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s new left-wing coalition has proposed for the beleaguered health sector.
It’s been a stressful time for France’s public hospital workers. As legislative elections loom, politicians are eager to lay out their visions.
Representing the presidential majority, Macron announces his public health care proposal during the visit Went to Cherbourg Hospital earlier this week. Among other things, he proposed a month-long “rapid information mission” for hospitals’ emergency services to help boost access to emergency and unplanned care in the country.
A left-wing bloc of French Insoumise leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon wants to “requisition the private health sector”, the leader said on Wednesday (May 25).
Melenchon and his leftist coalition will push for that goal if they win a majority in the National Assembly in the June 12-19 legislative elections. Their stated aim is to push Macron into a so-called “cohabitation” situation, thereby forcing him to appoint Mélenchon as prime minister.
The week before, Thursday (May 19), Mélenchon unveiled his group’s plan. On the health front, the EU will focus primarily on responding to future epidemics and rebuilding public health institutions.
Social Security: A Controversial Issue
In the plan’s chapter on social security, their flagship measure – the so-called “100% Sécu” – aims to fully reimburse “prescribed health care” and to incorporate “supplementary health care into the social security system”.
However, the proposed measure on “prescription medicine” has not been supported by all parties in the left-wing coalition. While the measure comes from the presidential election plans of Melenchon and Communist Party candidate Fabien Roussel, this year’s Social Democrat and Green Party presidential candidates Anne Hildago and Yannick Jadot (also new This measure is not reflected in the presidential election plan of the Coalition).
Under the coalition’s plan, the two parties, while supporting full reimbursement of prescription care, say they want to “do it without bringing supplemental health care into the Social Security system.”
The Communist Party made it clear that it wanted “supplementary health insurance companies to focus on prevention and the management of medical centers.”
France’s health system, especially public hospitals, is dominating the political debate ahead of upcoming legislative elections. More than 120 emergency services in France have been forced to close or reduce their capacity due to staff shortages, according to the Samu-Urgences de France (SUdF), a union representing emergency services.
On increasing the number of staff, left-wing parties agree. According to their plan, the hospital needs more than 100,000 nursing staff.
The same goes for nursing homes, for which the coalition is calling for an additional 240,000 staff. Four months after the Orpea nursing home scandal, the issue is still in the headlines despite the government’s plans to launch a plan to take control of the nursing home in March. Orpea staff went on strike on Friday (June 3), claiming the incentives were not paid.
On access to health care, the left-wing coalition is united in prioritizing medical staff shortages. They favor the establishment of health centers, the recruitment of salaried doctors, the repeal of numerous provisions, the mobilization of liberals and hospital care, and even temporary installation obligations.
With the pandemic threat seemingly receding, the Left Plan also proposes an action plan for future pandemics, starting with a “prevention and adaptation plan” that respects “fundamental freedoms.” This means that vaccinations are not mandated, but rather an “outreach” policy that promotes vaccination.
The same goes for the no longer mandatory vaccine passes, replaced by a “new health crisis management system,” the plan wrote, without giving further details.
The left-wing bloc also wants to cancel patents on vaccines and drugs, something Macron has so far rejected.
Finally, the left-wing coalition also wants to create a “public medicine centre” to avoid shortages, control prices, guarantee transparency in research and development, and be able to produce and distribute “massive” vaccines in the event of a health emergency.
[Edited by Daniel Eck/Nathalie Weatherald]