Medical labs in France on strike for 3 days over austerity rate cuts

In a bill on social security financing, the French government is demanding a €250 million ($260 million) cut in the social security budget in this area.

The bill aims to make up for the considerable profits seen since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the numerous antigen and PCR tests carried out.

French Minister of Public Finance Gabriel Attal last week told news channel BFMTV: "These COVID tests have brought them a turnover of over €7 billion, financed by social security, that is, by all French people."

While the laboratories are not opposed in principle to the government initiative, they are critical of how the state wants to achieve the savings by lowering rates for their services.

Francois Blanchecotte, head of the biologists' union, told Franceinfo, "This will have an impact on laboratories located in so-called medical deserts, where today we have no or few prescribers."

French Health Minister Francois Braun accused the unions of "taking the entire population hostage" with the strikes.

But last week the unions scored a small victory. The French Senate voted in favor of an amendment to the bill to convert the permanent austerity measure into a special contribution of €250 million ($260 million) for fiscal year 2023.

Source: Anadolu Agency