How the Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, is trying to make his mark


The Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, on November 14, 2023, at the National embly, in Paris.

All health stakeholders agree, almost four months after his appointment as Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau arrived at a “test moment”. Several moments, even, as the files pile up on his desk. State medical aid questioned in the Senatesavings on health spending debated in Parliament, resumption of conventional negotiations with private doctorshospital under tension on the eve of the winter season, shortage of medicines… The minister, who had promised, when he took office on July 21, that “time for proof” had come, still walks on a wire. He admits it half-heartedly: “At the Ministry of Health, that of all emergencies, what is already necessary is not to make mistakes, it is fundamental”he argues when welcoming us on Thursday, November 16.

The last days, he occupied the ministerial bench in the Senate, where the “Secu” budget for 2024, widely denounced as insufficient, was discussed, article after article.

With a subject that has ignited discussions although it is, formally, absent from the text: medical deductibles. The “doubling” of these sums remaining the responsibility of the insured, which has been applied, for fifteen years, to each box of medicine purchased (0.50 euros) or during a consultation with the doctor (1 euro), mentioned as an avenue for savings on health spending, has still not been decided. To the great dismay of the doctors and patientsopposed to this possible increase, but also opposition parliamentarians, from the right as well as the left, who, in the embly then in the Senate, have continued to attack the minister on this ” shadow zone “. The discussions at the Luxembourg Palace on Thursday evening provided yet another example.

“The decision has not been made”

The person concerned denies any lack of transparency. “We are not hiding anything, the decision has not been made, it will be before the end of the year”, he ures us. Time for the executive to decide whether or not this scenario is likely to crystallize the anger of the French over purchasing power. He says to himself today “ready to take on” this controversial measure. With new supporting figures: “Tomorrow, this would represent around 17 additional euros, on average, per person per year, if we double them. » A way to avoid further cuts to the health budget, while the “Secu” deficit is starting to rise again.

This increase in medical deductibles should make it possible to free up 800 million euros, out of the 1.3 billion euros in savings planned for the “accountability” actors. With a guarantee: maintaining a ceiling of 50 euros per patient per year – its ” Red line ” – should make it possible to preserve patients with long-term illnesses. “They are already almost all at this ceiling”he said.

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