Immigration: support for state medical aid is increasing

Published on Nov 3, 2023 at 2:18 p.m.

It is a less sensitive subject than the regularization of undocumented workers in professions in shortage, but just as important for the government if it wants to obtain a majority on the immigration bill, examined from this Monday in the Senate. At the beginning of October, in full offensive to obtain the votes of the Republicans (LR) , Gérald Darmanin spoke out for the transformation of state medical aid (AME) into emergency medical aid (AMU) as defended by the right. A “personal position”, had clarified Elisabeth Borne, while the initiative of the Minister of the Interior had aroused a certain stir in the majority.

In the process, the head of government commissioned a report from Patrick Stefanini, former director of Valérie Pécresse’s presidential campaign, and Claude Evin, former socialist minister of Health. The conclusions of the interim report that they have just submitted to Matignon are clear: there is no need to transform the AME into an AMU. “The AME is not a factor of attractiveness,” believe the two signatories. Which would argue for its maintenance. Established in 2000, the AME cost slightly more than 1.1 billion euros and concerns 400,000 beneficiaries, only foreigners in an irregular situation.

“There is no abuse of rights, rather people who could benefit from them who do not benefit from them. Someone who is at the AME does not consume more care than someone who is not there,” according to this report, insisted the government spokesperson, Olivier Véran, Friday on BFMTV. The non-recourse rate reaches 50%.

Petition for its maintenance

The AME is the subject of regular criticism, notably from LR and the National Rally (RN). LR MP Véronique Louwagie believes that this is an expense “without real management” and at an “unsustainable” cost. The right and the far right denounce a “suction pump” to the detriment of the French.

However, it is the “most controlled” social benefit in the country, according to Olivier Véran, with 14% of files controlled according to the interim report. However, the executive is not closing the door to adjustments, as has already been the case in the past. In their interim report, Patrick Stefanini and Claude Evin discuss its time limit, believing that the AME can encourage people to remain underground. Friday, Olivier Véran raised the hypothesis of a prior decision from health insurance before carrying out treatment. On the other hand, they strongly oppose making the distinction between urgent and non-urgent care, because it is a distinction that even doctors sometimes struggle to make.

In a column published by “Le Monde”, 3,000 doctors defended the AME and demanded that it be maintained as it was. First for humanitarian reasons, then for public health issues. Limiting access to care for illegal immigrants “would have the direct consequence of leading to a deterioration in their state of health, but also more generally that of the entire population,” warn these caregivers. Which would ultimately cost public finances much more.

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