AnglaisCommuniqués de Presse

The Bachelot health care law: The French will have to be prepared for longer waiting lists

Paris, Thursday, May 28, 2009 – With the “hospital, patients, health and territories” law
presented by French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot and currently being debated in the
Senate, the government is reinforcing state control over the health care sector and
bringing the French system closer to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

According to a new study by the Institut économique Molinari, this change is especially
dangerous: in the United Kingdom, health care spending has not been brought under
control, and care has been strictly rationed.

Ineffective control over spending

Across the Channel, the state exerts extremely tight control over the health care sector.
There is not really any liberal sector in the way we understand it in France. Despite public control at every stage, health care spending has never been brought under control.
Between the 1998-1999 and 2007-2008 fiscal years, and even with inflation taken into account, the NHS budget has grown by 81.9%, while waiting lists have become only
minimally shorter.

Reinforcing state control over the health care sector is thus not adequate to control
spending effectively. This, however, is the path being taken by the Fillon government in more or less suppressing the liberal sector.

Rationing of care with serious consequences for patients

In the United Kingdom, state control of health care has disastrous results:

• Waiting lists: In January, more than 150 000 people were waiting for 8 to 13 weeks to be treated.

• Patients denied treatments judged to be too costly: For a time, patients suffering from kidney cancer could not benefit from the drug Sutent, even though it was
prescribed in every other country in Western Europe.

• Inequality based on location: The same pathology may be looked after in one district but not in another.

According to Guillaume Vuillemey, the study’s author, “France will not escape this type of rationing. The reduction in the liberal sector’s share, begun in 1996, directly threatens the quality of care received by patients.”

Though France has long had one of the best health care systems in the world, things are changing. A shortage of care is starting to appear in some regions, and the measures currently being decided upon will only worsen this in the long term. Under the guise of rationalising spending, what is really happening is rationing.

It is thus essential today to halt growing state control of our health care system.

Titled The perverse effects of public control over health care spending: the British
example, the study is available at

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The Institut économique Molinari (IEM) is an independent, non-profit research and educational organization. Its mission is to promote an economic approach to the study of public policy issues by offering innovative solutions that foster prosperity for all.

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Information and interview requests :

Valentin Petkantchin, PhD

Director of research

Institut économique Molinari

GSM: +33 6 82 69 17 39

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