Social Security Budget Bill 2017
The Social Security Budget bill: and so it begins…
The National Assembly will start debating tomorrow the Social Security Budget bill, the famous “PLFSS”, after the first adoption of the text by the Social Affairs Committee.
Carefully prepared by the Minister of Solidarities and Health and the Minister of Budget, the Social Security Budget bill is of major importance. This text indeed contains all the government’s budgetary orientations on the Social Security and more generally on Health, but also on Labor cost, with the reduction in salary contributions planned in candidate Macron's presidential program.
The main teachings of this very dense text are that, on the one hand, the Social Security is moving slowly but surely towards a return to the balance of its accounts (even if all this remains "very fragile", as reminded in September by Didier Migaud, First President of the Court of Auditors), and on the other hand, the Government is committed to supporting innovation in healthcare, especially digital innovation.
The Social Security Budget bill also implements many electoral promises of the candidate Macron, such as the increase of the minimum pension allowance benefit, the increase to €10 of the pack of cigarettes, or the decrease of social contributions from the Competitiveness and Employment Tax Credit (CICE).
While the deficit of the Social Security accounts is at its lowest level since 2001, the healthcare insurance and mostly the pension funds continue to lose money.
In terms of regulatory measures, the foreseen savings (€4.2 billion in 2018) largely rest upon savings on pharmaceuticals and medical devices (€ 1.4 billion), care structure (€ 1.4 billion), and relevance and quality of care (€ 335 million). As a result, the main pharma industry union (the LEEM) deplores that pharmaceuticals are again considered as an adjustment variable, instead of having a budget increasing attractiveness.
The first step of the text’s review, by the Social Affairs Committee last week, already showed political movements at work: Conservative MPs tabling amendment to protect the attractiveness of the country to the healthcare industry by reducing taxation and claw back provisions; MPs from the far left (La France Insoumise) tabling opposite amendments to reduce the “enormous profits” of the industry, and strengthen the regulatory framework around the development of digital technologies in healthcare (in particular e-surveillance).
Although the review of the text in public session should not bring many changes on the content of the bill, it will certainly provide yet another tribune for opposition parties to stand out.
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