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Health: Biologists promise “a black January”

Failing to reach an agreement with health insurance, medical biology professionals announced a major mobilization in January.

The month of January will be “dark” for liberal biologists in France. By refusing the puncture of 250 million euros a year included in the social security budget, they have already gone on strike twice in less than a month. Since the negotiations with Sygesikringen have not been successful since, these professionals promised on Thursday 15 December a “national mobilization of size” in January.

In a press release, the spokesman for the Alliance of Medical Biology, Alain Le Meur, specified that the analysis laboratories will remain open during the holiday “so as not to penalize the French”. He believes that the sector has no choice but to “harden the movement” in the face of “the inflexible attitude of the authorities”.

The Alliance of Medical Biology, which brings together the four unions and the major private groups in the sector, has already decided to suspend from December 15 and “for the time being” the transmission of biology data on the My Health Space platform. This before the January mobilization, which will constitute “a concrete demonstration of a health system that includes biology at a discount”.

The government has repeatedly highlighted the comfortable margins of laboratories, which recorded record profits during the pandemic thanks to Covid tests. The management believes that this justifies an “effort” on the part of the biologists and has therefore included a drain of 250 million euros in the social security budget per year.

If a compromise appears to be in sight to agree on this sum for 2023, negotiations are blocked for the period 2024-2026. In its first draft agreement, Health Insurance offers an envelope of 150 million euros over three years to reimburse “innovative actions” currently reserved for hospitals.

10,000 jobs lost?

However, the expected savings on the other legal acts are not specified, with the decision referring to “the signing of a multi-annual protocol before the end of the first half of the year”.

This “proposed amendment to our agreement […] does not answer any of our questions and does not address any of our suggestions, regrets the Alliance of Medical Biology. As a reminder, our profession is ready to make an extraordinary contribution of 250 million euros in 2023 and to accept price reductions between 2024 and 2026 for a total of 685 million euros.

The government project, for its part, provides a drain of 1.3 billion euros, which, according to these professionals, would lead to “the closure of at least 400 local laboratories (and) to the elimination of at least 10,000 qualified jobs”.

Without breaking the thread of negotiations with the Health Insurance, the biologists have therefore decided to resume their “actions on the spot” in order to “concretely show the authorities the health system they are preparing”.

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