France’s public health-care system is imploding, said Christian Digne in La Marseillaise. According to a new report commissioned by the government, fully one-quarter of operating rooms across the country fail to meet safety standards and must be closed. Yet the health service faces a budget shortfall of more than 1 billion euros. Since three-quarters of hospital costs go toward labor, and we can’t scrimp on that, it’s hard to see where the money will come from. What do the health minister, the prime minister, and the president propose to do? They won’t say. “They’d much rather natter on about the decline of the French model” and the need for reform and privatization. Don’t they realize that “if there is one single area where the French model proved superior, it is the public hospital system.” Our health care is “the envy of Europe.” Yet, to score conservative political points, our leaders are willing “to strangle it financially.” They want to weaken public services to the point of utter breakdown, so that they then can say the only answer is privatization. The strategy would be repugnant enough applied to any service. In health care, where people’s lives are at stake, it is “indefensible.”
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