French government slows rate of growth in healthcare budget

The French government has said it will seek to reduce the rate of growth of healthcare services to 2.5% in 2012, down from 2.8-2.9% in 2011. What are the implications of this?

Stephan Pichon at Paris-based adviser Your Consult said the government plans to force doctors to prescibe generics more often and to reduce drug prices. It is also looking to save several hundred million euros on laboratories and radiology. He says that the state has an accumulated deficit of some €10bn in healthcare spending.

Other sources suggest that this will lead to a larger than normal drop in test tariff prices for laboratories which normally runs at 3-4% a year.

Pichon doesn’t think that the new austerity measures will automatically lead to a transfer of acute operations from the public sector to the private sector which generally is paid around 27% less per proceedure. He said: “Such transfers are deeply political and so are very hard to predict and likely to take a long time.”

Source: Healthcare Europe / December 5th 2011

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