State medical aid: the Senate wants to replace it with Emergency Medical Aid. What are the issues ?

State medical aid: the Senate wants to replace it with Emergency Medical Aid.  What are the issues ?

The Senate voted to abolish State Medical Aid and replace it with Emergency Medical Aid, in opposition to many caregivers and the government. What are the health issues of such a decision? Explanations.

Despite the platform of 3000 caregivers calling not to eliminate it, despite the reservations of the former Minister of Health… the elimination of State Medical Aid was validated by the Senate. This aid reserved for undocumented immigrants would be replaced by emergency medical aid.

State medical aid: what are we talking about?

State medical aid (AME) allows foreigners in an irregular situation to benefit from access to care. To benefit from it, you must reside in Europe for more than three months, not have had a residence permit for more than three months and receive resources not exceeding certain ceilings. Once awarded, this assistance is granted for one year, renewable on request each year. According to the national study carried out by the Institute for Research and Documentation in Health Economics at the end of 2019, one in two eligible people uses it.

Defenders of this measure believe that it is a “essential tool for individual health and public health“. No less than 3,000 caregivers had pleaded for the maintenance of the AME, a few days before its examination by the Senate.

The Minister for Health Professions, Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, also declared that such a debate does not concern this text of law which concerns the control of immigration and the improvement of integration.

What are the reasons given by the Senators for its removal?

By 200 votes for and 136 against, the Senators approved the abolition of the AME and its transformation into emergency medical aid (AMU). Conservative elected officials criticize this system for constituting “a breath of fresh air” for illegal immigration, for being too generous and too costly. Its cost is around 1.2 billion euros, or according to former Minister of Health François Braun, “0.5%, even a little less, of the entire Social Security budget”. This expenditure has increased by 47.8% since 2017, according to an information report from the Finance Commission of the National Assembly published in May 2023.

What does the Emergency Medical Aid intended to replace the AME provide?

The immigration bill therefore plans to replace the AME with more restrictive emergency medical aid. Access to care for foreigners in an irregular situation is reduced to a base refocused on serious illnesses, care related to pregnancy, vaccinations and preventive medicine examinations.

Today, the AME has not been abolished because the text must then be studied by the National Assembly. This will be done from December 11 and there is no telling whether this measure will ultimately be adopted.