The rabbit tax will see the light of day: when, what and above all how much?

The rabbit tax will see the light of day: when, what and above all how much?

An imposed tax to pay when you don’t show up for your appointment with a doctor? This is one of Gabriel Attal’s “flagship” announcements to optimize access to care. What do you need to know as a patient?

The idea had been mentioned for several months, and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal confirmed it on Saturday April 6 during an interview with the daily press: the rabbit tax, aimed at penalizing patients who do not show up for an appointment. you medical, will be implemented from the fall or January 1, 2025. The Prime Minister thus intends to offer new slots for access to care within an acceptable time frame, while currently between “20 and 30 million consultations are lost each year because of these missed appointments.

5 euros debited when you don’t show up

How would this work? The government intends to sanction patients who forget to notify at least 24 hours in advance that they are unable to come, or who simply do not attend their medical appointment. How ? The payment terms were not detailed by Gabriel Attal this weekend. But one of the options could be to request the bank card number via the Doctolib type reservation platform.

In the event of no-show, the doctor who feels wronged would simply have to report it in order to receive the money. Those who book directly may also be asked for a bank imprint from the secretariat.

A situation that already exists in Central Europe for example, where patients pay a flat rate of 5 euros directly when making an appointment, and the rest at the end of the consultation. In the event of no-show, the amount remains with the doctor.

The doctor keeps his hand on the sanction

The tax would not, however, be automatic, but would remain at the discretion of the doctor consulted. He could thus apply it if he considers himself wronged, but could also decide not to use it if he considers that his patient does not have the resources to do so, or that he is experiencing a difficult situation or has available resources. ‘a valid excuse. However, this requires contacting your doctor.

For their part, doctors are divided by this decision. Some are completely fed up with these “rabbits”, while others do not feel particularly affected. It also depends on the specialties: thus according to a Doctolib survey from February 2023, dentists would be the worst off, followed by specialists and psychologists.

Too much or too little, for a sanction?

Is this tax the solution? To have. For Gérard Raymond, the president of Europe assos santé, this tax is not a measure of “patient responsibility”but looks more like an attempt to “guilt”, according to him. In addition, it could lead to other abuses: according to him, the practitioner “will look at the end of the month and say: ‘I’m short a few pennies, so I’m going to make ‘rabbit’ declarations”.

Others believe that 5 euros is not enough to dissuade invisible patients. And propose a slightly more drastic solution: “Me, if a patient has a habit of not honoring his appointments, I exclude him from my patient base” said Luc Duquesnel, president of the general practitioner branch of the Confederation of French Medical Unions, on franceinfo.