Labs: Senate defies government ‘ultimatum’ and limits puncture until 2023

The conflict between biologists and the government has been going on for two weeks now. After protesting by halting the increase in the national file of Covid-19 tests (SI-DEP), medical biology laboratories are threatening to go on strike, renewable from Monday 14 November.

The reason for their anger? An article included in the Social Security Financing Bill for 2023 (PLFSS) that leads to annual savings of €250 million at their expense due to increased margins. The debate on this provision in the Senate on November 8 was probably closely watched by the unions. Senators, encouraged by the social affairs committee, significantly changed the image of the government.

“Therefore, this proposal is nothing more than an ultimatum,” concludes the chief speaker.

So far, the bill has been ordered to set a permanent drop in prices for medical biology procedures unrelated to COVID-19, unless an agreement is reached 1 hour between Health Insurance and medical biologists in February 2023. This reduction should generate savings of 250 million euros for Health Insurance next year.

“Therefore, this is a proposal that is nothing more than an ultimatum, the result of which is a reduction in the payment of biological procedures, which will affect all laboratories, regardless of their size and activity,” the main speaker condemned. social affairs commission, Élisabeth Doineau (Centrist Union).

Labs: Senate defies government ‘ultimatum’ and limits puncture until 2023

From 2020 to 2022, Health Insurance paid about 7.3 billion euros to laboratories for tests against the coronavirus. The senators did not hesitate to push for 250 million euros for medical analysis laboratories, but they wanted to limit the puncture only to 2023, rejecting a “sustainable and robust regulatory measure”. In addition, the exceptional contribution will only apply to the turnover obtained due to the health crisis, i.e. the compensation paid to laboratories for screening of COVID-19 in 2021. Not to other examinations.

Increasing the profitability of the laboratory

The executive power remained in its position. “The solution proposed by the government did not come out completely because of the negotiations with the National Health Insurance Fund and the biologists’ associations,” Jean-Noel Barrot rightly stated. The Ministerial Representative responsible for the digital transition remains convinced of the usefulness of a “more sustainable solution” rather than an ephemeral contribution in the Senate version. According to him, the turnover of the laboratories increased from 5.1 billion euros to 9.4 billion euros between 2019 and 2021, and the profitability rate now exceeds 30 percent against 16 percent in 2019.

“The numbers do not seem to us to be a simple result of the covid-19 episode. Indeed, especially in the market of medical biologists, there is a tendency towards concentration, which will naturally lead to an increase in the margin, which requires additional efforts, “he said.

The impact study attached to the bill also mentions a contribution scenario that will be repeated over several years. According to the minister, “efforts are not applied, negotiations are underway”.

“Government solution may hinder small labs”

Monday evening’s meeting at Health Insurance was a cold shower for biologists’ associations. Coming to discuss the withdrawal, which is limited to 250 million euros, as provided for in the Social Security budget, but “only in 2023”, they explain instead that they “received a new glider proposal that is much saltier than at the beginning”. projected”: 280 million next year, then 322 million a year until 2026.

In the Senate, the Social Affairs Committee’s amendment has the merit of being “fairer.” “There is a tax on excess profits, but we can hope that covid-19 will not create so many costs. The government’s solution may hinder small laboratories because it will be perpetuated in the future,” warned Senator Daniel Chasseing (Les Indépendants).

Doubs senator Annick Jacquemet (Centrist Union) told the meeting that he had been contacted by laboratories in rural areas in recent days. “They are very worried about what the government is planning. They have huge investments to keep up with innovations and stay competitive with big lab groups. »

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