“Defense” budget: Senate opposes changing Agirc-Arrco contributions
The Senate, with a right-wing majority, began the first reading of the social security draft budget for 2023 on Monday, opposing the controversial transfer of the collection of contributions from the Agirc-Arrco supplementary pension scheme to ‘Urssaf’.
A solemn vote on the Full Social Security Fund Bill (PLFSS), which passed 49.3 percent in the National Assembly, will be held on November 15.
“We are opting for a stronger, better health system,” boasted Health Minister François Browne, confirming the French government’s desire to provide “a country where everyone has easy access to care”.
The PLFSS expects a sharp drop in the deficit to 7.2 billion euros in 2023 (17.8 billion this year), based on a dramatic drop in the bill linked to Covid-19.
The Senate rejected a resolution rejecting the text put forward by the majority-communist CRCE committee, which Lawrence Cohen accused of a budget “completely disconnected from the emergency” and “not to say provocative”.
Social Affairs Committee general rapporteur Elizabeth Tonio (Centre) lamented that parliamentary debate has been “so far disconnected”.
“In view of the very important financial and political stakes (…), we have the responsibility to revive the full debate in the Senate”, he underlined.
Detached from its first two parts related to fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The Senate vetted and restored a 600 million increase in spending for 2022 that the government had offered to fund the measures taken this summer. Part of the recent announcements are about “companies under stress,” especially pediatric services.
The Upper House rejected by 302 votes to 28 a proposal to transfer the collection of contributions from Agirc-Arrco to Urssaf, which provides liquidity for social security.
“It’s a question of collection capacity,” argued Minister Roland Lescour.
In the group, the senators checked the national health insurance spending target for 2023 (1st) proposed in the government speech of 244.1 billion euros.
On the other hand, they rejected the funding path proposed by the government until 2026, deemed unreliable.
The reporter pointed to the “optimistic view of the economic and health situation” of the government contested by Minister Olivia Gregoire.
– “Government hides its face” –
René-Paul Savary (LR) the rapporteur for the elderly section will, as in previous years, propose a pension reform mechanism. A “strong signal” from the Senate, and a blow to pressure on the government, which has begun consultations with unions and employers with a view to reform as early as 2023.
“Year after year, the government hides its face by constantly postponing one of the most important decisions it has to take until the next day,” said Mr. Savary said.
The rapporteur initially proposes the establishment of a “National Conference” responsible for developing measures to return to equilibrium, taking into account hardships, long work and the employment of seniors.
Failing that, it provides for accelerating the Touraine reform and gradually postponing the legal age to 64 from the 1967 generation. A cocktail that President Emmanuel Macron said he was “open to”.
Unsurprisingly, the senators approved in committee — rewritten in their own way — a fourth-year internship policy for students in general medicine, with “priority” internships in areas where doctors are scarce.
They introduced a “solidarity contribution” of 300 million euros from mutual insurance companies and strengthened the supervision of telecommunications and limits on temporary medical work.
The question of savings demanded from clinical analytical laboratories will also be discussed.
“In fact, despite the effective communication of the government, this post-Covid budget reduces the financial means allocated to the health system,” said Bernard Jomier (PS), on the left.