Some 3,500 salaried and self-employed doctors, opposed to the abolition of state medical aid (AME) to undocumented immigrants, undertake to “disobey” and “continue to treat these patients for free” if the system were to disappear, in an appeal published on Saturday.
“I, a doctor, declare that I will continue to treat undocumented patients free of charge according to their needs, in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath that I have pronounced,” indicates this “declaration of disobedience” signed by 3,500 health professionals.
This text was initiated by two psychiatrists who are heads of department at the Henri Mondor hospitals in Créteil and the CHI in Créteil, Professors Antoine Pelissolo and Jean-Marc Baleyte.
“My door is open to you”
“I will remain indifferent to their social or financial conditions, as well as their language and their nationality,” promise the signatories.
“Ethics prescribes the right care for each person who consults me. Wisdom denounces the ethical fault and in passing the epidemiological error,” they continue. Before concluding: “patients from here and elsewhere, my door is open to you. And will remain so.”
The AME covers 100% of the health costs of foreigners present on French soil for at least three months. Its detractors accuse it of generating a “draft” for illegal immigration and of costing “too expensive”, currently 1.2 billion euros per year for 400,000 beneficiaries (3,000 euros per year per beneficiary).
During consideration of the immigration bill this week, the Senate adopted an amendment that removes it and transforms it into “emergency medical aid.” The government did not oppose it, but the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin has since indicated that he did not “want” the text to remain as it is.
“Many private doctors have signed, general practitioners or specialists. If they see an uncovered patient, they will not get paid. It’s a very strong position,” explained Professor Pelissolo.
“In hospitals, this is indeed disobedience. I may not declare a consultation. In the case of hospitalization, this will be at the hospital’s expense. It’s my decision even if it’s against the usual hospital rules,” he clarified.
Other signatories include emergency physician Patrick PellouxJulie Chastang, vice-president of the College of General Medicine and nephro-pediatrician Rémi Salomon.
3,000 caregivers – including doctors, but also paramedical professions – had already signed a column in Le Monde last week, calling for the preservation of this “public health” system.