A “rabbit tax” voted by the Senate to fight against unfulfilled medical appointments

A “rabbit tax” voted by the Senate to fight against unfulfilled medical appointments

THE Senate hunts down “rabbit posers” at the doctor: the upper house adopted Thursday the principle of penalizing patients who do not honor their medical appointments. To combat the proliferation of last minute appointment cancellations and “empowering” patients, several parliamentary groups voted for an amendment aimed at “charging a lump sum for insured persons who do not honor an appointment for community care”.

This amount, called “rabbit tax”, would be partly paid by Health Insurance to the healthcare professionals concerned. The amendment was voted on as part of the draft social security budget for 2024 (PLFSS), examined this week in the Senate.

The government has given an unfavorable opinion on the proposed mechanism and will be able to reject it thanks to article 49.3 activated in the National Assembly to have the PLFSS adopted without a vote. But he was open on the issue.

“This subject must be referred to conventional negotiation”, affirmed the Minister of Health Aurélien Rousseau, explaining that he had “not found the solution” which would allow patients to be treated fairly according to their method of making appointments (platforms like Doctolib, telephone, etc.). However, he said he was “very sensitive” on the subject.

Between 6 and 10% of appointments not honored

The senatorial majority of the right and the center relies on figures from the Academy of Medicine and the National Council of the Order of Physicians: these organizations estimate between 6 and 10% the number of patients who do not show up to their appointment.

The Senate also questioned the Minister of Health about the possible doubling of medical deductibles – this remains the responsibility of the insured when they buy medicines (50 cents per box) or see a doctor (one euro per consultation).

Mentioned, this increase does not appear in the PLFSS at present: “The decision has not been made,” explained Aurélien Rousseau. The minister assessed the impact of the measure at “17 euros per year on average” for policyholders.

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