PARIS (MNI) – The French government aims to trim its chronic social
security deficit by E3.5 billion next year to E13.9 billion.

Given underlying upward trend in health care and pension costs,
next year’s potential shortfall would be cut by E5.8 billion, according
to the bill presented in cabinet on Wednesday.

As with the government budget, the consolidation efforts for the
social security system are tilted heavily toward the revenue side, with
E5 billion in new receipts, of which E3.4 billion are targeted for the
health care and pension systems.

Once again, the aim of the new Socialist government is to place
most of the burden on the better off, while preserving as much public
service as possible. Independent professionals, most retired persons and
those employing domestic help will have to contribute more, as will
smokers and beer drinkers.

Savings are targeted mainly for hospital outlays and prescription
drugs. The government highlighted the fact that patients’ out-of-pocket
expenses would not be hiked. The 2.7% increase in total public health
care spending (ONDAM) will allow for investment in “new practices and
new organizations,” the report noted.

Among branches of the system, the deficit in public health care
would decline from E6.8 billion expected this year to E5.1 billion next
year. The pension system shortfall would be cut by E1.2 billion to E4.0
billion. The deficit in the family assistance branch would be stable at
E2.6 billion. The work accident branch would post a surplus of E300
million thanks to a rise in contributions.

–Paris newsroom +331 4271 5540; Email:

[TOPICS: MFFBU$,M$F$$$,M$X$$$,MGX$$$]