In a media led society, how do we tell the “hard truth” – Mr Fillon seems to have failed

A sensible pledge to “pledge to farm out minor health costs to private insurance “…… Readers might not think this is important but the lesson applies to the UK. Although we do not have layered insurance systems, we do have one universal system. In a media led society, how do we tell the “hard truths” such as on health. Rationing overtly is going to get harder, more punitive, more expensive and more regressive as the denial continues – Mr Fillon seems to have failed in persuading the French that they cannot have Everything for everyone for ever, and any ridicule would be better directed at the media and political opponents. Encouraging autonomy in minor health expenses is essential. The safety net should be there for the big, fearful, and expensive things..

In The Times 19th December Charles Bremner reports: Ridicule for Fillon after healthcare cuts retreat

François Fillon, the conservative favourite to win the French presidency, has been forced on the defensive after fumbling an attempt to retract a pledge to cut funding for basic healthcare.

The Republicans party candidate bowed to public outrage, deleted his pledge to farm out minor health costs to private insurance from his website and denied that he had ever made it.

“Never did I want to, or would I want to, ‘privatise health insurance’,” the former prime minister said. Until Tuesday, his campaign site said: “I propose focusing universal public insurance on serious and long-term illnesses, and focusing private insurance on the rest.”

The volte-face from the rural MP drew ridicule from his centre-left opponents and fuelled doubts about his credibility in a centre-right camp worried that his “Thatcherite” plans were alienating voters.“It’s hard to fathom just what he is saying at this stage,” said Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate, who mocked Mr Fillon’s U-turn and said that his plans for cutting social security cover made her feel sick. “I hope it will pass quickly because I’m told digestive troubles are among the ‘small ailments’ that would no longer be covered.”

An Odoxa survey showed that nine out of ten respondents opposed cutting public spending on health.

“This programme is worrying, intimidating and confusing,” said Marisol Touraine, the health minister.

Mr Fillon has also been criticised for his support for President Putin.

Manuel Valls, the former prime minister, who is likely to become the Socialist candidate next month, said that Mr Fillon’s move was a cynical one. “Mr Fillon’s manifesto consists of less independence for France in the face of Russia and hard prospects for the French with the basics of our social model cast into doubt.”

Polls suggest that Mr Fillon is best placed to win the election against the far right and a fractured and discredited left-wing camp, but a survey yesterday showed that he was not liked by a majority of the public.

An Ifop poll for Le Journal du Dimanche suggested that 55 per cent believed that he would win the election but only 28 per cent wantedhim as president. His biggest support comes from the over-65s, who are 50 per cent behind him. Of the respondents, 62 per cent were worried by his promise to cut welfare cover.

Many voters, including many from Mr Fillon’s own party, described him as an out-of-touch, upper- middle-class country dweller who did not understand their problems.

Mr Fillon has spent the past two weeks trying to rally support from his former rivals, Alain Juppé and Nicolas Sarkozy, but they have not given him full backing. “The start of Fillon’s campaign has been a struggle. There’s no clear direction,” said one of Mr Juppé’s lieutenants. “The winning strategy can’t just consist of sitting on your favourite’s laurels.”

Natalie Huet reports on 19th December 2016: Lessons from François Fillon: How not to reform health insurance in France – François Fillon proposed dramatic reform for an overstretched health care system but has retreated bit by bit.

Jerome Chartier said ““One thing that got in the way is that we started to focus on details rather than on the most important … that social security is in deficit,””…

The Mailonline reports that the Fillon website was changed to delete the suggestion that healthcare insurance should be partly privatised.


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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