A ‘Tour de France for Health’ in response to Macron’s austerity measures

A coalition of trade unions, political parties, and associations is getting ready to build a national campaign for a fair social security budget in response to the Macron’s administration austerity policies

September 09, 2023 by Peoples Health Dispatch
French health activists stage a protest.

On Monday, September 11, more than 50 trade unions, associations, and political organizations in France will formally announce the beginning of the Tour de France for Health (Tour de France pour la Santé). Their announcement comes as the Macron administration prepares to consider a new round of cuts to health and social services funding through the Social Security Funding Bill and the national health budget discussion scheduled for next month. Signatories of this initiative include Sud Santé Sociaux, Médecins du Monde, the People’s Health Movement France, France Insoumise, and many others.

These organizations have already played a role in mobilizations across various French cities. In Lure, collectives including the national coordination of the Committees for the Defense of Hospitals and Maternity Wards, have organized debates and demonstrations. In the upcoming weeks, similar actions are anticipated in cities such as Lille, Toulouse, Rouen, and other municipalities. All of these actions share the opposition to the continual reduction of health and social services budgets—a stance strongly pushed by President Macron.

The cuts in public budget allocation have provoked a decline in the conditions in hospitals and nursing homes, reaching a critical breaking point. Patients and healthcare workers are bearing the brunt of this situation. The state of healthcare services has already ignited decentralized protests in hospitals across different regions, including Brittany and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

The signatories of the call for the Tour de France for Health have emphasized in their announcement that such actions must be unified on a national scale to achieve their objectives. Representing a diverse group of collectives, the initiative is calling upon citizens to mobilize in defense of the right to healthcare in light of the government’s new policies that threaten to exacerbate the healthcare system crisis. These threats include proposals to double medical deductibles on drugs and social security contributions, as well as allowing supplementary health insurance prices to skyrocket.

To gather momentum and converge local campaigns, the signatories of the Tour de France for Health initiative have announced their intention to create platforms for local discussions on topics such as social security’s significance, mental health capacities, medical deserts, and the shortage of healthcare workers, among others. They have also revealed plans for different actions, ranging from traditional rallies to militant picnics, with the aim of appealing to a broad spectrum of the population and rallying as many people as possible in the pursuit of a more equitable and inclusive healthcare and social system.

People’s Health Dispatch is a fortnightly bulletin published by the People’s Health Movement and Peoples Dispatch.