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The creeping privatization of the public health sector

Veteran journalist Diana Johnstone, analyzing the recent unrest in France, points to public dissatisfaction with creeping privatization of the public health sector. “A significant and recurring complaint concerned the matter of health care. France has long had the best public health program in the world, but this is being steadily undermined to meet the primary need of capital: profit. In the past few years, there has been a growing government campaign to encourage, and finally to oblige people to subscribe to a “mutuelle,” that is, a private health insurance, ostensibly to fill “the gaps” not covered by France’s universal health coverage. The “gaps” can be the 15% that is not covered for ordinary illnesses (grave illnesses are covered 100%), or for medicines taken off the “covered” list, or for dental work, among other things. The “gaps” to fill keep expanding, along with the cost of subscribing to the mutuelle. In reality, this program, sold to the public as modernizing improvement, is a gradual move toward privatization of health care. It is a sneaky method of opening the whole field of public health to international financial capital investment. This gambit has not fooled ordinary people and is high on the list of complaints by the Gilets Jaunes.”

Source: MintPress News

Closures of post offices and the outsourcing of some of their functions have drawn complaints

Closures of post offices and the outsourcing of some of their functions to “post transfers” in private businesses have drawn complaints. Services like postal banking are gone. “For some people, very angry about what they see as an abandonment of the public postal service, it is a creeping ‘privatization.’” The people of Toulouse Stone Cross neighborhood protested last month against the announced closure of their post office.


The demonstrations against privatization can escalate

The Washington Post looks at how demonstrations against privatization can escalate for possible lessons on the French mass actions. “In March 2017, during the last French presidential campaign, a group of grassroots activists began demonstrating against the sale of the nonprofit Kourou hospital [in French Guiana] to a private operator. They set up roadblocks along the main coastal highway, effectively blocking access to the space center and delaying several satellite launches. The movement quickly picked up steam and expanded to Cayenne, French Guiana's capital, and to Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni to the west. As its support widened among the population, the movement and its leaders broadened the scope of their demands—a local dispute over the privatization of a hospital turned into a tense, month-long protest for better schools, better infrastructure and more state investments to fight poverty, unemployment and crime. In a nutshell, the Guianans demanded equality between their struggling and impoverished country, and the metropole across the ocean.”


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