France could see expats paying for health care if Le Pen wins Presidential election

by Ray Clancy on January 17, 2017

Foreign citizens living and working in France could be asked to pay for their own health care for their first two years in the country under plans being drawn up by one of this year’s Presidential candidates.

French people should get priority when it comes to benefits and health, according to Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front party who many think has a chance of doing a ‘Trump’ and winning the election later this year.

FranceShe believes that even those who are working legally, paying their taxes and social security charges should still pay and she has also indicated that immigrants should also contribute to the cost of their children’s education.

Meanwhile, another Presidential candidate, former education minister Benoit Hamon, has set out plans for every adult in France to be paid a monthly ‘wage’. The plan would see a universal basic wage of €500 to €750 paid to all French residents which he said will be needed to confront an increasingly automated workforce which will see millions lose their jobs.

Hamon argues that the wages could be paid for by higher taxes on multinational companies and also more tax on products and goods. But critics say it would make people lazy.

‘When you go to a country, you don’t expect the country to support your needs. There are a lot of French people going to work in the United States, Germany and Australia and no one pays their healthcare or school costs,’ Le Pen told RTL radio.

‘Someone who arrives legally should wait some time before benefiting from the reimbursement of health costs,’ she added. However, it is understood that emergency treatment would be exempt from such a plan.

But she is likely to face a legal challenge over such plans should she win the election and try to change policy. In 1990 a ruling by France’s constitutional council stated that in terms of social rights foreigners legally living in France must be treated the same as French people. French law also guarantees a school place for every child.

Currently expats in France pay for health costs, such as GPs and non emergency X-rays upfront and then a percentage of the charge is paid back by the health system and the rest from insurance if a person has cover.

Opinion polls suggest Le Pen is set to finish second in the election but she is hoping for new momentum for change after Donald Trump’s victory in the United States and the Brexit vote in the UK. Top of the polls is former Prime Minister François Fillon for the Republicans and in third place is former economy minister Emmanuel Macron.

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