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Philippe Batifoulier, Jean-Paul Domin & Amandine Rauly: Erosion of Solidarity in France and Welfare Conventions: The New Role of Complementary Health Insurance. [Abstract]

The French health system has been structurally in crisis since the early 1980s. This crisis is reflected in the loss of legitimacy of the conventional Fordist vision of national solidarity, which is characterized by a “crisis of legitimacy.” The Fordist convention has the particularity of corresponding to a harmonious representation of social justice between the different orders (economic, political, and domestic) of social protection. Contemporary criticism of the health care system uses what was once the basis of institutionalized compromise between orders. The result is a new role for supplementary health insurance. This new role overturns the concept of solidarity that characterizes health policies. A new conventional vision is emerging: the liberal convention. This analysis focuses on the French case where complementary insurance has historically fulfilled solidarity missions. The new status of supplementary protection is accompanied by an unequal drift, which cannot be seen as the expression of a natural antagonism between economic efficiency and social justice. In France, expenditure has remained high while inequalities have increased. These limits have led the legislator to modify its policy by exempting certain patients from contributing to the financing of their own health expenditure. These sensitive adjustments are costly when the initial objective is to reduce expenditure and tend to generate new inequalities.

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