French doctors protest over cost-control efforts

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Associated Press

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 12 at 5:05 PM

PARIS (AP) — Hundreds of French doctors, many wearing white lab coats and blue surgical caps, are marching in Paris in a protest over work conditions and government efforts to rein in their pay.

France's state health fund has fixed rates of reimbursements for many doctors' services. When doctors charge more than that, patients or their private supplemental insurance pay the rest. Many doctors oppose a plan by Health Minister Marisol Touraine that aims to limit how much doctors charge above the state insurance system's reimbursements.

France has drawn plaudits for its health care system. But many doctors complain of being overworked and fear a slide toward free-market, American-style health care.

Many doctors suspended office hours during the open-ended protests starting Monday, forcing patients to look to emergency rooms for care.

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