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Why are taxis on strike again this Monday?

The reasons for the anger are deep and go beyond the endless squabbles between VTCs and taxis.

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Why are taxis on strike again this Monday?

The reasons for the anger are deep and go beyond the endless squabbles between VTCs and taxis... At the call of several unions, taxi drivers from "all over France" have planned to "converge" this Monday towards the Place du Trocadéro in Paris, in order to denounce the “new unsustainable pricing imposed by the National Union of Health Insurance Funds (UNCAM)”. And it is this decision - taken “unilaterally” by Health Insurance to the detriment of taxis approved by the two unions of the FNAT and the FNDT - which is at the heart of their demands. Because today, while this service has always existed, patient transport no longer attracts taxi drivers, who prefer to carry out more profitable “classic” journeys.

“Transporting a sick person is not transporting a package. The driver has an obligation to accompany: he picks you up from your hospital room, makes sure you gather your belongings, your prescriptions and takes you back with your belongings under his arm, helping you up to the fifth floor of your building if necessary”, explains the president of the FNAT Bernard Crebassa, had to point out that this “working time” is in fact “unpaid”.

And that's the whole problem today: more and more taxi drivers no longer want to be regulated and prefer to carry out "classic" journeys. Because if contracted drivers often claim to be the only social link for patients and even believe that they are replacing a failing local public service, the fact remains that they cannot provide this service at a loss, the unions emphasize. the origin of the mobilization this Monday. In this sense, the latter regret that “the social organization disregards the economic reality of the sector”. Result: according to professionals in the sector, “it has become increasingly difficult for patients to book taxi trips approved for the transport of seated patients”. A “serious failure by the State” according to them “in its duty to guarantee access to care”.

But really, what’s the problem? The dilemma is undeniable: on the one hand, Health Insurance wants to save money, and on the other, taxi drivers refuse to be paid less for a service that earns them less and less. “The costs of transport carried out by a taxi company can only give rise to reimbursement if the taxi company has previously concluded an agreement with a local CPAM organization”, recalls Health Insurance, during the presentation of the new 2024 standard agreement for approved taxis.

And it is precisely this which arouses the indignation of taxi drivers, while Health Insurance has, according to them, “unilaterally published this standard agreement, exempt from its price ceilings for discounts on approved journeys” before “immediately call on the departmental funds to renew before mid-February their agreement with the taxi companies, whose backs are pushed to the wall”. “We cannot run at a loss. If we continue to have excessively significant price discounts required by the CPAM, we will no longer be profitable, we will no longer be able to drive,” testifies for example Xavier Cavelan, a Norman taxi driver who assures France 3 Normandie that he is financially dependent on these trips. medical.

“Taxis are not prescribers but simple workers of healthcare policy in France. They only intervene on a transport prescription, prescribed by the medical profession and in no case do they generate demand, nor do they derive any enrichment from its increase,” specifies the president of the FNDT Emmanuelle Cordier. For professionals in the sector, it is only a matter of mobilizing “for the survival of the medical taxi which is today threatened”, in order “to continue to guarantee to French people who require it, a quality service, adapted to their needs”. “Just as they preserve the dignity of patients in their care pathways, they also demand to exercise their profession with complete dignity,” write the two unions of the FNAT and the FNDT, demanding “to be urgently received at Matignon, by the “all the different ministries linked to the challenges of the sector”.

They also denounce the obligation of shared medical transport, which “is an interesting mode of regulation both for Health Insurance and for taxis”, according to the new convention, which pleads to “promote” this solution. “By taking several people on the same journey, we can compensate for the shortfall, but it is difficult to organize. Customers do not have the same time constraints, we will have to keep sick people waiting,” reacts a taxi driver on this subject to France 3 Normandie.

A new way of thinking, which comes in a context where the government intends to achieve no less than 3.5 billion euros in the health system, as part of the finance bill (PLFSS). At the end of October, the Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts Thomas Cazenave announced his ambition to make “some savings on medical transport”. Far from being anecdotal, this measure plans to strongly encourage patients who use medical transport to go to a medical appointment to share it, under penalty of paying a supplement.

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