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Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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Hundreds of ambulances block Paris highway to protest reforms

Wails of sirens echoed in the city as about 2,000 ambulance employees demonstrated against the reforms, which went into effect on Oct. 1.

Through Article 80 of the new law reforming the financing of the social security system, patients could no longer opt for a preferred ambulance provider. Instead, hospitals would receive individual budgets for patient transport.

This could prompt hospitals to opt for less expensive providers, a change that would favor bigger companies and hurt smaller ones that cannot compete in a price war, some ambulance providers say.

Monday’s protest heavily disturbed traffic on Paris’ A4 highway, as police temporarily halted vehicles to give way to the ambulances.

Protesters also picketed in front of the French Health Ministry on Monday afternoon.

The changes in the ambulance options are part of a raft of reforms by French President Emmanuel Macron, which includes an overhaul of the country’s highly praised but financially struggling healthcare system.

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