President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday promised extra money and more doctors in rural areas to ease pressure on France’s hospitals, which are creaking under the weight of budget constraints and closures of clinics outside towns and cities.
Macron’s announcement came days after he unveiled a separate 8 billion euro plan to help some 8.8 million people who live below the poverty threshold.
Macron hopes his social reforms will help counter criticism from left-wingers that he is a president of the rich and help turnaround a sharp fall in popularity.
Spending on health care will increase by 2.5 percent in 2019, higher than the initial 2.3 percent target and amounting to an additional 400 million euros ($470 million) in a near 200 billion euro budget, Macron said.
“Without changes, the hospital system will collapse,” Macron said in a speech at the Elysee Palace. “We need to rethink how we organize health care for the next 50 years.”