The French government is planning to restrict migrants and refugees’ access to medical care, as part of an anti-immigration turn by Emmanuel Macron.
Prime minister Edouard Philippe presented a 20-point “immigration plan” to the country’s national assembly on Wednesday, echoing Brexiteer rhetoric by telling a press conference: “We want to take back control of our migration policy.”
Among the most controversial of the policies in the plan is a new three-month waiting period or “delai de carence” before asylum seekers can access basic healthcare coverage.
The period restricts access to the universal Puma or “protection universelle maladie” program that anyone living in France can use if they are not covered by another insurer. Currently, asylum seekers in France can use the system as soon as they have applied for refugee status.
The policy has prompted intense criticism from human rights groups, who accused the government of playing an “electoral game” with refugees’ lives and fostering “a climate of anxiety and hostility to foreigners”.
Read more: The Independent