Biometric Vitale card: towards the end of Social Security scams?

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Will the biometric Vitale card soon put an end to Social Security scams? The Senate, with a right-wing majority, voted on the night of Tuesday August 2 to Wednesday August 3, as part of the draft amending budget (PLFR) for 2022, 20 million credits to launch the implementation of a vital card biometric. Objective, to fight against social fraud with the Vitale card which would reach “6 billion euros according to the lowest estimate”.

The senators indeed adopted by 242 votes against 95 an amendment carried by Philippe Mouiller (LR) providing for “the first credits allowing to launch from the fall of 2022 (this) site”. The idea did not fall on deaf ears. “We must ensure that benefits are paid correctly, that social security contributions and contributions are collected comprehensively,” said the new Minister of Health, François Braun, in July.

As Le Parisien recalls, the minister had recently proposed the establishment of a “parliamentary mission” about this biometric Vitale card, which had been demanded for a long time by the right and the far right. The Minister Delegate for Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, for his part assured that this amendment would “speed things up”. The presidential majority had however rejected a bill by LR senators on this subject at the end of 2020, citing in particular “the protection of privacy and personal data”.

While the biometric Vitale card should therefore possibly make its appearance soon, the National Health Insurance Fund has decided to study all types of insurance fraud so that it is operational and completely secure. For the Complementary health solidarity, intended for the most precarious, Anaïs Bouissou, economic journalist for RTL, specifies that “of the 2.5 billion euros paid to the mutual insurance intended for the most precarious, the amount of the cheat could reach almost 9 %”.

Concerning the fraud of health professionals, the amount is much more important. Indeed, according to the RTL journalist, “a 2019 report estimated the number of fraudsters at 30% and alone, they represented 80% of the sums embezzled”. Health insurance fraud by liberal nurses would, for example, be “around 5 to 8% with up to 400 million euros per year misappropriated”.

It is therefore not surprising to see that the vote by the right-wing senatorial majority in favor of a biometric Vitale card to fight against social fraud arouses strong reservations among health professionals and patient representatives. “It’s political posting”, indeed commented to AFP Agnès Giannotti, president of MG France, the first union of general practitioners. “Social fraud is often brought to the fore when the main problem is not there, it is in targeting the relevance of health expenditure”. “It always boils down to thinking that it’s the poor who make the spending hole when the big spending isn’t there,” Dr Giannotti added. “It will annoy everyone with a totally marginal gain compared to health expenditure”.

“The Senate is wasting 20 million for a useless and backward-looking measure that can waste medical time,” added Philippe Besset, president of the Federation of Community Pharmacists (FSPF), on Twitter. For Arthur Dauphin, digital health project manager at France Assos Santé, the main patient federation, this measure “is a sea serpent and a sensationalist provision which seems to us to be out of step with all the efforts made since the Ségur de la santé , in a concerted manner with public authorities, professionals and patients, to secure care and to move our model, to make it digest digital”.