French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the state’s 2022 budget will reserve €1 billion in medical aid for “free” healthcare to illegal immigrants. Since 2015, a year which saw well over a million illegal foreigners enter Europe, the amount of state aid set aside for migrant healthcare costs has doubled.
According to a finance bill put forward on Wednesday by President Emmanuel Macron’s government, €1 billion in medical aid will be allocated from the state’s 2022 budget to cover healthcare costs – of illegal immigrants, not including the costs of emergency care, French newspaper Le Figaro reports.
In 2020, alone, more than 383,000 foreigners living illegally in France benefited from State Medical Aid (AME), a health insurance program that covers 100 percent of medical expenses incurred by illegal immigrants, Minister of Health Olivier Véran said.
Since its implementation in 2000, State Medical Aid (AME) has incited fierce debate, with many fiscally conservative-minded politicians and thinkers arguing that the insurance is an abuse of the country’s social welfare system, which is structured in such a way that it greatly encourages illegal migration.
In 2017, the average illegal immigrant benefitting from AME insurance cost the state €3,503 in medical expenses alone, while the average French citizen cost €2,817.
As the cost to fund the massive social welfare scheme continues to balloon — and show no indication of letting up anytime soon — some notable lawmakers are arguing that the program should be scaled back considerably. One of those lawmakers is Véronique Louwagie, a conservative MP for the Republicans, who recently said, “The level of care offered in France to foreigners in an irregular situation is very generous — even too generous.”
Instead of pretending that their budget is limitless, the insurance program should be “refocused on urgent care” so as to “dissuade irregular immigration” for medical care, the conservative MP added.
Responding to Louwagie’s arguments, Minister of Health Olivier Véran insisted that the majority of individuals receiving medical coverage from AME were in “situations of distress,” adding that he does not believe that illegal migrants make a journey across the “Mediterranean Sea in a makeshift boat because they have heard of the AME and that the care for diabetes will be cheaper.”
Each year, illegal migration costs French taxpayers enormous sums of money. Earlier this year, during an interview with Radio Sud, French author and academic Jean-Paul Gourévitch argued against the claim commonly made by open-borders economists and politicians, which asserts that immigration provides economic benefits, referring to the idea as an unfounded myth.
“I have studied this topic extensively, and today everyone in France from the left to the right agrees that immigration costs more than it brings in,” he said. “There is a major difference between left and right-oriented economists regarding the costs: the leftist economists say the deficit is to six to ten billion [euros per year], while those on the right say it is 40 to 44 billion. My own scientific research shows that the deficit is 20 to 25 billion [euros].”
In 2019, a report released by the Assembly of French Departments (ADF) revealed that migrants under the age of 18 cost French taxpayers €2 billion every year. Figures from the report show that the approximately 41,000 underage migrants currently living in France — 95 percent of whom are male — incur a cost to the French state of about €50,000 per year, per person.