French doctors protest cost-control measures

Hundreds of French doctors, many wearing white lab coats and blue surgical caps, march in Paris, Nov 12 2012 in a protest over work conditions and government proposals that aim to limit how much doctors charge above the state insurance system's reimbursements. Sign at left reads: French Medicine is Expensive. AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

PARIS Hundreds of French doctors, many wearing white lab coats and blue surgical caps, are marching in Paris in a protest over work conditions and government efforts to rein in their pay.

Hundreds of French doctors, many wearing white lab coats and blue surgical caps, march in Paris, Nov 12 2012 in a protest over work conditions and government proposals that aim to limit how much doctors charge above the state insurance system's reimbursements.
AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

France's state health fund has fixed rates of reimbursements for many doctors' services. When doctors charge more than that, patients or their private supplemental insurance pay the rest. Many doctors oppose a plan by Health Minister Marisol Touraine that aims to limit how much doctors charge above the state insurance system's reimbursements.

France has drawn plaudits for its health care system. But many doctors complain of being overworked and fear a slide toward free-market, American-style health care.

Many doctors suspended office hours during the open-ended protests starting Monday, forcing patients to look to emergency rooms for care.

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