In Defence of Social Protection Publication date : September 6, 2012
A magistrate at the French Court of Auditors, Bertrand Fragonard is a highly respected expert on social protection. For nearly forty years, besides advising the ministers who oversaw the French social welfare system (notably Simone Veil), he also managed its main branches (child benefits, health insurance, minimum social benefits for the underprivileged). He has presided over various advisory bodies (for the future of public health insurance, family welfare) and is a member of the steering committee of the Think Tank Economie Santé. The government regularly consults him on social issues.
Does the French Social Security system overspend? In the context of the economic crisis and the need to master public spending, the health services have been accused of every ill: of heading toward bankruptcy, of encouraging a culture of dependence, of favouring pensioners to the detriment of the employed and the young, of wasting resources that could be better used elsewhere, of contributing less and less to reducing inequalities, etc. Yet, with nearly 30% of France’s national wealth, the Social Security system remains at the core of the French social contract and it has never been radically called into question by any government, regardless of political persuasion.
Written by an eminent specialist, this book is an appeal to defend social protection as it exists in France: generous and universal, it is largely responsible for cushioning the blows linked to existing crises and growing inequalities. But the system of social protection must be reformed, because generosity and universality have become increasingly expensive and because some of the generous rules actually conceal numerous cases of under-productivity and inefficient spending.
After reviewing the various branches of social protection (the family, youth, women, the sick, pensioners), Bertrand Fragonard shows how the system can be reformed, in accord with the principles that oversaw its creation, to make it fairer and more efficient, in accord with today’s society.
• An eminent specialist in the area of social welfare, Bertrand Fragonard is regularly asked to advise the French government.
• A book that is bound to be polemical in the upcoming French presidential elections and in the current economic climate.