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Workers block border over healthcare change

French border workers lit flares and blocked traffic to protest legal changes Keystone

French workers have blocked thirteen border crossings into northwest Switzerland in protest of new government health insurance rules due to start in June that they claim will significantly raise the cost of healthcare for many.

According to the Federal Customs Administration, some 150 protestors –some of whom belong to the Amicale des frontaliers group – caused 15km of tail-backs on Friday at crossings near Charbonnières, Brassus, Auberson and Vallorbe in canton Vaud, as well as at Brenets, Col de France, Le Cerneux-Péquignot and Verrières in canton Neuchâtel.

Since October 2013 similar protests have taken place at Paris, and at Annemasse, Pontarlier and Saint-Louis close to Switzerland.

They are protesting against a new French law that goes into effect in June 2014 forcing residents who work in Switzerland to pay into the French healthcare system (Sécu) even if they already have private insurance. Up to now cross-border workers were free to choose between the two, allowing them to be treated either in France or Switzerland.

Some 152,000 people who live in France near the Swiss border, from Lake Geneva to Basel, are thought to be affected by the change, of whom 30,000 are Swiss. The change is expected to earn the French state between CHF100-200 million a year, but also affect healthcare systems on both sides of the border.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR