The rocky road to universal health coverage

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

One year after the launch of the Cuss pilot project, about 150 people have received a social security card. The associations involved are convinced of the necessity of the programme, but the many requirements and the procedural effort are a headache for them.

Rue d'Audun, which dead-ends here under the viaduct, is a little busier on this Thursday in April. The month, notorious for its changeable weather, shows its cold side this morning. A few people are already waiting outside the door of Médecins du Monde (MDM) shortly before the consultations start at 10 am. Those who visit the organisation with pain, infections or other complaints often live in poverty and do not have health insurance. A reality in Luxembourg.

Inside, the hour before, the members of the team present that day have gradually trickled in. Among them is Dr Bernard Thill, whom we meet for an interview that morning. The conversation takes place in a rather unusual place: in a storage room. Although the NGO occupies the ground floor of two neighbouring buildings, space is limited. In a few months, the organisation is to move to larger premises near Place Robert Metz – and thus right in the centre of Esch/Alzette.

In October 2021, the government had presented the Cuss, short for "Couverture universelle des soins de santé". With this, the policy recognised that in Luxembourg, which is commonly counted among the states with universal health care, people nevertheless fall through the cracks. Universal access to health services is also reflected in the coalition programme.

Five organisations – Médecins du Monde (MDM), the Luxembourg Red Cross, the Jugend- an Drogenhëllef (JDH), the Comité national de défense sociale (CNDS) and the Stëmm vun der Strooss – were entrusted with handling the Cuss dossiers as part of the pilot project. They received additional funding for social workers for this purpose. But this is apparently not or no longer enough.

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