Bitter pills

The main reason for the unbelievably complicated and bureaucratic way of paying for healthcare in Holland is an obsession with solidarity between the sick and the healthy. And an insistence that everyone should basically pay the same.


In other words: if I’m rich and have cigarette-induced lung cancer, I should pay the same for my healthcare as a fit pensioner who on a minimum income. Charged with organising this chaos, are private health insurance companies who, of course, ultimately want to make profits.
Health insurance policies all cost about the same and the companies offer similar packages. After all, the government has dictated what items insurers have to cover and approximate costs.
But how much time and money is wasted on endless calculations and letters telling you that your no-claim bonus now stands at €237.84 or that you owe €4.70 as your contribution towards your visit to a physiotherapist? Health insurance is already a theme in the election campaign but once again, the political discussion is all about juggling costs and book-keeping tricks. If politicians believe that the government is ultimately in charge of healthcare, they can start by saying the more you earn, the more you pay. Forget health insurance. Let’s introduce a health tax.