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Crisis talks on health insurance continue, plan set to be ditched

Friday 09 November 2012

The new Dutch coalition is set to drop its controversial plan to make health insurance premiums income-related after an unprecedented backlash from supporters and party elders.

Prime minister Mark Rutte, ministers and senior coalition party officials held crisis talks on Thursday night as the row over the plan showed no sign of abating.

Although no-one would comment on leaving the talks, Nos television says its sources have indicated changes are on the way. There were ‘far-reaching’ talks about the ‘political reality,’ social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher said.

Income tax

The talks continued on Friday and most media outlets agree the insurance premium plan is set to be ditched or heavily amended. A number of options are doing the rounds but sources say nothing has yet been decided.

'We are still in talks,' health minister Edith Schippers told Nos television.

It became clear early on Thursday evening that the two ruling parties – the right-wing VVD and Labour party PvdA – wanted to find a solution to the dispute and that several options were on the table, Nos television says.

Disposable income

The plans to increase health insurance premiums in line with income would have led to around one in six households seeing their disposable income cut by over 5%. In particular the VVD was overwhelmed with protests and support for the party slumped in recent polls.

Opposition leaders also made it clear they would not vote in favour of the plan in the senate. The coalition does not have majority support in the upper house of parliament.
The lower house is due to debate the new government’s plans with ministers on Tuesday.

What would you do? Have your say using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

They should improve the quality of health service before even thinking about raising the insurance premiums.

By health nut | 9 November 2012 1:53 PM

They had better not ditch this crazy insurance premiums plan just to introduce an even crazier plan.

By Lotus28 | 9 November 2012 2:42 PM

What is the Real difficulty with a health plan on a graduated basis.
Is this because the wealthy receive a benefit? then all persons pay the same amount.Why should this be done?

By Michael Kadin | 9 November 2012 3:13 PM

Only in Holland could you end up with such a complete and utter shambles - hopefully this disgraceful coalition will not last until Sinterklaas . . .

By Peter | 9 November 2012 3:21 PM

Crisis talks on health insurance continue, plan set to be ditched. What crisis? The government intends to think about what too thick about is before it’s thought about thinking.

By Terence Hale | 9 November 2012 3:36 PM

What would I do, seriously? - tax the hell out of large corporate to compensate the health industry & others in need: especially AH,(Encourage small shops.) Shell oil, Unilever etc..No more junk food ads & re educate the moronic masses.

It is infuriating to read about companies that bitch because they made 10% less profit in the last quarter gaining only a mere 800M profit! (It's even worse to read about more people being laid off to MAXIMIZE PROFIT, - selfish?? :P

(Income tax in some other countries starts at around 12% for those on low wages, not 34%.)

By The angry visitor | 9 November 2012 4:13 PM

Personally, I'm very comfortable with the idea that health insurance premiums should be income-related.

Why on earth should they not be?

And if the implementation means that I lose 5% of my disposable income, then so be it.

By Geoff Coupe | 9 November 2012 5:04 PM

First provide quality service! Hospital are nice an equiped but in order to get quality check on one of those devices they first try all they can to avoid sending you for check up. The same is with medicines , I was given same cheap cream almost 3 years in a row. I got letter for dermatologist only when I firmly insisted calling out my rights. I pay 150 eur every month and they behave like I get it for free!!!

By Lux | 9 November 2012 6:31 PM

Michael - not sure what your point is.

I was serious about the quality of healthcare here - especially having experienced those of of a few other countries. Note also that health costs in NL are on the high side.

My second point is that imposing an unequal burden on the more affluent should not be the goal (which it now seems). The aim should be to first streamline health costs, and then divide the surplus/deficit equitably. It's honestly ridiculous to be charging someone close to €500pm for health insurance, regardless of their income.

Lets abolish this witch hunt.

By health nut | 10 November 2012 10:33 AM

So, the PvdA go belly-up as profit-driven insurance companies and the Randstad ‘middle incomers’ continue to squeeze low wage earners…

By Lewis | 10 November 2012 10:52 AM

No problem for Mr Rutte who may make a coalition with the 25.4% people who did not vote in the interest of clean politics “koste es, was es wolle“.

By Terence Hale | 10 November 2012 11:40 AM

Let's resolve shortfalls in high levels of government spending by focusing on higher tax rates for REALLY higher income levels -- including income from interest and dividends. Regarding healthcare, one basic care premium for all, please. Keep it simple. Healthcare solidarity (between the old and the young, the healthy and ill, the rich and the poor). Shared risk and evidence-based treatment to control healthcare costs. Government policy to determine the level of healthcare spending overall and level of healthcare premium subsidization for the poor. If you want to resolve a 16 billion Euro shortfall, raise taxes on wages and investment income not at the levels of €33,863 and €56,491. Fairer to pay more tax at 150.000, and 300.000 and 1.000.000+

By Concerned citizen | 10 November 2012 3:15 PM

@health nut: services and goods quality simply don't exist in the nl.

NL is about trade as they say: and trade to them means selling crap for price of gold. that is a good trade according to them.

they are mentally stuck in 17th century.

By dork | 11 November 2012 11:19 AM

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