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.
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.
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.
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