Hospital price liberalisation slowed

Health minister Ab Klink has put a brake on the liberalisation of hospital fees, to allow hospitals to sort out the administrative mess surrounding the process, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.

At the moment hospitals are free to set their own prices (within set limits) for 10% of treatments – mainly straightforward operations such as cataract removals or hip replacements.
This year the figure will increase to 20%, but the next step – to 50% – will be delayed until 2009, the minister says. Hospitals, health insurers and medical specialists want to be allowed to set their own prices for all but emergency care.
Last week it emerged that insurers had paid €1.5bn too much to hospitals over the past three years because of problems with the way the system is administered.

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