Happy birthday

It is, of course, complete coincidence that the birthday of the most famous Dutch pensioner – queen Beatrix – cooincides with the publication of two influential reports with implications for the way Dutch pensioners are treated.

There’s Beatrix, brimming with health, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, still gamely trotting off on foreign trips and opening parliament.
And here’s the OECD saying the Dutch pension age should be raised to 65. Plus the healthcare council which says care of frail elderly people should be handed over to insurance companies.
As a fit, healthy 70-year-old with the best healthcare money can buy, Beatrix is living proof that the OECD is right.
But not everyone is so lucky. The health council has come up with a plan to make life better for vulnerable pensioners.
Get rid of the state-run AWBZ system for paying for nursing homes and let insurance companies take over it says. Prices will come down and patients will be happier, it adds.
The academics and doctors on the council board have great faith in insurance companies. Perhaps they have forgotten that the AWBZ was set up to take care of those who were considered uninsurable.
The government wants to cut spending on healthcare. Insurance companies want to make a profit. Someone is going to end up getting squeezed.

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