Healthcare is most pressing financial problem, says minister

The rising cost of healthcare is the biggest challenge facing the Netherlands and the rest of the world, finance minister Jan Kees de Jager said on Thursday.

Speaking at the publication of the finance ministry’s annual report, De Jager said the debt crisis would be solved by cabinet cuts totalling €18bn. ‘My biggest concern is the continued growth in healthcare costs,’ the minister is quoted as saying in Trouw.
Over the past decade, the cost of healthcare has risen by 4% a year, while the economy has only grown 2%, he said. ‘That is unsustainable,’ he said. ‘At some point that single category will eat up the entire economy.’
The Netherlands spent €60bn on healthcare last year and the health ministry overspent its budget considerably.
De Jager said the solution does not lie in increasing premiums or cutting coverage. ‘In the long term you cannot avoid looking for solutions within healthcare itself,’ he said. ‘How we approach this is the biggest challenge that we have to deal with, for both the Netherlands and the rest of the world.’

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