Healthcare cuts dispute is holding up government spending talks

A dispute over spending cuts and higher fees for healthcare is holding up agreement on a package of measures to cut government budgets by €9bn next year, Trouw reports on Friday.

The paper says Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration PVV, is digging in his heels about a possible increase in healthcare fees and cuts in spending on residential care. It bases its claims on sources close to the negotiations.
The paper says agreement seems to have been reached on scrapping mortgage tax relief for all but annuity mortgages.
Unemployment benefit
However, the three parties involved in the talks have not yet agreed about cuts in unemployment benefit (ww), which is likely to be reduced from a maximum three years to one year. Spending on public broadcasting is also set to be reduced by a further €200m, Trouw says.
In terms of healthcare, the minority cabinet of VVD Liberals and Christian Democrats wants to bring forward cuts in spending on residential care and nursing homes which were planned for 2015.
In addition, they want to reduce the basic healthcare package and increase the own-risk element in health insurance. Wilders is opposed to these measures, Trouw says.
The paper says Wilders has also demanded assurances that CDA parliamentarians will support the cuts. This is because there is a small possibility that the party may call a special congress to discuss the final package of measures when the negotiations are complete, Trouw said.

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