Opposition gears up to fight health insurance premium plans
The new coalition is not in office yet but opposition parties have already said they will torpedo the plan to make health insurance premiums income dependent.
On Tuesday evening Nos television reported people earning more than €70,000 a year will have to pay €482 per month in health insurance fees when the new cabinet’s system comes into force.
By contrast, people on welfare benefits will pay just €20, around the same as they currently pay, taking health insurance benefits into account.
The reports have generated a massive amount of comment on news websites and led the Telegraaf newspaper to publish an editorial stating the move is ‘theft’. Thousands of people have also complained directly to the VVD website.
Alexander Pechtold, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats (D66) called on prime minister Mark Rutte to ditch the idea. Speaking during a debate on the new coalition’s plans, Pechtold said the plan might as well be dropped because none of the big opposition parties support it.
CDA leader Sybrand Buma said the proposals are an ‘enormous blow to middle-income families.’
The right-wing VVD-Labour coalition does not have a majority in the upper house of parliament and will rely on other party support to push through legislation.
Rutte said several times the coalition will not drop the plan. ‘But we will listen carefully to what others say,’ he told MPs.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Diederik Samsom told reporters the Nos calculations are wrong. Double income households with combined earnings of over €75,000 will pay an extra €50 a month, he said. Nos had put the figure at €380.
A traditional family, in which father works and mother cares for the children, will only be worse off if the man earns more than €51,000, Samsom is quoted as saying by the Telegraaf.
Tax cuts will partially offset the increase in insurance premiums.
According to the Telegraaf, health insurance companies are also opposed to the plans. They say insurance companies will not longer be able to compete on price, which undermines one of the principles of the Dutch healthcare system.
In addition, they are unhappy that patients will only be allowed to use healthcare providers which have a contract with their insurance company.
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