Ministers look at ‘quality institute’ to assess healthcare standards

stethoscope healthcare doctorMinisters are looking seriously at an alternative way of limiting healthcare provider choices, broadcaster Nos says on Thursday.

At the end of last year, the plan to limit freedom of choice for people with budget policies was halted by the senate because of concerns it would give too much power to health insurance companies.

If passed, they would only have been required to pay for treatment at institutions they have a contract with. Currently health insurers have to pick up 70% of the bill from healthcare providers without a contract.

Sources have told the broadcaster that the government is in talks about an alternative which would have the same effect – reducing payments to doctors and hospitals which are considered to be ‘less good’.

Ministers had said they would make some changes to the draft legislation and resubmit it. If the measure was again opposed, they would force through the change by bypassing parliament altogether.


However, many MPs from the two ruling parties now think the proposal is untenable, hence the hunt for another solution, Nos says.

The new plan would allow the independent ‘quality institute’ rather than health insurers to assess which doctors, specialists and hospitals offer good treatment at an affordable price.

The three Labour senators who voted against the initial plan were concerned too much power was being given to health insurance companies.

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