Health minister Edith Schippers’ radical overhaul of her plans to save €1bn on healthcare met with stiff criticism in parliament on Wednesday night.
Schippers was forced to make the changes when her original plans met opposition in the upper house of parliament, where three Labour senators refused to vote for her intention to limit freedom of choice for patients with budget health insurance packages.
She now plans to allow health insurers to give a discount on the own risk part of the policy to patients on budget health insurance if they go to doctors and hospitals recommended by their health insurer.
She also plans to introduce more quality checks, particularly for mental healthcare services. Insurers currently have to pay around 75% of all healthcare bills but will not have to pay for services provided by healthcare companies which fail the checks.
However, during Wednesday night’s debate in the lower house of parliament a large number of MPs said they are still sceptical about the freedom of choice plans. Health insurers are already allowed to offer a discount on own risk but very seldom do so because it is difficult to administer, the Financieele Dagblad says on Thursday.
MPs are also critical of the minister’s threat to use a special measure whereby legislation can be introduced by bypassing parliament altogether. ChristenUnie party leader Arie Slob asked Schippers to ‘state categorically’ that she will not avoid new debates on the changes in both houses of parliament.
According to the minister, it is not her intention to bypass either house, the FD says.
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