Sunday 23 January 2022

Health care premiums: what the papers say

The new coalition’s plans to introduce income-dependent healthcare premiums dominates the front pages of Thursday’s papers.

The Telegraaf, which dubs Mark Rutte, ‘Marx’ Rutte, is foaming at the mouth.
In an editorial it writes: ‘This is a savage attack on ordinary, hard-working people. The ground is falling away from under them. (..) This is a bridge too far, a slap in the face of all hard-working Dutch citizens.’
NRC Next in its editorial applauds the coalition’s determination to tackle the high costs of health care, which it says is damaging the country’s competitive clout. However, the paper thinks the new coalition has staged a ‘coup’ as far as the premiums are concerned.
NRC Next is also worried about the effects a reduced premium will have on people on lower incomes and the insurers: an income-linked premium system would ‘take away the incentive for consumers, insurers and care institutions to work more efficiently.
Moreover, low premiums might give people on low incomes the impression that health care costs hardly anything at all. That would be false. ‘Cost control in health care is vital and must begin with the realisation that health care is a great good. And a very expensive one,’ the paper says.


The AD, in its analysis, forecasts a Sandy-like storm of protest for Mark Rutte, not only from the opposition benches but from his own party, the VVD. The paper quotes former VVD leader Hans Wiegel as saying this plan looks like ‘the nationalisation of a carefully structured care system that may now collapse.’
The Financieele Dagblad thinks Mark Rutte has given himself a major headache and it’s blaming Samsom.
‘Not only has Rutte let himself be railroaded by Labour’s compulsive income levelling mania, he is also risking the solidarity principle which underpins the care system,’ the paper writes. The biggest danger facing Rutte is the strength of public opinion.
The compensatory tax proposals are not really softening the blow, the FD writes, and ‘there’s only one thing for it for the VVD and that is: re-negotiate.’

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