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October 1, 2011 – updates from the Netherlands
Health care costs are increasing
The Minister of Health decided on severe budget cuts in general practice.
Primary care doctors respond with October 6 day of protest, an ‘Action Day’ ( a kind of a rally) in Amsterdam.
General practitioners will only emergency shifts (only one doctor on duty in a region (Wijk bij Duurstede for example)
General practitioners will travel to Amsterdam in busses for their protest
Prices of hospital services will be opened up for negotiations with insurers on prices (approximately 70% of all hospital services)
But this will be regulated with maximum of 3% increases or better zero increases (enforcement?????)
Health Insurers will be totally accountable for their benefits and costs (there will be no more government subsidies).
Negotiations expected to be very tough!! WITH WHOM
The content of the basic health insurance policy package that all are required to purchase will be reduced going forward – (what is removed?).
The number of the uninsured has remained the same despite all efforts to reduce it (what is it?)
Premiums will increase with about 4% in 2012. The chairman of DSW (an insurer) told the audience on tv this week that the DNB(Dutch National Bank?) had warned the insurers to increase reserves – suggesting that they had not done so sufficiently in the recent past. This is one of the reasons for the proposed 2012 increase.
Individuals who are handicapped have a personal health budget in the Netherlands (kind of a voucher to purchase health care) but these will be reduced or possibly completely eliminated.
Parliament is very critical about the way the former minister of Health managed Mexican Flu (called Swine Flu in the US). The current Minister, Minister Schippers, is being called to account for this.