Care tasks to go to municipalities

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The Cabinet has approved the health care reform plan that will see a lot more care tasks be transfered over to the municipalities instead of the government per 1 January 2015. A majority of the House of Representatives voted for the plan that incorporates items such as daily expenditures and supervision for the elderly and those with disabilities who live at home, becoming the responsibility of the municipality.  The reform goes hand in hand with cuts to, for example, household help, which is already under municipal responsibility. Governing parties VVD and PvdA, and opposition parties D66, ChristenUnie, SGP and the Groep Bontes/Van Klaveren and the one-man's fraction Van Vliet agreed with the bill that makes these changes possibly. Parties who thought that it's going too fast and who voted against are the SP, CDA, PVV, GroenLinks, Party for Animals and 50PLUS. The Cabinet ensured support from friendly opposition parties the D66, ChristenUnie and SGP by softening cuts of over €3 billion on long-term care. In 2015, there will be €360 million more available for this than there was before. Long-term care has been on the table to address wishes of the elderly who want to stay living at home longer, and to curb the rising costs of that type of care. Martin van Rijn, the state secretary responsible for Public Health, earlier said that worries about long-term care did not arise because it is so badly organized at this moment. "Just the opposite, I'm proud of it. But to maintain the quality of care in the future, something has to happen." According to the president of the trade union Abvakabo FNV, Corrie van Brenk, these massive cuts are asking for trouble. The union maintains that there are 100,000 jobs at state with the Cabinet plans. "Care homes are closing en masse. The Cabinet says that people should live at home longer. But how can that be, if the care at home isn't in order? We will keep resisting against these plans." Other health care items that will be transfered to the hands of the municipality are district nursing, for example. The long-term Care Law (Wlz), which will replace the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ), will further only place those who are really no longer able to live at home in care institutions. This last law has been sent to Parliament.

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