Doctors strike on patient free choice issue

General Practitioners will be on strike Wednesday afternoon in protest against the impending change in legislation that would see the free choice of doctor disappear from the Health Insurance Law, the Telegraaf reports. 

As well as the GPs, it is also possible that dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists and pharmacists will go on temporary strike.

The proposed change from the Cabinet affects article 13, which makes sure that healthcare insurers are obligated to pay a certain compensation to those insured who go to a care provider with whom the healthcare insurer does not have a contract. Under the amendment, this obligation will be scrapped.

If the bill goes through, healthcare insurers can be more selective about what kind of care they take on, which could provide a slower rise of healthcare premiums.

"If the amendment goes through, then I as GP can no longer refer my patients to everyone", a spokesperson from the Association of Practicing GPs (VPH) tells the Telegraaf. "This means, for example, that this patient with his sore knee can no longer go to the care institution where he received good help, but is forced to go to another institution."

A fear among GPs with this proposed legislation is that healthcare insurers are becoming too powerful. "If healthcare insurers think that there are too many physiotherapists or psychologists in a particular area, or think they are too expensive, then they can say: we are no longer contracting you", the VPH.

The main aim of this strike is to raise awareness among patients of the proposed legislation. Spokesperson Herman Suichees of the VPH says that "many people do not know what kind of insurance policy they have and what kind of care they get insured or not. If I was a patient myself, I wouldn't let myself be referred just anywhere."

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