Freedom to choose a doctor upheld by Dutch Senate

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A plan to strip the requirement that health insurers reimburse a large portion of medical bills from out-of-network specialists was struck down by the Senate by a five-vote margin. The proposal from Health Minister Edith Schippers (VVD) mustered 33 votes, with three members of her party’s coalition partner, PvdA, defecting with “no” votes.

The three PvdA senators, Adrie Duivesteijn, Guusje ter Horst and Marijke Linthorst are stepping down next year from their positions, NOS reported.

With 30 seats, the coalition government does not have a majority in the Senate, known locally as the Eerste Kamer. They recruited D66, ChristenUnie and SGP to make a majority, however rumors were persistent that three PvdA Senators would be difficult to line up.

The result means health insurers will still be required to pay out 75 percent of patient treatment by specialists not contracted with the patient’s insurer.

Proponents of the limitation believed it would help reduce the cost of some health insurance plans, saying that people are able to look up the doctors and hospitals contracted by health insurance firms.

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