Health minister threatens to quit over health bill debacle: report

Health Minister Edith Schippers during Prinsjesdag, 2014 (photo: Rijksoverheid/Bas Arps)Health Minister Edith Schippers during Prinsjesdag, 2014 (photo: Rijksoverheid/Bas Arps)

Health Minister Edith Schippers told the ruling coalition that if the PvdA cannot come up with a solution to pass her health care bill in the Senate that she would be forced to resign, sources told the Volkskrant. The embattled minister's bill strips the requirement that insurers pay at least 75 percent of the cost for visiting an out-of-network medical specialist.

It was defeated in a 38-33 vote that saw three PvdA Senators defect from the coalition at the last minute, sparking tension in the government and negotiations that went well into the middle of the night.

Minister Schippers denied issuing an ultimatum, reported AD. "We are confidently working on a solution," she said, adding that it made little sense to place a deadline on the talks.

The Senate, known as the Eerste Kamer, breaks for winter recess on Friday.

Critics of the bill say it reduces patient freedom to visit the doctor of their choice. Advocates of the measure believe it would reduce the cost of health insurance, and adequate information will be provided on which doctors and specialists are contracted by each health insurer.

An emergency meeting was held on Tuesday evening, adjourned in the early hours of the morning, resumed again on Wednesday, in an attempt to resolve the matter.

Prime Minster Mark Rutte, as well as Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem have reportedly stated that they are working hard at finding a neutral solution. The government will however still go into Christmas recess on Friday, with or without a conclusion on Minister Schippers' proposal.





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