Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 16:55
Budget uncertainty: cuts to elderly care won't generate €500m savings
With reporting by Zack Newmark. It is uncertain whether the government can achieve 500 million in savings through long-term care cutbacks for the elderly and chronically ill, the Dutch Court of Audit announced Wednesday. Further investigation is needed to determine whether reducing regional disparities in care provisions can result in lower costs. The study concludes that the Health Ministry did not provide substantial evidence to motivate its expectations about the optimization. It is the second time in a few weeks the Court of Audit criticized the cabinet over hasty policy implementation. The current coalition government, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, was optimistic the cuts could save the country a half-billion euros. Several parts of the country have struggled with implementing the cuts, which called for some reductions to in-home care, and more assistance from a patient's family and friends. Doctors have also signaled the alarm about the quality of care provided at home. The analysis shows that the use of care is mainly explained through age, income and household composition. These are variables that policy cannot influence easily, and the ultimate regional differences are more difficult to eliminate than expected, according to Court of Audit. Variables in the study only partly explain regional differences in health care. The extent to which studied variables explain the use of health care also varies by region.