Finance Minister wants 'emergency-brake procedure' for healthcare costs

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Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl)Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl)

Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance thinks that there should be an emergency procedure in politics that will allow parliament to reassess unexpected additional costs above a certain amount, even if they are of a compulsory nature, he said in an interview with Financieele Dagblad, specifically referring to additional costs for nursing home care.

In the budget for next year, which Dijsselbloem presented to the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday, an additional amount of 435 million euros had to be set aside for nursing home care. During the next cabinet period, that amount will increase to 2.1 billion euros.

According to NOS, these extra costs are the result of new quality requirements for nursing home care, which the Health Care Institute drew up at the request of State Secretary Martin van Rijn of Public Health. These new requirements are legally binding, which puts the Tweede Kamer out of play.

Dijsselbloem told FD that he doesn't want to see any "crocodile tears" from the Tweede Kamer - the lower house of Dutch parliament - now that what they asked for happened. But he added that he was shocked by the height of the amount.

He believes that the law should be changed so that politicians have the option to reassess high costs with a mandatory nature. "What worries me is that we made a law that takes such a big decision out of politics' hands. You should have an emergency brake procedure above a certain amount, so that politics can weigh in again", he said to the newspaper. 

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