MP's want to lower healthcare deductible, Cabinet wants to freeze it
A large part of the Tweede Kamer, including coalition party D66, wants Minister Ernst Kuipers (Public Health) to change his plans for the mandatory deductible in healthcare. The lower house of the Dutch parliament is afraid that people will avoid healthcare for financial reasons and wants to prevent this. The Minister must reduce the deductible or regulate it differently.
The Cabinet wants to freeze the healthcare deductible from 2023 to 2025 at 385 euros per year. From 2025, the healthcare deductible must be payable in installments at all health insurers.
D66 wants this staggered payment to be implemented sooner, for example, by 2024, said Wieke Paulusma in a parliamentary debate. According to Kuipers, introducing the law so soon is unfeasible.
Opposition parties GroenLinks, PvdA, SP, PVV, DENK, and the Den Haan faction want to reduce the deductible.
SP MP Maarten Hijink does not think the deductible is a fair means of making people pay for healthcare. Minor adjustments as envisaged by the Cabinet - such as spreading the payments out - do not yield anything for the chronically ill. “Under the line, that 385 euros remain a fine for being sick.”
To combat healthcare avoidance, GroenLinks wants to look at the deductible, and the personal contribution patients have to pay for care treatments. Spreading the deductible payment will not be enough. “We have to go the extra mile,” said Corinne Ellemeet.
Personal contributions contribute to the affordability of care, said Kuipers. “We are taking measures to keep it affordable for everyone.” By freezing the deductible and a “smarter design,” the Cabinet wants to prevent people from not going to a doctor due to a lack of money.
Together with SP and DENK, GroenLinks wants to overhaul the healthcare system. The Cabinet is against a system reform. Kuipers believes that much can be improved by insisting more on collaboration between healthcare providers. Many parties are skeptical about this because care providers are also each other’s competitors.
Kuipers is more optimistic. “Despite competition, it is possible.” If it turns out that cooperation does not get off the ground or is insufficient, the Minister is prepared to discuss with the coalition whether the healthcare system should be adjusted “in whatever form.”
Reporting by ANP