Internationally, the Netherlands has a relatively low percentage of smokers, according to figures from the OECD publication Health at a glance 2019 that Statistics Netherlands released on Thursday. The percentage of daily smokers in the Netherlands fell from 23 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2017, just under the 18 percent average in OECD countries.
Increase corporate income tax and the tax on the wealthy to pay for higher wages and a lower workloads in the public sector, left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks, SP and PvdA proposed in a counter-budget to the national budget the Rutte III government presented on Tuesday. "We show that you can make different choices with the same money", SP leader Lilian Marijnessen said to NOS.
At 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday the Rutte III government will present its budget for next year. But as every year, a number of the government's plans already leaked to the press. Here follows a summary of what we know so far, compiled by NOS and RTL Nieuws.
Thousands of Dutch households are struggling to keep up with healthcare costs and have ended up in serious financial problems as a result, RTL Nieuws reports based on its own research. Some people had to take desperate measures like selling their house, getting divorced or canceling holidays, according to the broadcaster.
The demand for help to quit smoking grew explosively in the Netherlands over the past six years. Last year around 40 thousand people asked health insurers VGZ, CZ and Menzis for anti-smoking courses or medication, 12 times more than the 3,200 Dutch who sought such help in 2012, AD reports.
The number of smokers who sought serious hep in quitting last year may still be higher - the three health insurers hold 57 percent of the market and therefore have no insight into all requests for help.
Victims of sexual violence in the Netherlands no longer have to pay healthcare deductibles when they incur medical costs. With this one year long experiment, the Dutch government wants to find out whether free care will lower the threshold for seeking help, NOS reports.
Victims can go to a Center for Sexual Violence to get help. These are usually connected to hospitals' emergency room. The Centers perform trace evidence investigation, but they also offer psychological help and tests for venereal diseases.
Working Dutch have less money left over this year than Minister Wouter Koolmees of Social Affairs and Employment reported on Budget Day, due to an error made in the purchasing power figures. The figures for next year are correct, the Minister wrote in a letter to parliament, RTL Z reports.
All workers saw their purchasing power decrease. Single parents with a modal income even saw their purchasing power decrease by 0.3 percent, instead of the 0.1 percent increase Koolmees reported in September.
People in the Netherlands can expect to pay more on their health insurance next year. The government is expecting an average annual health insurance premium of 1,432 euros for next year, 124 euros more expensive than this year, sources in The Hague confirmed to NOS.
The healthcare deductible will remain stable at 385 euros. Coalition parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie agreed during formation negotiations that this amount will stay frozen for the duration of the Rutte III government period.
The three left-wing opposition parties are presenting an alternative plan for the Rutte III government agreement on Tuesday. GroenLinks, SP and PvdA's government agreement includes six plans under the title "People over multinationals", NU.nl reports.
The parties' plans mainly have to do with taxes and climate.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are now really very almost done with their government agreement, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said to NOS on Friday afternoon. But he thinks the four parties will have to meet again on Monday.
There will be no meetings over the weekend. The ChristenUnie respects the Sunday rest. "And on Saturday I have other plans", Segers said to the broadcaster.
A majority in the Tweede Kamer voted on Tuesday for an emergency legislative proposal to freeze the amount of healthcare own-risk deductibles at 385 euros next year. The Eerste Kamer also voted in the bill later on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
Health insurer DSW is lowering its premiums and mandatory own-risk deductibles for next year, in a move that went against the expectation of politicians and the insurer itself.
In 2018 the DSW premium for a basic health insurance package will be 1,290 euros per year, or 107,50 euros per month, NU.nl reports. That is six euros less annually. Mandatory own-risk deductibles will decrease from 385 euros to 375 euros.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie decided not to increase healthcare own-risk deductibles next year, government formation mediator Gerrit Zalm announced in a letter sent at the insistence of the Tweede Kamer. To compensate for that, health insurance premiums will increase by an extra 10 euros per year, RTL Nieuws reports.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - the four parties currently negotiating forming a new Dutch government together - voted against permanently compensating the NIP-test for all pregnant women in the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday, NOS reports. Those four parties together make up a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament.
Rotterdam wants to offer all its residents a health insurance policy with a deductible of only 50 euros. The rest of the legally set healthcare deductible is already included in the slightly higher than normal monthly premium, but lowered thanks to a group discount from the insurer, the Volkskrant reports.
Left- and right wing parties clashed fiercely over the retirement age, healthcare deductibles and the Dutch identity in the televised debate between eight party leaders in the Carré in Amsterdam on Sunday. With only 9 days to go until the parliamentary election, party leaders are pressured to create some movement in the polls, which have been quiet over the past weeks.
Dutch voters have little confidence in the country's current healthcare system, which was implemented 11 years ago. 57 percent of voters want the government to take back control of healthcare instead of insurers, according to a study Ipsos did for Dutch newspaper Trouw.
Some 20 percent of Dutch GP's sometimes give free medicine to patients who can not afford the high cost of healthcare, according to a survey AD did among 300 doctors and nearly 400 pharmacists. This usually involves medicine that was leftover from another patient and was supposed to be destroyed.
The SGP is focuessed on security and family in its campaign for the elections in March next year. The Christian party wants 4 billion euros extra for Defense, and 1 thousand euros for first time parents, NOS reports
According to the SGP, the world is rapidly becoming more dangerous and a "strong" army is needed to protect against it. "Security comes with a price tag and we have to pay it. Otherwise the price may well be too high." The party wants 5 thousand more police officers and neighborhood officers in villages nad neighborhoods.
The PvdA wants to charge everyone 1 percent more tax and use that money to scrap own risk deductibles in healthcare, a spokesperson confirmed to NU.nl. This point will be in the labour party's campaign for next year's elections.
The costs to get rid of the own risk healthcare deductibles will cost 4.5 billion euros, according to calculations by the Central Planning Bureau. Previous calculations said 3.7 billion euros
The PvdA wants it to be possible for people to retire at the age of 65 if that is what they want. The party is calling for a flexible retirement age in its election program
Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health believes the own risk healthcare deductibles of at least 385 euros per year are "quite justifiable", she said in NRC on Monday. According to her, parties speaking out against the deductibles are "not giving a fair representation of the situation."