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janv.042006

REGENERA - Health - The Hague: Care insurance Privatization [EN] (4/1/06)

Within the city of The Hague, people who have no health insurance, are relegated to a specific day-care centre, where they may be treated, if their problem is urgent. Thus, people with heart problems are advised to return to their country of origin, whereas prople with a heart attack may expect to be hospitalized.
Medical staff do not agree. They insist to remain responsible for decisions of this kind.
Non-medical staff of the centre said that they will nevertheless apply this unheard-of policy.
The Parnassia Centre (visited by the European REGENERA delegation on December 1st), was at first appointed as the centre for treatment of uninsured psychological patients, but claimed afterwards that it would not apply these draconian rules.
In the Dutch press, it is expected, that The Hague patients who cannot be treated in their city, will take refuge in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Big hospitals from these cities issued statements, that they will continue to help non-insured patients, applying rules which apply to patients with an insurance.
At this day, it is not known, which private insurance company(companies) incited the The Hague City Government to establish these harsh rules.
No comment from the Health Minister is yet available.
The privatization of health care in The Netherlands, which has started on the 1st of January, will result in an estimated 10% or 900.000 uninsured people. Among them are: unlegalized immigrants, poor working people, people on welfare, drug-addicts, homeless and psychically disturbed persons.
The new Dutch system can be compared to the Swiss one, introduced in 1998, where private insurance companies have since raised fees with approximately 20% a year. Lower fees are conceded to patients who agree to be helped exclusively by company-appointed physicians and hospitals, which receive a bonus for every percentage they manage to spare on help to their clients.

[Edited: 23/3/06, originally published on At Home in Europe, Jan. 4, 2006]

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