Elections / Can a national health care system cure our current one?


EUR-lecturer Canoy: ‘The national health care system has downsides, and SP-leader Roemer should admit that’

A national health care system to cure the diseases of our current system – that’s what Socialist Party-leader Emile Roemer wants to implement if he gets to rule the country. No more personal contribution, get rid of the market principle that provides perverse incentives for overtreatment. But according to Marcel Canoy, lecturer at the Erasmus School of Acounting and Assurance, Roemer is not being completely honest to his voters.


Sure, a public health care system is possible, says Canoy. They also do it in the UK and in some Scandinavian countries. But if you choose that option, you have to be prepared to accept the downsides – and if voters agree, they can vote for you. But Roemer refuses to admit to those downsides.

If he would look at the UK, Canoy says, he would see that people have to wait up till 18 weeks for non-urgent treatment. And if he would compare the public health care system to other public systems in the social domain, such as the tax authority (Belastingdienst) and the personal budgets in health care (PGB), he would see that those systems are not all they’re cracked up to be. 

Not perfect

According to Canoy, the health care system in the Netherlands is based on solidarity: people pay low contributions, much is included in the most basic package and we spend a lot on elderly care.

That does not mean it’s perfect: Canoy agrees with Roemer that the market forces can provide a perverse incentive. ‘And that’s why insurance companies and the minister are removing that incentive by agreeing with hospitals that they will get paid even if they offer less treatments.’ Correcting the system, in other words, rather than abolishing it.

Curious about the rest of the debate? Watch it here (in Dutch)

Source: VPRO Buitenhof

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