Government votes to spend 2 billion Swiss francs to cut health insurance costs
The Swiss National Council has approved a plan to invest 2,2 billion francs to try and reduce the cost of health insurance in Switzerland. With the price of insurance set to rise significantly this year, the government hopes the extra money will ease the financial burden on residents.
2,2 billion franc health insurance subsidy is a political compromise
The bill in question is a “counter-proposal” to a law proposed by the Social Democratic Party (SP), which called for health insurance costs to be capped at 10 percent of a person’s salary. After a lengthy debate, the compromised law passed the council by 119 votes to 66.
National councillor Pierre-Yves Maillard described the compromise as “a step in the right direction." Advocates for the counter-proposal were buoyed by the fact that the law had a wide range of political support, with even some in the SP voting for the compromise.
Plan designed to subsidise health insurance providers in Switzerland
As part of the plan, 2,2 billion Swiss francs will be given to Swiss cantons so that they can subsidise insurers that are caught out by the rising cost of healthcare. So-called "premium reductions" are already used by most cantons, but the policy is set to significantly boost the amount of money available for reductions and will also set out a minimum subsidy that cantons must pay to help their residents.
The subsidies will be given to suppliers of both basic and supplemental health insurance packages. The government hopes that the extra payments to insurers will allow them to put-off premium rises for a year. If the law passes, the government is set to spend 7,2 billion Swiss francs on trying to reduce premiums this year.
Others aren't convinced giving more money to insurers is the right idea
Others are not so convinced that the money will solve the issue, with National Councillor Regine Sauter noting that healthcare costs need to be reduced directly in order to tackle the problem in the long term. National Councillor Andreas Glarner called the reduction a “placebo,” saying that there were “hundreds” of other ways to tackle rising costs that don't involve such a high price.
The bill will now be passed to the Council of States for approval. However, Tages Anzeiger reported that if the proposal does not get enough support, a referendum is likely.