Majority in favour of a Swiss public health insurance provider, study finds
Despite being rejected by Swiss citizens at the ballot box, a new poll from the Center for Health Economics at the University of Basel has suggested that the idea of a public health insurance provider in Switzerland is not dead in the water. The university found that while a majority of people are satisfied with their basic and supplemental coverage, the recent rise in premiums has made a public provider more attractive.
68 percent in favour of public health insurance in Switzerland
According to the study, reported by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) 68 percent of respondents said that they would be in favour of a single, public health insurer in Switzerland. This compares to 21 percent who said they were not in favour of replacing the private system. “It seems that those interviewed are no longer convinced that competition between the funds is beneficial,” the NZZ added.
Speaking to the newspaper, University of Basel professor Stefan Felder said that it’s “interesting to note that there are almost no differences between incomes” when it came to being in favour or against a public health insurer. With insurance premiums rising by 8,7 percent on average in 2024, people across the economic spectrum are now keener on the idea.
Unclear whether scrapping private insurance would be popular
It also reflects a change of attitude, given that the idea of abolishing private insurance providers was rejected by 61,8 percent of Swiss voters at a referendum in 2014. However, the study’s authors advised against thinking that a public health insurer would pass at a vote today - an August 2023 survey by Handelszeitung found that Swiss consumers rate their insurance providers highly, giving firms an average score of 7,9 out of 10.
There is also disagreement among respondents regarding how a public system would be funded. When asked whether they’d be in favour of the statement: "instead of premiums, a national health tax of 12 percent based on income will be introduced” to pay for insurance, 40 percent said yes and 40 percent said no. What’s more, only 28 percent are in favour of abolishing deductibles.