Zurich to vote on reducing health insurance costs by 1.000 francs a year

Zurich to vote on reducing health insurance costs by 1.000 francs a year

While there may not be any federal referendums planned in Switzerland for the rest of the year, that doesn't mean people will be staying away from polling stations on November 27. Among other referendums in Switzerland, Canton Zurich will be voting on a plan to increase premium deductions on Swiss health insurance by up to 1.000 francs a year.

What is being voted on in Canton Zurich in November 2022?

Only one issue is being voted on in Zurich on November 27: the “Create justice - adjust health insurance premium reduction to reality”, or Justice Initiative for short, is a popular referendum in Zurich that would increase the deductions given by the government towards the cost of basic and supplemental health insurance. Currently, up to 1.200 Swiss francs a year are deducted from each resident's insurance premium before the bill is sent.

The initiative - proposed by elements of the Swiss People’s Party - would see health insurance costs in Zurich reduced by 1.000 francs a year per adult and 200 francs a year per child. In addition, any future increases in the deduction will be determined by price rises in insurance premiums, not the national inflation rate.

What are the arguments for and against the Justice Initiative in Zurich?

Supporters argue that people in Canton Zurich already pay some of the highest costs for healthcare in Switzerland. With prices set to rise significantly in 2023, they believe that the reform would help the most vulnerable in society, and guarantee low costs for future generations.

In response, those opposed to the motion say the policy would create a shortfall of 150 million francs a year, which will have to be filled by increases in Swiss taxes. In a statement on the state website, the Zurich Government Council says it fears the deduction increase will put a heavy strain on cantonal coffers and the finances of local councils (Gemeindes), many of which are already struggling to contain costs in other areas.

Zurich government launches counter-proposal to the vote on November 27

These objections are why both the Cantonal and Government Councils of Zurich are vehemently opposed to the referendum - even the Swiss People’s Party has not officially endorsed the plan. Instead, some members of the council have used the government’s right to launch a counter-proposal to the initiative, which will be voted on at the same time. 

This proposal would increase the deduction by just 300 Swiss francs per adult, while no increase is planned for children. The council argues that the idea would still cost the canton 45 million francs a year to implement and that the proposal is the moderate middle ground between the popular initiative and doing nothing.

Third vote on November 27 to be used to break the deadlock

At the vote on November 27, there is a chance that both proposals will be accepted, as both are presented separately as yes or no votes. Therefore, to break the deadlock, a third vote called Ballot C will be used to determine which idea is preferred, if both votes are accepted by Swiss citizens.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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