In their Editorial, The Daily herald writes today, that the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament member Ronald van Raak has taken a position that – for a change – truly seems in the best interest of the islands (see related article). His Socialist Party (SP) in cooperation with the Saba Labour Party (SLP) is questioning the intended trimming of the health insurance package for the Caribbean Netherlands per January 1, 2015.
While measures to save US $1.5 million annually already were postponed for a year and the current plan is actually the result of a counterproposal from the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands), reportedly having insured patients pay for a number of physical therapist sessions just isn’t a very good idea.
One can argue that this is also the case in the European part of the Netherlands, but the circumstances are quite different. Partly due to the switch from the Antillean guilder to the American dollar that accompanied the constitutional reforms, many people in the three special overseas municipalities are struggling to make ends meet as it is. The obvious risk is that the persons in question no longer would seek the treatment they require, with all possible consequences for their condition. Not only that, but the latter could lead in reality to higher rather than lower medical cost, because there might be ensuing complications that demand even more expensive procedures later.
Certainly in this day and age when the worldwide focus is on prevention rather than cure, the move appears ill-advised at best. In addition, the fear that it might make this type of care less accessible due to a lack work for the professionals involved is not entirely unfounded. The government in The Hague needs to keep in mind that on an island the volume of demand determines the available provisions offered, based on the economies of scale.