Wednesday , February 28 2024

Cabinet threatens to bypass senate

Cabinet threatens to bypass senate if revised health reforms not backed
The ruling VVD and Labour parties have reached a compromise deal to amend controversial health insurance reforms which were rejected by Labour senators earlier this week. The new look bill will be debated again in both houses of parliament but if it is again rejected in the senate, ministers will use a procedural trick to bypass the senate and enact the bill anyway, website reports.
The deal was thrashed out on Thursday night and supporters say it removes objections by the three Labour senators.They don’t support ending freedom of choice in budget health policies and say the proposal gives too much power to insurance companies. According to the Financieele Dagblad, the revised bill guarantees the right to a second opinion, and says insurers must always pay for emergency care if they don’t have a contract with the hospital concerned.
However, the three opposition parties which have agreed to support the government – D66 and the two minor Christian parties – are against the use of a procedural trick to bypass the senate if that becomes necessary. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold described it as a ‘threat’.
Labour leader Diederik Samsom said the new proposal should be able to count on the support of Labour senators in the upper house of parliament. However, there are no guarantees in the Dutch democratic system and that should be respected, Samsom said.
Experience It has also emerged that Labour senator Adri Duivesteijn voted against the reforms because of his own experiences with choosing a doctor. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006, Duivesteijn was told five years ago nothing more could be done for him. He took his files and went looking for an alternative doctor. ‘I know how fantastic it is to find a specialist somewhere else who says “we’re going to fight for you”,’ he told the Volkskrant. ‘And that will be over if we get rid of freedom of choice.’ In addition, the measures contravene the Labour party’s own policies, Duivesteijn told the Volkskrant.

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