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Health Parliament rejects reform of health insurance scheme

Posed picture of a visit to the doctor's

A doctor's visit - patients have to cover a level of costs before the health insurance pays in Switzerland

(© Keystone / Christian Beutler)

Patients will not have to pay out extra money for health services before the health insurance covers the costs, after parliament surprisingly threw out the controversial proposal on Friday.

In a previous decision earlier this month, parliament had agreed to increase the deductible paid by patients to CHF350 ($350) annually under certain conditions. 

Supporters said the CHF50 hike would help reduce health costs and encourage patients to make less frequent use of medical products and services. Opponents, notably from the political left, had warned that the increase would cause hardship for the less well-off who could no longer afford to get treatment. 

However, the proposal fell down during the final vote in parliament on Friday, after the rightwing Swiss People’s Party changed its mind and voted against it. 

U-turn 

The party’s president Albert Rösti had already announcedexternal link the party’s intention in the media on Wednesday, saying that decision came after feedback from members and that it was not right that the “health insurance was redeveloped at the cost of the sick”. 

Political opponents have accused the party of a U-turn to win voters in election year. 

Switzerland has one of the most expensive health systems and rising costs have long been a major concern for consumers. 

Basic health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland. 

The leftwing Social Democratic Party and a consumer group had announced a plan to challenge the legal reform had it been accepted.

Two major political parties, the Social Democrats as well as the Christian Democrats, are currently collecting signatures for separate constitutional amendments to cap mandatory health insurance premiums.

healthcare costs Initiative launched to cap health insurance premiums

A people’s initiative wants health insurance premiums to not exceed 10% of income with the balance paid for by the state.

SRF/Keystone-SDA/swissinfo.ch/ilj

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