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Dreifuss honoured for health insurance reform

The interior minister, Ruth Dreifuss, has accepted this year's Bertelsmann prize for her reform of the country's health insurance law. The prize was bestowed at a ceremony on Wednesday in the German town of Gütersloh.

The Bertelsmann Foundation praised the amended law as an example of how free-market elements can be incorporated into a public health system.

Switzerland shared the DM300,000 prize (SFr240,000) equally with the Netherlands, which was rewarded for its primary health care.

The interior ministry said Dreifuss accepted the prize on behalf of all those involved in the successful introduction of the new law in 1996.

Speaking before the ceremony, Dreifuss described the reform as “a big step forward”. She said the prize money would be used to initiate a dialogue with the Swiss people on further developing the health system.

The Bertelsmann Foundation, which was set up in 1977, awards its prize annually for innovative ideas in healthcare policy.

The new law increased the range of healthcare services covered by obligatory health insurance.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR