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Health care and electricity come under the spotlight

Switzerland's Competition Commission says that health care and the electricity market, which are both heavily state-regulated, are its main current concerns.

In its annual report published on Friday, the Commission, accuses market players in the health sector of trying to limit competition by making cartel-like agreements among themselves.

It feels there is no incentive for competition in a situation in which health care schemes have a contractual obligation with doctors and hospitals.

The Commission also makes the point that the cantons have little incentive to eliminate over-capacity in hospitals and reduce hospital charges.

It also says that at present, those health care schemes that have their costs under control are paying for the failures of others.

It recommends that in future, the health care schemes which provide services efficiently should be rewarded.

The report says that increasing competition pressure in the electricity branch might also result in market players making agreements among themselves.

It adds that the competition among the more than 1,000 electricity utilities in Switzerland will result in a process of concentration.

In its annual assessment of the Swiss economy last month, the International Monetary Fund said that more structural reforms were needed if Switzerland is to improve growth in the long term.

The head of the IMF delegation, Robert Corker, said progress had been made with the introduction of new anti-cartel legislation but the law "lacked teeth" and should be reinforced by allowing for tougher penalties for offenders.

The IMF urged speeding up of the liberalisation process in the electricity sector, arguing this would bring lower prices and more choice.

swissinfo with agencies


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