Unions urge subsidies to reduce income gap

Paul Rechsteiner (left) and Doris Bianchi, two senior union officials during a news conference last October Keystone

The Trade Union Federation has called for higher government subsidies to help pay the mandatory health insurance premiums of lower and middle income earners.

This content was published on January 6, 2015 - 10:41 and agencies

The federation’s chief economist, Daniel Lampart, says premiums have nearly doubled in the past two decades and account for up to 14% of the monthly income of Swiss households.

Insurance premiums should not exceed 10% of income, he said.

At a traditional New Year's press conference on Monday, Federation President Paul Rechsteiner warned that the gap between the rich and the less well-off has widened because salaries have only increased slightly and several cantons have stopped granting subsidies for health insurance premiums over the past few years.

However, a senior official of the Employers Association has dismissed the findings.

Over the past ten years voters overwhelmingly rejected two proposals to introduce income-related health insurance premiums.

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