Session 1
Irish Medical Organisation

Scientific Session 1

Dr Henk van der Velden – Senior Health Policy Analyst FNV

Going Dutch – Perspectives on Health System Reform in the Netherlands

Dr Henk van der Velden – Senior Health Policy Analyst FNV explained the political context which brought about reform in the Dutch Health care system.

The changes in the Dutch health care system are twofold.

  • In 2006 the Health Insurance Act became operative which introduced a universal health insurance for curative health care.
  • Managed competition: a new deal in responsibilities between government, health insurers, health care providers and patients/insured. The central notion is that part of the responsibility for cost effectiveness, cost containment and quality of care are transferred from the government to competing insurers and health care providers. This liberalisation of health care requires further changes in legislation and is still hotly debated and very much work in progress.

Dr Wim Heres - General Practitioner, The Netherlands

Caring for Patients in an Evolving Market-Oriented System

‘You can always get what you need, but not always what you want’

Dr Wim Heres opened with these classic lines penned by the Rolling Stones, which he said perfectly encapsulates the Dutch Health Care system today.

After providing a brief overview of the historical background to the modern reforms, Dr Heres described the Basic Health Insurance Package that every citizen in the Netherlands is obliged to pay. There are currently more than twenty insurance companies operating in the Netherlands, however five companies have more than 80% of the market. Insurance companies, doctors and hospitals must all compete in the market in the Netherlands and should compete under antitrust-laws.

Ms Lisa Matassa - Journalist, the Netherlands

Patients or Consumers in a Mandatory Private Health Insurance Market

Lisa Matassa had her first encounter with the Dutch health care system which she moved to the Netherlands with her husband and young son. Ms Matassa went on to describe the efficient process in registering with the local council for health care services, and the range of care than was immediately delivered for her young son through the child development program.

After being a patient in both Ireland and the Netherlands, Ms Matassa went on to compare the basic Dutch package mandatory for the entire population with that of a private health package offered in Ireland. While cost was clearly different, the benefits included within the packages are vastly different, with the Netherlands providing extensive coverage options.

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