The New Euro-Realists: Swiss Reject Switch from Private to State Health InsurancePosted: September 28, 2014 | |
Geneva (AFP) – Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan for a seismic shift from the country’s all-private health insurance system to a state-run scheme.
Referendum results showed that almost 62 percent of voters had shot down a reform pushed by left-leaning parties which say the current private system is busting the budgets of ordinary residents.
“The Swiss population does not want a single national scheme.”
The results also underlined the national divisions over the hotly-contested issue as the country’s German-speaking regions voted against the plan, while their French-speaking counterparts were in favour.
“Our health system is among the top performers in the world. Competition between health insurers and freedom of choice for clients play a major role in this.”
— Swiss Insurance Association
Switzerland’s private insurance lobby hailed the vote.
Going public would have been a major shift for a country whose health system is often hailed abroad as a paragon of efficiency, but is a growing source of frustration at home because of soaring costs.
“Over the past 20 years in Switzerland, health costs have grown 80 percent and insurance premiums 125 percent,” ophthalmologist Michel Matter told AFP.
“This is not possible anymore. It has to change,” said Matter, who heads the Geneva Physicians Association, which backed calls to scrap the current system.
Campaigners for the state-held insurance scheme insist it is the only way to rein in rising premiums and guarantee efficiency and transparency.
The referendum came after reformers mustered more than the 100,000 signatures required to hold a popular vote, a regular feature of Swiss direct democracy.
The rejection of the plan by nearly two-thirds of voters is a major blow for pro-reform campaigners…(read more)
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