Developments in Health Care Cost Containment in the Netherlands

Published in: Health Care and Cost Containment in the European Union / Edited by Elias Mossialos and Julian Le Grand. (Aldershot ; Brookfield USA: Ashgate, 1999), p. 573-603

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1998

by Mirjam van het Loo, James P. Kahan, Kieke G. H. Okma

Part of a compartive volume on health care cost containment in the European Union, this article presents the status of the Netherlands as of the mid-1990s. The structure of the health care system, especially with regard to financing, is described, followed by information on actual health care spending. Current and proposed cost containment measures are broken down into different components of care (e.g., hospitalization, pharmaceutical use), and discussed in detail. Policy goals are compared with actual practice. The present health care policies of the Netherlands aim at controlling the growth of health care expenditure and increasing the efficiency and flexibility of care by encouraging innovations. The guiding principles of these policies are: (1) seeking a new equilibrium of collective and individual responsibilities, (2) moving towards a convergence of sickness funds and private insurers, (3) containing costs, and (4) passing on financial responsibilities from the government to insurers, providers and the insured.

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