Government to maintain level of health allowance
6 March 2006, AMSTERDAM — Five million households in the Netherlands are in line for a financial boost due to the government's decision to maintain the current level of the zorgtoeslag (health insurance allowance).
6 March 2006
AMSTERDAM — Five million households in the Netherlands are in line for a financial boost due to the government's decision to maintain the current level of the zorgtoeslag (health insurance allowance).
The allowance should in theory be reduced as premiums for the new basic health insurance package are lower than anticipated.
The government plans to maintain the current level to support the purchasing power of households on low incomes, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Sunday. The move will cost the government EUR 300 million.
Balkenende announced the move on television programme 'Buitenhof' in the last weekend before the local elections on Tuesday.
Opinion polls indicate the opposition Labour Party (PvdA) is set to replace Balkenende's Christian Democrats (CDA) as the party with the largest number of local council seats.
The polls also indicate the PvdA would become the largest party in the 150-seat national parliament in The Hague if a general election was held now. The PvdA is tipped to win 50-plus seats. The general election is scheduled for next year.
PvdA leader Wouter Bos called on Balkenende's centre-right coalition cabinet on Saturday to implement measures to support the public's purchasing power.
He suggested the health insurance allowance be kept at its current level, the no-claims aspect be scrapped from the new health insurance system, and once-off EUR 50 compensation be paid to households for rising energy costs.
Not surprisingly, the PvdA indicated it was delighted Balkenende had taken up Labour's proposal "within 24 hours". But the green-left GroenLinks dismissed Balkenende’s action as an election stunt.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news + Dutch local election news