Dutch Health Minister Critiques U.S. Health System

The New York Times interviews Ab Klink, the Dutch health minister, about the Dutch view of U.S. health care: "The health system in the United States may be twice as expensive as those in Europe, and the population may be less healthy, but at least Americans have access to many more choices of doctors and insurers. Right? No," [Klink says]. Klink was in Washington, D.C. for an annual meeting sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, which recently "released the results of a survey of doctors from 11 countries that reflected poorly on the United States."

"The Dutch are in the midst of a significant health overhaul to inject greater competition into the nation's insurance and hospital markets ... In the Netherlands, everyone chooses from a list of 10 or so insurers who offer a standardized health plan that can be enriched with other options. Those who cannot afford the premiums are given subsidies; premiums are based on the benefits offered, not on a person’s age, health status or sex" (Harris, 11/9).

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