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Health insurance: Swiss Socialists call for premiums to be capped at 10 percent of income

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Switzerland’s Socialist Party on the weekend launched a popular initiative calling for health insurance premiums to be capped at 10 percent of household income.
Swiss residents fund around a third of all the country’s healthcare costs though a compulsory insurance system but the cost of this obligatory insurance has shot up twice as fast as GDP and wages since 1996.

This has sparked intense political debate about how to bring down spiralling healthcare costs and ease the pain for households paying high premiums.

Now, with an eye on general elections in Switzerland next year, the Socialists have launched a popular initiative calling for health insurance contributions to total not more than 10 percent of household income.

Any household paying more than this 10-percent amount would receive subsidies to help them cover the costs – a scheme introduced in the canton of Vaud earlier this year.

The Socialists’ announcement came during a party congress over the weekend.

In a statement, party vice president Barbara Gysi said the initiative was necessary as cantons had, in recent years, slashed subsidies designed to assist people struggling to pay their health insurance.

Meanwhile, Socialist Party President Christian Levrat noted that premiums constituted a particular financial burden on families that earned just too a little too much to qualify for subsidies.

With its initiative, the party is also calling for health insurance subsidies to be standardized across all cantons.

The initiative would cost around 3.6 billion Swiss francs in extra costs, bringing the total cost of health insurance subsidies up to 7.5–8.3 billion francs.

The party will start collecting the 100,000 signatures necessary to trigger a referendum on the proposal in spring 2019.

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