Healthcare System in the Netherlands Term Paper

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Healthcare System in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a unique concept of 'family physician' known as 'Huisarts' who the primary Doctor responsible for coordinating physical and mental care of patients in his neighborhood. January 2006 saw the launching of a new healthcare system which requires citizens to avail a basic health insurance package. It covers medical treatment alongwith services delivered by General Practitioners, hospitals, specialists, indoor admission, dental care and different medical appliances. The healthcare system in the country comprises of three divisions for health insurance, managed by three different establishments. They are the national health insurance for special medical expenditures; mandatory sickness funds meant for people having low incomes less than a specific stage and private, primarily voluntary health insurance; and finally the voluntary health insurance which functions as a supplement. Financing Healthcare system has in the past come from several public and private sources. From 1988 onwards, prior to manage competition reform proposals, mandatory health insurance premiums accounted for roughly 60%, usual taxation for 14%, voluntary health insurance premiums for 16%, and user charges for patients for roughly 11% of the total health expenditures.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Healthcare System in the Netherlands Assignment

Important differences exist between the U.S. And Dutch healthcare system as regards reimbursement scheme is concerned. In U.S., the capitated reimbursement includes not just the consultants but the expenditures for some of the normal diagnostic examinations too and also regular preventive interventions like immunizations. In the U.S., the managed care settings depend extensively on the market-driven aspects of competition and deregulation whereas in case of the Netherlands, the balance for reimbursement of service even considers the doctor's practice demographics, income criteria, and overhead costs. The important lesson for U.S. from the Dutch experience is that all properly managed health systems ensure that every inhabitant get access to reasonable health coverage for a structured set of benefits which implies universal coverage. Besides, provision of affordable healthcare to its citizen which is the hallmark of Netherlands is a positive cue which the U.S. might consider adopting since it tops the entire nation on healthcare spending as its percentage of GDP.

Introduction

The Netherlands, although a small nation with not so large population, has a robust economic structure. It boasts of a GDP which is the 14th highest in the world. Soaring economic growth, for instance, has equaled with a considerable rise in the number of job holders. This is regarded to be the success of the Dutch 'poldermodel' indicating the economic order featured by an increased intensity of cooperation and unanimity among the administration, employers and union. The government, since 1993 has slashed public spending as a constituent of GDP from 60% to 50%. The nation has a very low rate of unemployment which stands at a mere 5%. In the Netherlands, attention to the socioeconomic inequalities on the health front has shot up extremely over a comparatively short time frame. Two national research programs on the issue of socio-economic inequalities in health, the first centering on elucidation and the second one on involvement, demonstrate the actuality the decision makers and researchers at the helm of affairs have rendered a systematic endeavor to cope with this matter. On the aspect of health, the nation has a far-reaching social welfare system. About 10% of the working population looks forward to the social security benefits due to long-term sickness. Netherlands has a system wherein a person is entitled for a long-term disability benefit if he is unable to attend to his job following a waiting period of one year. The quantum of benefit is approximately 80% of the employee's last salary. Added to the provision of benefits, a particular poverty policy is implemented in the Netherlands, mainly at the municipal level. A striking feature of the healthcare system which is hard to find parallel anywhere is the coverage of 100% of the population under insurance for healthcare costs. Citizens earning an income lower than a benchmark level comprising 60% of the population are insured as a mandatory measure with the Health Insurance Fund. (Mackenbach; Bakker, 2002)

Major health conditions facing the country:

The major health indicators in the Netherlands are as follows (i) Life expectancy: In Netherlands, women outlive men with women life expectancy being 81.1 years compared to 76 years for men. With increased lifespan, older people are able to respond with changes in lifestyle which is able to raise healthy years of life. (ii) Infant mortality: Infant and neonatal mortality rates are a little higher in Netherlands compared to average of European a nations. (iii) Primary death causes: 81% of all death is due to non-communicable diseases. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) take the lives of 34% of people, cancer 29% and death due to external reasons account for nearly 4%. (iv) Obesity: 47% men and 36% women have excess weight while 9% of men and 10% of women are obese. (v) HIV / AIDS: During 2002, majority of the fresh cases of HIV infections in the nation were acquired through homosexual and bisexual contacts among men. (World Health Organization, 2006)

The people of Netherlands possess a very high quality of health, both according to their independent subjective standards and also by objective data on important health indicators. This encouraging figure for Netherlands is because of higher living standard, proper nutrition, excellent sanitary and housing conditions and the facility of safe drinking water for the bulk of the population since the starting decades of the century. Since the past five decades, Netherlands had topnotch healthcare services. Because of this, ailments and loss of life are to a great extent impacted by causes associated with a wealthy society i.e. over consumption and degenerative disorders. Coming to the Dutch healthcare system, it has been described as a 'patchwork quilt' as it is devoid of any master plan at its foundation. Instead, it is a complex system which has developed from a regular adding and altering of institutions, rules and responsibilities. This procedure of evolution has been the ideal history of Dutch pluralism. Nevertheless, the system which has surfaced over the years is one in which a high quality healthcare is delivered with practical efficiency, and is equitably distributed over the population. (Banta, 2004)

Netherlands has formed a system in which every citizen is entitled to proper healthcare. From the year 1983, the Constitution contains an article wherein central authorities are duty bound to assume steps for the promotion of healthcare. The administration is given the task of guaranteeing that the entire population of Netherlands receives quality care at a cost which is affordable and delivered through a system that functions across the nation. But this system has not been converted into a "National Health Care System" like the British Healthcare system. Healthcare delivered to the public, control of contagious diseases, environmental safeguards and the control and recognition of the healthcare professions have conventionally assumed a branch of operations of the union government. When the actual provision of care is taken into account, the authorities have concentrated on building supportive conditions wherein the private sector would diversify into the disciplines of hospital care, nursing care as also social services. Hence, it is seen that in the Netherlands the health care system is one where there is a coexistence of public and private endeavor under the broad canopy of the central govt. (Banta, 2004)

The healthcare system in the Netherlands is centered on the family physician known as "huisarts." Every citizen has to be registered with a family doctor who is the vital person responsible for coordinating physical and mental care. Prior to consulting a specialist doctor, it is imperative that a person gets referred from his family doctor and also for the medicines needed for prescription. In case of emergency, one can always dial up the number '112' for immediate assistance. The "huisarts" corresponds to the General Practitioner or a Family Doctor. The doctor has a list of patients residing in the neighborhood of his practice and there are restrictions regarding the area he is supposed to serve as per law. The reason behind such a system is facilitating the doctor to attend emergency conditions within the shortest possible time. It is important for people who choose to settle in the Netherlands to immediately register with a "huisart" at the earliest. (Noordwijk, 2004)

The Netherlands do not pose any special health risk to the people visiting the country, thanks to the excellent health conditions prevailing there. There is no need to take any special inoculations. Any essential vaccination can be obtained at the local level. The medical care in the Netherlands is of high standards and can be comparable to those found across Western Europe. There are Diagnostic labs and experts in every discipline of medicine. The hospitals have all the infrastructure and a lot of clinics are there. One is required to register with a General Practitioner - huisart prior to attempting to get medical treatment of non-emergency nature from a Specialist. In the Netherlands, the medical care system is founded on the referral system which mandates that patients visit… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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