Chapter 15 Country report: the Netherlands
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The general objectives of healthcare policy in the Netherlands can be summarized as accessibility, affordability and quality improvements. Set against the background of these three objectives, the Netherlands’ system of healthcare[1] has undergone thorough-going reform over the past decade, in the areas of both long-term care and curative care. The aim of the Health Insurance Act was to introduce health insurance for all residents and it accords an important role to healthcare insurers. The insurers are responsible for ensuring efficiency and quality, rather than the government. Despite the reforms, affordability continues to require attention. We have seen an increase in waiting times which may indicate a capacity shortage, but also a lack of coordination across the sector and between the hospital sector and primary care services. As in many countries, the rising cost of (new) drugs is a problem.

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