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Survey: Swiss split over health insurance vote

Caroline Bishop · 5 Sep 2014, 10:50

Published: 05 Sep 2014 10:50 GMT+02:00

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At the end of the month the Swiss will go to the polls to vote on whether a single national health insurance scheme should be created in place of the nearly 90 private health insurers currently operating in the country.

And according to a survey carried out by newspaper 20 Minutes which asked 17,726 people their opinion on the subject, the country is squarely divided.

While only 43 percent of those surveyed in German-speaking Switzerland agree with the idea of creating a single national health insurance organization, in French-speaking Romandie far more (66 percent) would vote in favour.

With the regional results combined, the survey revealed a stand-off: 49 percent would vote in favour and 49 percent against, with only two percent still undecided.

“This is often seen in socio-political votes,” political scientist Georg Lutz of Lausanne University told 20 Minutes.

“Those in Romandie have a tendency to vote in favour of a strong state system, while German-speaking Swiss are more liberal.”

The survey comes after leaked documents from the federal office of public health revealed that private health insurers are planning a sharp rise in premiums for 2015.

At the end of August Sunday newspaper Sonntags Blick published the list of figures showing that premiums will rise by 3.8 percent on average across the country, higher than the 2.2 percent average rise in 2014 and the 3.5 percent average rise over the past decade.

However in some areas – particularly in the French-speaking canton of Vaud – the rise could be as high as 14.1 percent.

Those in Neuchatel and the Jura could see a maximum rise of 13 percent, while Geneva and Fribourg may also see above average rises.  

Story continues below…

Steep increases are also predicted for German-speaking regions of the country.

Health minister Alain Berset had planned to release the figures the week before the September 28th referendum.

Health insurance in the country is compulsory for all residents of Switzerland, who can choose to be insured by one of more than 90 private companies.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Caroline Bishop (news@thelocal.ch)

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