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Not enough signatures Health insurance reform proposals flop

Initiative committee presenting their proposal to the media

An illustrious committee of politicians and health experts were optimistic when they launched their proposal more than 18 months ago.

(© Keystone/Anthony Anex)

Two people’s initiatives aimed at reforming Switzerland’s health insurance system have failed to gain public support, quashing any hopes of a nationwide vote.

The Federal Chancellery said the promoters of the proposals, launched in 2017, did not hand in the necessary minimum of 100,000 signatures within 18 months to force a public ballot.

Sponsored mainly by left-wing politicians and health professionals, the initiatives sought to ban parliamentarians from sitting on boards of health insurers and to allow the 26 cantonal authorities to set insurance premiums instead of the interior ministry.

Rising healthcare costs, notably premiums for the mandatory health insurance coverage have been a major public concern in Switzerland for many years.

Numerous efforts by the government, parliament, political parties and pressure groups have made limited progress in reining in health spending.

History of initiatives

So far this year, four initiatives on a broad range of issues have received enough signatures to force a nationwide vote at a later stage.

Seven other initiatives, including a proposal to cap the cost of health insurance premiums, were launched over the past three months, according to the Federal Chancelleryexternal link.

Overall, 470 initiatives have been launched since 1893 but only 216 of them have been voted on.

Direct democracy What’s a people’s or citizens’ initiative?

Swiss citizens can either propose legislation of their own, or work to defeat legislation already approved by parliament.

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