New therapy for the Swiss healthcare system

Generic drugs are sometimes twice as expensive in Switzerland as abroad (Image: Pexels / pixabay)

The president of Santésuisse, Martin Landolt, wants to fight the rise in premiums within the health care system. His attempt at therapy could bring improvement.

The new president of the health insurance association Santésuisse, Martin Landolt, has presented his ideas for transforming the Swiss healthcare system. ‘Many opportunities to curb cost growth remain untapped,’ he said in an interview with “SonntagsBlick.” Parliament, cantons and the Federal Council are doing far too little, he added.

Moreover, it is neither justifiable by differences in purchasing power nor by common sense if a generic drug costs twice as much in Switzerland as it does abroad, Landolt said. “Someone has to correct that,” the 54-year-old implored.

Blame the cantons

Another thorn in Landolt’s side is the density of doctors, “which is five times higher in Geneva, for example, than in the canton of Obwalden.” And if someone wanted to open a medical practice in Geneva tomorrow, there would still be a permit for it again, criticized the former party president of the BDP. “Leadership is not perceived there,” he further admonished.

But in addition to lower drug prices and thinning out the density of doctors in conurbations, the Santésuisse boss has even more measures in mind. For example – Switzerland could reduce costs with more flat rates, supplemented by individual service tariffs.

“Physician tariffs in particular are one of the cost drivers. The National Councilor (Mitte/GL) explained that the hospital sector shows that costs rise less thanks to flat rates.

New body planned

In addition, Landolt announced that his organization plans to establish a new national tariff organization this year, in which all tariff partners would participate. The Swiss healthcare system is dominated by individual interests, and the Santésuisse president, who will soon have been in office for 100 days, would also like to see “the cantons assume more responsibility on their own initiative.

With regard to doctors’ licenses and hospitals, the cantons already have the means to eliminate expensive inefficiencies, said the chairman of the Santésuisse Group. But it could mean the end of a government councilor’s career if a clinic were to be closed.

Just how difficult it is to close a hospital is illustrated by the case in the canton of Zurich, which was also reported on by

Specialized hospitals

Therefore, it would possibly help to create a legal basis at the national level that would give the cantonal governments some backing. “A national hospital law that would take federalism into account, but at the same time push for the bundling of services, would therefore be worth examining, Landolt further surmised.

“We would already be a step further if not every hospital offered everything,” the long-time board member of the Glarus health insurance company also told “SonntagsBlick.” More responsibility on the part of the cantons could certainly bring about something, because the cantons are often at the same time the licensers of hospitals, the operators and owners of the clinics, which conjures up huge conflicts of interest.

Different measures

However, the problem of rising costs in the health care system is not simply to be found in the influential lobby of the health insurance companies. It is not that powerful, he said. “Otherwise, they would have achieved much more, and premiums would be lower,” he said, criticizing their own lobby.

In addition, he said, the health insurers’ lobby is not measured with the same yardstick as, say, the lobbyists for doctors or hospitals.

“Those who have mandates in the health insurance or finance sector are criticized – those who have them in tourism or at an age-care home are considered unsuspicious,” the Santésuisse president indicated.


New therapy for the Swiss healthcare system

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