Monday, January 21, 2013

Age Discrimination in the Netherlands? Read on!

Dear GAA Friend,  Our long-time aging activist friend, Marya Pijl, describes how the Dutch government is taking actions that will hurt its older citizens. A decade ago, many of us looked to the Netherlands as a leader, encouraging citizen involvement in designing and instituting progressive aging policies. Here's what Marya has to say about the present situation:

I wish there were demonstrations here, but my guess is that most older people don’t have the slightest idea what is coming over them. They will only find out when it is too late. The government does not inform us until after the laws, introducing the changes, are passed and the unions of older people and patients only write polite policy papers and publish them on their website, and then think they are doing a great job.
My latest discovery has been that the national government actively practices age discrimination. The premium we still have to pay for the long-term care insurance (AWBZ) in 2013 has risen to 12.65% of one’s income up to the amount of € 33.363 for those who were born after 1945 and up to the amount of € 33.555 for those who were born before that date. The difference is not much, but the principle is entirely wrong. Now that this principle seems to be accepted, the difference in premium for the two age groups can, probably without much opposition, be further extended and it is easily imaginable that this will happen. It is uncertain what will happen to the premiums for the AWBZ after the insurance has been changed to become a provision for the poor, but it seems that the government has no concrete plans to abolish the premiums together with the insurance. Maybe it will just be turned into a tax measure.
I am really so upset about what our government (now with the Labour Party in it, imagine!!) is doing and I don’t know how this can be stopped."

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