Sunday votes provoking little excitement inside the country
BERN, SWITZERLAND – The federal government’s plan to make “managed care” part of the health insurance system is up for approval by the population in the form of a vote Sunday 17 June, along with two other issues which are creating more headlines outside Switzerland than in.
The Swiss will vote in federal elections this weekend on two popular initiatives, which each required 100,000 signatures to make it onto the ballot, and a change to the federal health insurance law. A number of cantons are also holding votes Sunday.
The referendum on managed care underscores concerns in the medical and health care industries that patients will no longer be able to freely choose their doctors and other care providers. The government and both houses of parliament are firmly backing the change to the law.
Not about referendums but about treaties
Headlines outside Switzerland this week, notably in a number of US newspapers, have emphasized that the Swiss are voting in a referendum on whether or not to have more referendums. The item on the ballot is, however, limited to referendums on foreign policy, and more precisely to a set group of treaties. The right-wing UDC People’s Party is behind the ballot item, which doesn’t have support from any other political parties or the government, which is advising the population to vote against it.
A referendum is currently obligatory in Switzerland for any treaty with a supra-national body and referendums for treaties that require legal changes in Switzerland are optional if 50,000 voters or 8 cantons request it.
The vote this weekend would make a referendum obligatory for all treaties.
The Swiss vote, at the federal level, on far more referendums than any other nation and in this case the government argues that more are unnecessary.
Easier home ownership by middle class could hurt less privileged, says Left
A third item on the federal ballot would provide tax breaks to middle income couples who are trying to save money to buy a home. The initiative is opposed by the left as unfair to those without the means to save downpayments.