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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English

Source: Canton of Neuchatel, Switzerland

24.01.2020 The Council of State adopted and decided to consult a draft report for the attention of the Grand Council in response to the initiative entitled “for dental insurance”. While sharing the ambition of the initiators to improve the consideration of oral health, he wishes to adapt the proposed model in order to prioritize the measures and ensure viable financing for public authorities and acceptable for citizen-not-s. Through an ambitious counter-project in its objectives but pragmatic and moderate in its implementation, the Council of State intends to register its action in a global public health policy. Introduced in 2015, the popular initiative aims to establish compulsory basic insurance in the Canton of Neuchâtel to cover expenses relating to the oral health of its entire population. By defending a laudable objective, this initiative has the merit of highlighting an important public health issue. An important public health issue Oral health is indeed an undeniable component of the state of health and well-being of individuals in general, while the inequalities that affect access to care in this area are real. Studies on this subject show that the earlier the actions in this area, the more the effects are positive and lasting. Thus, good oral health comes first through prevention and prophylaxis from an early age. In the eyes of the Council of State, the initiative as presented would however involve the deployment of resources which are not possible in the current socio-economic context, all the more so as the source of funding proposed by the initiators – a joint levy on wages – cannot be retained since it has no link with the labor market. In addition, the targeted care of populations particularly vulnerable in terms of oral health is proving to be much more profitable than the introduction of measures for the whole population. Therefore, instead of a general compulsory basic insurance, the Council of State offers an oral public health program which meets the concerns of initiators while being more pragmatic in terms of implementation. More targeted, it is also more suited to the financial contingencies of our canton. With the objective of guaranteeing framework conditions capable of promoting oral health for the whole population, this program will include promotion and prevention measures as well as prophylaxis and screening, with particular attention for vulnerable populations, in particular young and old. It is also planned to create a cantonal dentist-dentist function – which does not currently exist – in order to allow the steering of this program. Fee on sugary drinks: a small but directly related charge In order to finance this system, the Council of State is proposing the introduction of a fee on sugary drinks, designed on the same model as the tax on alcoholic drinks. After analysis, several other sources of funding were found to be politically inappropriate or legally impractical. This solution has the advantage of limiting as much as possible the burdens which weigh on the population of Neuchâtel and the public authorities by the levy of a modest tax – initially fixed at around 15 cents per liter and capped at a maximum of 20 cents per liter – on a product directly related to oral health, and which everyone can choose to reduce or avoid consumption. Collected annually from all companies selling sugary drinks in the cantonal territory, this fee will correspond to a percentage of the turnover generated by the sale of sugary drinks. This choice is the will of the Council of State, to facilitate as much as possible the introduction, management and keeping of the accounts for the businesses concerned. It also represents the advantage for the commercial police – who will ensure its implementation, taxation and collection – of being able to refer to an existing model whose operating mechanism is known and the tools already partially in place. Thus presented, the counter-project has the merit of responding to the public health issues raised by the initiators while taking into account the socio-economic realities of our canton as well as the unfavorable reception that have known, in other cantons, similar initiatives. Brought to develop over the years, the chosen model will lay the solid foundations of a real oral health policy that can have its long-term effects depending on the means and resources available. The government therefore recommends the withdrawal of the initiative and, failing this, proposes its rejection in favor of its proposals. Before its transmission to the Grand Council, the counter-project will be put in consultation until March 6 with interested circles.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure is not be perfect.

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