Clubs and Organizations Rotarians learn of Netherlandsâ�?�? health care The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly luncheon meeting on Tuesday, April 22, at the Neuharth Center on the campus of USD. President David Hussey opened the meeting. Rotarian Dan Van Peursem provided the invocation. This was followed by a round of singing, announcements and the introduction of guests. Rotarian Greg Huckabee introduced Dr. Freek A. L. Lapr�?© as the featured speaker for the day. His subject was entitled â�?�?Health Care In the Netherlandsâ�?. He is also a member of the Rotary Club Woundrichem in the town of Woundrichem in the Netherlands. He began with a little background about the Netherlands. The country is seven times smaller than South Dakota but has a population of 16 million inhabitants. Amsterdam is the capital city. His Rotary club meets in the town hall of Woundrichem which is a walled city. Their club is a partner club with the Rotary club in Carnforth, United Kingdom. The Lowlands of the Netherlands is 8 meters below sea level. Their biggest exports are cheese and flowers. Dr. Lepr�?© stated that there are basically three ways that health care can be financed. One way is by direct taxation, which is used in Scandinavia, the UK, and Canada among others. Another is the Bismarck model by graduated premiums, which is used in most of Europe. A third option is private insurance, which is used primarily in the US. The Netherlands used a mix of the Bismarck model and private insurance. Insurance is mandated but supplemented by the government for lower income individuals. Spending per capita is about one-third of what we spend in this country and accounts for 9.1 percent of GDP as opposed to 15.2 percent in this country. He conceded that the health care in the US is of higher quality but is much more expensive. He stated that private insurance leads to higher quality but results in less access. They also believe that government involvement is necessary to prevent high health care costs. Their system insures that citizens have the right to health care. The passage of the AWBZ Act (special sickness act) specifies a 12 percent tax with a maximum of $6,000 per citizen. Their Assisted Living and Nursing Homes are more small scale and more homelike. There is more emphasis on helping people stay in their homes using home nursing and high tech monitoring. Only about 9 percent of their citizens over 75 years of age are in nursing homes. The average age of those in nursing homes is over 85. Their citizens also have a slightly higher life expectancy. Western Europe is shifting more to a market driven system with high government involvement. Dr. Lapr�?© said that the US may be ahead of them in the availability of high tech treatment, but they are far ahead of the US in terms of electronic patient record systems and home monitoring systems. Dr. Lapr�?© also presented a banner from his Rotary Club and received one from our club in exchange.