I saw you on Pauw last night and I read some interviews and articles about your unbelievable situation with the Dutch health insurance companies.
What they have done with you is not new. The insurance companies, the powerful pharmaceutical companies, the government and many doctors and so called “specialists” will do all that they can do to control their mafia like monopoly that they have had for so many years.
I believe that what you say is true. If you wouldn’t have been able to pay for your treatment in Germany, you would probably be dead now. The same goes for me. But there is hope for you and millions of other people in Holland who are sick in some way or another but can’t get the medical treatment that may work somewhere else because of idiotic rules and guidelines that they have invented themselves to protect the gold mine.
In 1998, I was desperately addicted to heroin, cocaine and alcohol. I had been through the treatment programs that the Dutch system had to offer, mainly the Jellinek and the methadone treatment programs from the GGD and my addictions were only getting worse. I knew that I was dying and I went, once again, to the GGD. The doctors there told me that I was a hopeless case and that the only solution for me was the free heroin program that the government was starting up at that time. They literally said to me that I was a hopeless case and that there was no more treatment options for me in Holland.
In my hopelessness, I gave up and began using drugs like I was on a suicide mission and this tactic did indeed nearly kill me. I had a massive overdose and a heart attack on July 28, 1998 and it scared the hell out of me. I decided to do everything that I could to survive and I also decided that my experience was going to benefit others. I chose to live.
I contacted a clinic in Scotland called Castle Craig. The owner, Peter McCann had been wanting to get patients from the Dutch market for many years and I knew this. I also knew treatment in Scotland in those days costed 30,000 pounds and I didn’t have the money. I told Peter that if he helped me get drug and alcohol free, I would help him open the door for Dutch patients to come to his clinic for the future. Peter McCann loved the idea and he waived my treatment costs.
Between 1998 and 2002, Together with Peter McCann, I fought like a Pitbull on the Dutch side while he fought from Scotland with his constant flow of letters and faxes to anyone in politics who could influence a decision. Els Borst, the minister of health at that time was fully involved in my case and she wrote to Laurens Brinkorst that if she approved a medical treatment invoice from Scotland for me, it would bring the entire Dutch healthcare system in danger. It was then, as it is now, about the system and not the patient.
To make a long story short, we won the case and since 2002, thousands of Dutch patients have been able to get addiction treatment in foreign countries. I spent hundreds of hours in courts fighting the established system because I was on a mission. I gathered a lot of junkies together that wanted treatment outside of Holland and I assisted them in the process to go to Scotland because the addiction treatment in Amsterdam didn’t work for them because it was based on “harm reduction’. In other words, use drugs to treat drug addiction. Insane.
I did interviews using my own story for “the cause” and now there are clinics in Holland, even the Jellinek, that are using the treatment model that up until me, wasn’t available here. And Castle Craig has up to 90 patients from Holland at all times. And I have been drug and alcohol free, besides some dangerous medicines that were given to me by a psychiatrist in prison to keep me under control, for 18 years. And I can tell you this Joop, I would be dead now for sure and thousands of others wouldn’t have been helped with addiction treatment wouldn’t have been able to get this treatment if I had not fought for it.
After I helped get Castle Craig admitted to the Dutch healthcare system, I did the same with another UK provider, The Priory group.
This was a press release we did in 2005 about it.
“Een ex-verslaafde vecht voor toelating van 15 nieuwe klinieken voor verslavingen tot het Nederlandse gezondheidsstelsel. En hij is aan het winnen!!!
Een ex-verslaafde in Amsterdam heeft het opgenomen tegen het Nederlandse gezondheidsstelsel om Nederlandse patiënten toegang te verlenen tot 15 nieuwe klinieken voor verslavingsproblemen en eetstoornissen. Keith Bakker, een voormalig cocaïne en heroïne verslaafde die ooit op straat leefde, runt nu een succesvol bedrijf dat televisie programma’s ontwikkelt. Hem is zelf ooit verteld door de Nederlandse verslavingsartsen dat hij een hopeloos geval was, en dat clean worden er voor hem niet in zat. Smith and Jones addiction consultants.nl, uit Amsterdam, heeft al honderden Nederlandse verslaafden en alcoholisten naar klinieken in Engeland gestuurd.
De heer Bakker werkt samen met de Engelse Priory Groep om de 15 klinieken uit deze groep toegelaten te krijgen tot de AWBZ. Wanneer de CVZ erkenning heeft plaats gevonden, is het mogelijk voor de Priory om Nederlandse verslaafden te behandelen volgens de nieuwe EU regelgeving voor de gezondheidszorg. Keith Bakker: “We hebben inmiddels de meeste hindernissen overwonnen en met de erkenning van de CVZ dat de Priory ziekenhuizen aan dezelfde vereisten voldoen als de Nederlandse voorzieningen zijn er geen wettelijke gronden meer om hiervoor geen vergoeding te krijgen van de verzekeraars”.
De CVZ lijkt niet op haar gemak wat betreft de inspanningen van de heer Bakker. Het argument om de aanvraag nu niet in behandeling te nemen is dat er de komende jaren veranderingen plaats zullen vinden in de Nederlandse gezondheidszorg wat betreft zorgverlening in het buitenland. De heer Bakker: “We dienen de aanvraag in voor de CVZ erkenning op basis van de bestaande wetgeving. De CVZ moet hiernaar handelen. Als ik op de snelweg geflitst word omdat ik te hard rijd, kan ik dan in een brief zeggen dat de wetgeving de komende jaren mogelijk gaat veranderen en dat ik daarom niet betaal? Ik dacht het niet. De CVZ moet ook volgens de wet handelen. Net als ik”.
And, I won this one too.
I am incredibly proud of what I indirectly did for so many people by doing this job.
Now, here is how your story fits in to this. It is my opinion, and let’s be clear here, it is opinion, that you are fighting the battle on the wrong battlefield. You will never, ever win against a system. You are not fighting the insurance companies. You are fighting a system. And because of this, you must change the battle plans.
You have a huge weapon that you, it seems to me, have not used yet. The weapon is European law. Because you went to another EU country, you have rights that we never had before. The way you can win this case and open the door for many others to get the help they need for Cancer that they cannot get in Holland is Article 86 of the EC treaty. Here it is.
Article 86 of the EC Treaty
- In the case of public undertakings and undertakings to which Member States grant special or exclusive rights, Member States shall neither enact nor maintain in force any measure contrary to the rules contained in this Treaty, in particular to those rules provided for in Article 12 and Articles 81 to 89.
- Undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest or having the character of a revenue-producing monopoly shall be subject to the rules contained in this Treaty, in particular to the rules on competition, insofar as the application of such rules does not obstruct the performance, in law or in fact, of the particular tasks assigned to them. The development of trade must not be affected to such an extent as would be contrary to the interests of the Community.
- The Commission shall ensure the application of the provisions of this Article and shall, where necessary, address appropriate directives or decisions to Member States.
What this means for us simple people is that the issue here is the monopoly position of the healthcare SYSTEM and not the merits of a particular treatment. Since you were treated in Germany, you can fight your case using European law. Article 86 is about free trade between EU member states. And free trade includes medical services.
If a healthcare provider in Germany is providing a service that is not available in Holland, you have every right to demand this be paid by the insurance companies in Holland. It all started with a case called “Kohl and Dekker” many years ago.
Here is a good link that explains this all in Dutch (sorry to English readers).
Here is my humble advice. Suggest to your treatment provider in Germany that they get a good lawyer that is experienced with EU law. Have him send an invoice directly to the Dutch insurance company for your services. This will of course be immediately denied. Your German treatment provide can use your case as a basis for a ruling in the European court based on article 86. The issue is that the Dutch cancer treatment providers have a monopoly position for treating Dutch patients and the last thing that they want to do is let their money go somewhere else, in this case, Germany.
You then find a patient in Holland that wants the same treatment that you wanted in Germany. Get as many people as you can get that have cancer and want treatment in Germany and go to a good lawyer. I would suggest Marcel Boyer in Amsterdam or Martin de Witte at SAP advocaten in Amersfoort. Get all of those patients together and have them all request from their insurance companies that they get approval to go to Germany to get treatment. They must do this in advance.
Then when you have a group of people that have been denied by the insurance companies, do a “kort geding” against the insurers to try and force them to pay because it is a life threatening situation. Your group will probably lose this too. But with an, “afwijzing” (denial) for the treatment in the Dutch court, you have the basis for a European case. And you can win based on article 86 . This is an explanation in Dutch of what that is that I borrowed without permission from this website.
Vrij verkeer van diensten – Hoofdinhoud
Iedere EU-burger mag werken waar hij of zij wil. Dat is de kern van het vrij verkeer van diensten dat in de hele Europese Unie van kracht is. Het vrij verkeer van diensten vindt zijn oorsprong in het eerste EU-verdrag uit 1957, het Verdrag van Rome. Sindsdien is het met opeenvolgende verdragen verder uitgebreid. In de Dienstenrichtlijn is opgenomen dat iedere EU-burger overal mag werken, maar voor nieuwe lidstaten gelden restricties.
In het Verdrag betreffende de werking van de Europese Unie is vastgelegd dat dienstverlener en klant uit verschillende landen afkomstig mogen zijn. Met andere woorden: een dienstverlener mag vanuit de ene lidstaat naar de andere reizen om daar te werken. Uiteindelijk kan de dienstverlener zich in een andere lidstaat vestigen, maar dit is voor het vrij verkeer van diensten niet noodzakelijk.
Volgens het Europees Hof van Justitie zijn dienstverleners gelijk aan burgers van de lidstaat waarin zij werken. Dat betekent dat zij op alle manieren op de markt actief mogen zijn, ook als dat niet verband houdt met hun werkzaamheden in de betreffende lidstaat. Hierbij kan gedacht worden aan het huren van een woonruimte.
In principe zijn ook geneeskundige diensten opgenomen in het vrij verkeer van diensten. Iedere EU-ingezetene kan overal in Europa medische zorg ontvangen, die vergoed dient te worden door de zorgverzekeraar in eigen land. Dit geldt alleen voor medische zorg die niet kan wachten. Als de patiënt kans ziet om voor behandeling terug te keren naar het eigen land, is dat verplicht.
There it is Joop! You can win!
We have all been screwed by the EU treaty. In general, our lives have not gotten better by uniting Europe for financial and business reasons. But this part of the EU treaty is good but few people know about their rights as an EU citizen.
This will be the fight of your lifetime Joop. But I think that you are a man that can do it. Maybe, just maybe, everything that you have done in your life has brought you to this place. On the one side, it is horrible that you are so sick. I am so sorry for you. But on the other side, your experience can help others. You can save lives. But you are taking on a Goliath. Be like David and hit the bastards in the forehead with a stone called article 86. Go for it! Respect to you.
Keith Bakker- email@example.com