echo interview with Jérôme Cosandey, Director for French-speaking Switzerland of Avenir Suisse, Head of Research «Sustainable Welfare Policy»
elipsLife echo: Avenir Suisse is worried that soon two thirds of all government spending will be devoted to social and health care. Money that’ll be lacking elsewhere. Given that this trend is also the result of demographic developments, how can you call for its reversal?
Jérôme Cosandey: Every year, around 170 billion Swiss francs are spent on social services in Switzerland. Demographic trends mean that the number of pensioners is rising, which increases the transfers between the generations. Nevertheless, no one wants to cut pensions – there’s a consensus on that. All the more reason for us to do the right things properly, especially when it comes to insurance policies with a «consumption» character, such as disability, unemployment and health insurance. We have to ask ourselves whether we achieve more with the same money we have today, or would the same thing be possible with less money?
Is more effectiveness alone the key to solving the disability insurance (IV) problems?
Here, too, we need to ask ourselves about effectiveness. In our new study «Integration instead of exclusion», which focuses on people between the ages of 20 and 60 and is based on 250’000 IV applications, we examined the question of how more people could be reintegrated with the funds available.
Avenir Suisse attaches great importance to the reintegration of people affected by disability. In the aforementioned study, you examined the reintegration efforts from canton to canton and discovered considerable differences. What do individual cantons do well, and what do they do badly?
On the one hand, we compared what the disability insurance schemes (IV programmes) run by the cantons actually do. On the other, we looked at the role of the employers, doctors, sickness benefit insurers, pension funds and the Regional Employment Agencies (RAV). In the case of the IV programmes, there are two main differences between the cantons. These are, firstly, the cultural behaviour of the IV offices themselves and the courts that confirm or reject IV decisions. Secondly, there’s the nature and effectiveness of the reintegration measures taken.
For the latter dimension, we examined whether a larger number of people tend to get less money or fewer people tend to get more. In addition, we analysed which people were impacted by reintegration measures, which age categories benefited, and how much the measures cost. Also relevant was the question of how many people whose circumstances were changed by such mesaures nevertheless became pensioners in the end. The study didn’t aim at «finger pointing». Rather, we wanted to show the differences between the cantons and encourage them to initiate improvements based on the data from the comparisons.