Financing of the health insurance companies: Citizens' insurance through the back door

In Germany there is a kind of crisis competition, competition for attention and quick political action. The war in Ukraine, the upheavals on the energy markets and inflation are at the forefront. Even previous major issues such as the corona pandemic or global warming take a back seat.

Bulky challenges such as those in healthcare and nursing have an even harder time. And that, although they affect every citizen and form one of the largest branches of the economy.

Every eighth employee works in the healthcare sector, and the gross value added accounts for more than 12 percent of the economy as a whole. Almost two thirds of health expenditure is made by statutory health insurance (GKV), which represents 90 percent of the population.

A pitiful makeshift

But unless a devilish wave of contagion is sweeping the country, few are interested in the situation in the healthcare industry.

This is unfortunate because the lack of attention has led to Health Ministers Karl Lauterbach (SPD) can present an amendment to the Bundestag this Friday, which is nothing more than a pitiful makeshift.

The Statutory Health Insurance Funds Financial Stabilization Act manages to get the funds through the new year with a bang, but is far from bringing revenue and expenditure into line in the long term.

The proposal postpones this problem until spring, when Lauterbach's house wants to present "recommendations for stable, reliable and solidarity-based financing of the statutory health insurance system". So the law already contains an expiry date, thereby acknowledging its inadequacy.

So far too little has happened

One would expect that the traffic light would have long thought about "stable, reliable and solidary financing". In fact, there are approaches to this in the coalition agreement. The intention was to strengthen the income side by “regularly increasing the dynamics” of the federal subsidy and by using tax money to pay higher contributions for recipients of unemployment benefit II.

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