Karl Lauterbach defends financial package for negative health insurance companies

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD)

According to Federal Health Minister Lauterbach, the planned increase in employee contributions by 0.3 percentage points is reasonable and not unfair.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach has defended plans to compensate for a billion-dollar deficit in statutory health insurance in the coming year. The vast majority will not be paid for by increasing the contribution rate on the employee side, he said SPD-Politicians on Friday presenting a draft law in the Bundestag. The planned increase of 0.3 percentage points is reasonable and not unfair. "In contrast to tax money, every employer pays half." The minister reiterated that financial reserves in the health sector should be addressed first, without cutting benefits for insured persons.

The financial package decided by the cabinet is intended to absorb an expected minus of 17 billion euros. Among other things, an additional federal subsidy of two billion euros is planned, a reduction in financial reserves at the health insurers, a contribution from the pharmaceutical industry and the elimination of an extra fee for new patients in practices. "In the event of unauthorized attacks, we will withstand lobby pressure," said Lauterbach. The principle that there should be no cuts in benefits will not be shaken during the entire legislative period.

With regard to "efficiency reserves", Lauterbach explained that funds with many reserves had massively increased pension provisions for board members. There are also cash registers "where the board members earn significantly more than the Federal Chancellor". Double billing of care services in clinics should be eliminated. For pharmaceutical companies, the time in which very high prices for new drugs remain unchanged should be shortened. "It can only be done in this form anyway Germany happen,” Lauterbach said of the status quo.

The Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) sharply criticized the plans and spoke of a "destabilization law". If the contributions increase, it is not a good signal for people. Skimming off the health insurance companies is the wrong way. "You are heading for a supply blackout," he said to Lauterbach. Abolishing the budget for new patients in practices is a reduction in benefits. "You can sugarcoat that however you like."

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