Additional contribution: social compensation an air number



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Additional contribution: social compensation an air number?

As part of the health care reform, low-income earners and Hartz IV recipients of additional contributions from the statutory health insurance should be spared by means of social compensation. No health insured person should have to spend more than two percent of their income on the additional contribution. The Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) now apparently wants to undermine this clear decision by the federal government.

When the health reform of the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) was implemented at the turn of the year, the federal government announced that the reforms were "socially acceptable", since so-called social compensation made the additional contributions affordable even for low-income groups. No legally insured person should have to spend more than two percent of their income on an additional contribution. This promise from the black and yellow coalition could soon turn out to be an “air number”. According to the newspaper "Frankfurter Rundschau", Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble refuses to provide sufficient funds for social compensation. In his budget planning, which runs until 2015, Schäuble undermines a decision by his own party to make additional tax funds available for the compensation in 2015 at the latest.

Two billion euros are currently available in the health fund for social compensation. The planned funds will last until 2014 at the latest. After that, new taxpayers' money would have to flow into the health fund in order to guarantee social compensation. However, social compensation is also based on the average additional contributions. However, since only a minority of health insurance companies currently make an additional contribution, the average compensation is currently zero euros. However, something is likely to change soon. Only at the weekend it became known that, for example, the AOK health insurance association had a deficit of around half a billion euros. Numerous industry experts now expect that some of the local health insurance companies will have to collect an additional contribution promptly.

As the federal government abolished the capping of the additional contributions in the course of the health care reform, the health insurers have to resort to the means of the additional contributions in the event of a financial imbalance in order to cope with rising costs in the health system. Expertise at the University of Cologne, commissioned by the German Trade Union Confederation, already predicted that the additional contributions would increase to 100 euros per month by 2025. The main reasons for this are rising drug prices, ever higher medical fees and demographic change. Ultimately, all people have to adjust to massive increases in health care expenditure. These are the dark sides of an aging society.

The health expert of the SPD, Dr. Karl Lauterbach sharply criticized Schäuble's approach. Lauterbach told the "FR": "It is a scandal that the low-income earners are to be left alone with the additional contribution". After all, a finance minister must adhere to his own government's decisions, added Lauterbach.

This process borders on a scandal and disregards all democratic principles. It is feared that low-income earners are unprotected from impoverishment because a single department disregards government decisions. (sb)

Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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