FDP for the introduction of the electronic health card: The Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) campaigns for the introduction of an electronic health card, despite the original rejection by his party. He threatens the health insurance companies with substantial sanctions if they do not move.
(2010-11-09) After the plans for the introduction of the electronic health card (eGK) have hardly made any progress due to the rejection by the FDP, a rethink has now begun among the liberals and Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler is campaigning for the swift introduction of the eGK. According to his will, by 2011 at least 10 percent of the insured should receive a corresponding eGK from their health insurers, otherwise they face severe draconian penalties.
Government coalition plans to introduce the electronic health card Actually, the introduction of the electronic health cards decided by Federal Minister of Health Ulla Schmidt should be implemented as of January 1, 2006. But not only had there been considerable resistance from the insurance companies and doctors, the FDP had always argued against the introduction at the political level. Cost and data protection reasons were the main arguments for the rejection of the liberals. And while the rejection is still anchored in the FDP's last Bundestag election program, a rethinking in the ranks of the Bundestag faction has apparently started.
The FDP, CDU and CSU do not seem to shy away from enforcing the introduction of the eGK with coercive measures. An amendment to the black-and-yellow coalition on health care reform requires health insurance companies to issue the eGK to at least ten percent of the insured by the end of 2011. If the health insurance companies do not meet these requirements, they will have to pay a penalty of two percent of their administrative costs, which would result in fines in the hundreds of millions (according to expert estimates, a maximum of EUR 178 million) and would inevitably result in a significant reduction in staff numbers at the health insurance companies.
So far, no readers for the eGK have been available "The self-administration of health insurance has been holding us back for years with commitments that it will not keep. We can no longer be fooled around, ”explains Jens Spahn, health expert of the CDU, the proposed amendment. The central association of statutory health insurers, on the other hand, criticized the planned procedure. "Now the health insurers should be forced to issue the electronic health card next year even if there are still no reading devices for it in many medical practices. In practice, this would mean for millions of insured people that they would have to walk around with two health insurance cards at the same time. "First the readers and then the cards - that would be the right order," emphasized Doris Pfeiffer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kassenverband to the "Hamburger Abendblatt". The health insurance companies also refer to a FDP Bundestag proposal from 2008 in which the Liberals were still demand that the health card should not be introduced hastily, but that it must be carefully prepared.This attitude now seems to have changed and the Federal Minister of Health is pressing the gas.
Chip card should store additional patient information In contrast to the previous health insurance card, which functions as a memory chip card, the eGK as processor chip card should store additional information about the patient and make it available to the doctor or medical staff at any time. Not only the health insurance companies but also the German Medical Association, as the representative of the medical profession, have always rejected the introduction of the eGK in its current form and demanded solutions that offer greater data security and provide clear statements about the financial viability of the new system. On the 111th day of the doctors, the doctors asked for a stop of the previous tests to discuss alternatives.
The black and yellow federal government is now going in a completely different direction with its current plans. Instead of rethinking the model, they want to implement it quickly and threaten the health insurance companies with substantial sanctions if they do not follow suit. The current approach of the Federal Government is reminiscent of the resistance to advice that politicians are currently seeing towards representatives of the professional community. The decision-making process without sufficient involvement of those affected (see Stuttgart 21 and extension of life for nuclear power plants) also awakens unpleasant memories. The renowned health economist and advisor to ex-Federal Minister of Health Ulla Schmidt (SPD), Prof. Jürgen Wasem, explained that the eGK was decided "primarily for political reasons" and "economically (...) will be a minus business, which ultimately will be the insured numbers". (fp)
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