Health reform: Rösler has come under fire



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Health reform: Rösler is criticized from all sides. Both sides receive support from the CSU. The FDP Federal Health Minister Philipp Rösler sees himself exposed to growing criticism of the health reform. Trade unions, coalition partners and employers criticize the reform plans.

(21.09.2010) On Wednesday the Federal Cabinet is to decide on the implementation of the plans for health reform. But the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) is receiving criticism from all sides. The employers' associations criticize the increase in health insurance contributions. This is another burden for employers. The trade unions also complain about the one-sided burdens on employees. However, Rösler remains in his position: the health reform will come.

Rösler is criticized from all sides

The Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler has a difficult time. His plans for health reform are criticized from all sides. Trade unions, social associations, doctors and even coalition partners are currently mobilizing. The health minister seems to have gotten out of hand in the political debate about health reform. Rösler defended his plans at the weekend. He pointed out that people are getting older (demographic change), that health research is advancing and that the technical possibilities in health care are improving decisively. Based on these facts alone, the health system cannot become cheaper in the future. In the course of the reform, for example, the general contribution rate for health insurance is to increase to 15.5 percent. This sentence should be made legally binding. In addition, additional contributions for the needy are to be offset from tax revenues. The last point in particular has been heavily criticized from within our own ranks. So Rösler had to give up the plan to reimburse unemployment benefit recipients for the additional contributions. The Union does not want to agree to this, as the unemployed receive “salaries at a high level”.

Employers' association criticizes additional burdens

The Minister of Health has received criticism from all sides. Dieter Hundt, President of the Federal Association of German Employers' Associations (BDA), accuses the Federal Government of having set the "wrong course" in health policy. Hundt said to the "Passauer Neue Presse": "The coalition has promised stable contributions and the decoupling of health costs from the employment relationship. In fact, the contributions at the expense of employees and employers are now being increased significantly. That is the wrong way." Increasing the contributions to the statutory health insurances is the wrong way and drives the costs of labor even higher. This is the wrong way to go, especially now in times of crisis. "That puts a strain on the economy and employment when climbing out of the deep economic downturn," continued Hundt. The employer president is very pleased with the additional contributions. Because these only have to be paid by the employees. "It is at least a small step in the right direction to decouple health care costs from earned income." The employer boss apparently does not want to see that this also reduces the purchasing power of the employed.

DGB: Unilateral burden on employees

But unions are up against the additional burdens on workers. The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) sees additional financial burdens for employees in the increased contributions and unilateral additional contributions. DGB board member Annelie Buntenbach told the Hamburger Abendblatt: The coalition is planning "one of the largest redistribution and pollution programs against the citizens". After all, it is kept secret that the 70 million statutory health insurance patients in Germany are supposed to pay the rising health insurance costs themselves. The economy is spared from the cost increases. The DGB is planning numerous protests for the autumn. The health reform should also be the object of the protest. Buntenbach appealed to the CSU to prevent the plans of health reform.

CSU criticizes plans for health reform

The plans for health reform are also criticized from within. The CSU calls on Rösler to take the criticism seriously and implement the proposed changes. CSU regional group leader Hans-Peter Friedrich told the newspaper "Hamburger Abendblatt": "We have to take up the critical information from the coalition's health experts." The CSU wanted to propose possible changes on Wednesday, and the party is convinced that these will then be implemented .

So far, the FDP health minister has not been impressed by so much criticism. He announced last week that he would no longer be talked into. It could only be about the subtleties. The minister also receives encouragement. The private health insurance companies can look forward to high profits. Because the plans of the health reform also provide for so-called optional tariffs to be prevented from the statutory health insurance companies. For example, foreign health insurance should then only be able to be taken out with private health insurance. (sb, fp)

Also read:
Billions in deficit in health insurance companies expected
Rösler contradicts: No additional contributions 2011
Pharmacist lobby & FDP: together against competition?

Photo credit: Bredehorn J / pixelio.de

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