AOK chief criticizes health care reform

AOK chief criticizes black and yellow health care reform

(09.08.2010) The Federal Government's plans to treat statutory health insurance companies in the future as private companies are met with massive criticism in the industry. So warns z. B. Herbert Reichelt, head of the AOK, in an interview with the "Frankfurter Rundschau" about the "bad consequences" for patients and bases his reasoning on antitrust law, which the health insurers would also be subject to as a private company. According to Reichelt, patients face long-term high additional costs if the basic principles of health insurance are suddenly attacked by antitrust law.

He thinks primarily of the "decisions of the joint self-administration of the health insurance companies to exclude ineffective medication or treatment methods from the service catalog." If these are challenged on the basis of antitrust law and no longer exist in the future, considerable additional costs would arise, which would be due to additional contributions alone to be borne by the insured. The discount contracts of the health insurers with the various pharmaceutical companies could also be affected. the AOK system alone saves around 500 million euros annually. If all discount contracts end up in court again due to antitrust law and proceedings that have long been decided in favor of the health insurance companies are reopened, the insured face the risk of significantly higher costs.

Reichelt emphasized that "health insurance companies (...) are not profit-oriented companies whose competition with one another must first be steered in an orderly manner by antitrust law." Health insurance companies do not create cartels to maximize profits or harm consumers and should therefore not be included in that Antitrust law falls, continues Reichelt. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Health countered that the Union and the FDP had agreed to apply antitrust law only to certain contractual relationships in order to achieve a solution that was friendly to small and medium-sized companies, which at the same time prevented greater market power in contract negotiations

The additional contribution also met with criticism from Reichelt and he made it clear that insured persons with low incomes in particular, such as the recipients of ALG II or pensioners are overburdened with these additional payments. He therefore asked the Frankfurter Rundschau in an interview that the additional contributions of pensioners should be taken over by the pension insurance and that of Hartz IV recipients should be paid by the employment agency. Otherwise, according to Reichelt, the number of dunning and collection procedures would increase massively, which on the one hand would trigger an enormous administrative effort and, on the other hand, massive problems for those affected. The head of the AOK is also critical of the planned social compensation, which is to take effect and support the low-wage extra contributions, because how the government wants to create unbureaucratic compensation that also works in practice remains open. (sb)

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