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Rösler's health care reform: additional contributions as a hidden head allowance?
(07.07.2010) Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler speaks of a reform in which the health insurance contribution rates will increase by 0.6 percent next year, in which the employer's share is to be frozen and all additional costs of the insured are to be offset by additional contributions. This is diametrically opposed to the current plans of the black-and-yellow coalition Rösler's promise to improve the German healthcare system but not to make it more expensive. The opposition demands Rösler's resignation.
The employer's share should remain at 7.3 percent and the door should be wide open for the health insurers to demand additional contributions, since the previous limits, that they may only amount to one percent of the income, no longer apply and should be recalculated annually. The Bundestag faction of the left described the additional contribution as a capped head allowance. The Greens are heading in the same direction, and are now seeing the introduction of the "flat rate system".
Criticism now comes not only from the opposition, but even from the employer camp. Because employer president Dieter Hundt said that the formulations set out in the coalition agreement and the coalition's recent commitments would not be met by the current plans. Even the head of the umbrella organization of statutory health insurance companies, Dr. Doris Pfeiffer says that "with a more committed savings package" some of the additional burdens could have been avoided "without the patient's care having suffered as a result." However, the coalition had to lay down social compensation for pensioners and low-wage earners. "More net than gross" has always been the motto of the FDP. The coalition plans now published by the FDP Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler definitely mean the opposite. (tf)
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