Head allowance comes after the NRW election?

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Will the GKV head allowance be introduced after the state election in NRW?

(09.05.2010) Today are state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia. It looks like a "head to head" race by the big parties. If the CDU and FDP lose massive votes and a new state government is formed in NRW, the majorities in the Federal Council also change. A central topic is likely to be the FDP's long-planned introduction of a head allowance in the health system. In this context, head allowance means the introduction of flat-rate health contributions regardless of the insured person's income. A "high earner" would pay exactly the same contributions as a "low earner".

A full deficit in statutory health insurance is expected this year. Despite a one-time federal grant of 3.9 billion euros, a deficit of 3.1 billion euros is expected for 2010. The first health insurance companies already made an additional contribution from their insured persons at the beginning of the year, and more will likely follow. For 2011, the health fund deficit is expected to be a whopping 11 billion euros. According to the coalition, up to 15 billion euros could even be missing in the health fund. However, the federal government is currently silent on how to refinance the downright collapse of health insurance companies. If you converted this amount, there would be an additional burden of 291 euros per year for all SHI insured. The first SHI insurances are therefore already demanding increases in the regular health insurance contributions. Hard to accomplish, especially for insured people who are just living above the subsistence level because they earn too little.

But the federal government is silent. Any information on whether a head allowance is introduced is blocked. The only report is that the employer's share of the SHI insurance premiums should be frozen in the future. This means that all additional contributions, whether with or without a head allowance, are paid on the back of the insured. This effectively overrides the basic social consensus. Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler has meanwhile announced that the lump sum per head is not "anti-social" because one wants to support the socially disadvantaged with social compensation. If one were to support everyone who could be considered for social compensation, the additional costs from tax funds would amount to an estimated 20 to 40 billion euros. Eligible for this compensation are e.g. around 94 percent of retirees.

Plans are also being concealed that aim to remove certain healthcare benefits. In line with the FDP, the insured should pay for health benefits themselves. Health insurance should then only be a basic service. The insured should insure all other benefits privately. Social inequalities are also evident here. While the "basic insured" only receives basic care because he can no longer afford it, the higher earner is well looked after because he can also take out private insurance. It remains exciting - also with regard to health care - how the election in NRW will turn out. (sb)

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