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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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    The insured pay the lion’s share: the planned rescue of health insurance funds only creates new problems

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    It’s a smokescreen: In the current emergency operation to stabilize the statutory health insurance (GKV), the responsible minister Karl Lauterbach is constantly declaring that the burden is “spread over several shoulders”, i.e. not letting the insured pay alone.

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    An interpretation that does not become more correct because Lauterbach’s SPD also followed it in the Bundestag on Friday. Because it’s true: The vast majority of the planned “GKV Financial Stabilization Act” will be financed from the funds of the contributors.

    This is the cash situation: the GKV will be short of at least 17 billion euros in 2023, and inflation and recession may well over 20 billion. The main reason is laws that were introduced before the pandemic and negotiated between Jens Spahn (CDU) and Lauterbach.

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    In order to close the billion-dollar gap, the traffic light coalition wants, among other things, to raise the statutory health insurance contributions by an average of 0.3 percentage points. That is then the proportion of the contributors to the GKV rescue, says Lauterbach. And omits where the second big block comes from: namely from the tills.

    The burdens on the pharmaceutical industry are relatively small

    But this is about reserves that were built up solely through GKV contributions, i.e. savings of the insured, so to speak. Although cuts are also planned for the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession, which can also have drastic consequences, they are relatively small in relation to the burden on the contributors.

    Now one might think that the GKV deficit indicates that the cash structure is too expensive, which then of course has to be compensated for by the members of the insurance system, i.e. the contributors. But that is far too short-sighted.

    Because recipients of unemployment benefit II are also insured in the GKV. The Confederation pays their contributions to the coffers. But these amounts have been far too small as compensation for years. The result is an annual deficit in the almost two-digit billion range.

    According to the coalition agreement, this grievance should be remedied, but Lauterbach was unable to enforce it with Christian Lindner (FDP). In keeping with budgetary discipline, the Minister of Health imposes costs that would have to be reimbursed from the federal budget on to the contributors.

    With the current reform, the GKV could survive the year 2023 with a bang. But after that, the deficit will grow even more, if only for demographic reasons. Lauterbach meanwhile promises new expensive projects, for example 1000 health kiosks throughout Germany. He can no longer rely on the reserves of the contributors. Because they will be finally issued in the crisis year 2023.

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    Source: Tagesspiegel

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