New Health Reform Approved

Berlin. The Federal Parliament has accepted the highly controversial health care reform. Thus, the health insurance contribution increases next year from 14.9 to 15.5 percent. CDU and FDP approved the new rules against the votes of the SPD, the Left and the Greens. This was followed by a fierce exchange of verbal blows in which the opposition criticized the new regulation as socially unjust. 306 voted for new rules and 253 votes against.

The new regulation provides improved revenue for insurance at lower costs. This will be used for a looming deficit of nine billion euros next year. In addition to the increased public health insurance, the insured must adjust to the fact that with financial constraints their contributions will be allowed to be raised considerably. The cash contribution by the employer is frozen at 7.3 percent. The additional contributions are independent of income and must be paid solely by the insured. Speakers of the opposition parties rejected the new rules categorically. "We are now seeing the first step in the privatization of public health insurance," said the SPD deputy Andrea Nahles. This is "bad for 70 million publicly insured". Left-faction leader Gregor Gysi accused Health Minister Philippe Roesler (FDP) that he was working on the process "to introduce a three-tier health system in Germany." Roesler denied the allegations. The reform will put the solidarity "on a broader basis." In addition to the patients, all other parties would be held responsible for sustainable and socially balanced financing of the health system. For those in need, a tax-financed welfare compensation will be provided.


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