Debate on health insurance contributions has broken out anew

The record surplus of the statutory health insurance funds (GKV) is currently 28.3 billion euros. 15.2 billion is with the insurers themselves, another 13.1 billion euros is in the health fund. In view of the approaching federal elections, there has now been a push by the CSU that the health fund should be abolished and contributions by health insurers should once again be set individually. Max Staubinger, vice chairman of the CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, told the Passauer Neue Presse: "It is nonsense to take such a pile of money from the people."

The SPD wants to use the opportunity to completely reform the health care system and introduce a citizens' insurance system. "The billions in surpluses mean that the conditions for introducing a citizens' insurance scheme are more favorable than ever," SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach told arzteblatt. As a first step, the reserves should be paid out to the health insurance funds, on condition that the contribution rates are reduced.
The Green health politician Birgitt Bender also demanded the abolition of the "socially unjust additional contributions".

Health Minister Daniel Bahr (FDP) did not want to comment on these proposals. It makes no sense to start a discussion about this now, said a spokesman for Bahr, who said that the current system would remain in place. Due to the reduction of the federal subsidy to the health fund, the health insurance funds would already have to do without enough funds. For the current and next year, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble (CDU) has cut the federal subsidy by about 4.5 billion euros.

The Left Party fears that abolishing the uniform cash rate would lead to higher contributions for health insurance funds with many older and chronically ill insured persons. The introduction of the uniform contribution rate was a great step forward, according to Martina Bunge, a health expert from the Left Party.

For the association of substitute health insurance funds itself, this danger is not in the foreground: individual contribution rates would allow contributions to be levied "more accurately and in line with needs," said the association's chairman, Christian Zahn. Further the state helps itself to the money, which is intended for the cashes. This sets the wrong incentives.

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