Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


How do you say Obamacare in German?

BERLIN — As Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) explore another coalition with Angela Merkel’s conserva..

BERLIN — As Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) explore another coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, party leaders are looking for a big policy victory to prove to their base that it’s worth the trouble.

That’s why they’re so insistent on reforming the German health insurance system — by creating a Bürgerversicherung, or “citizens’ insurance” scheme, under which all Germans would be automatically insured.

The SPD slumped to its worst ever result in last September’s general election after four years as Merkel’s junior partner, so party leaders and activists are wary of reprising that role. As they hold talks with the conservatives this week, an overhaul of Germany’s health insurance system is sure to be one of the major sticking points.

“As a Social Democrat, I work to ensure all people can share in medical advances,” said Bärbel Bas, an SPD lawmaker in the party’s health working group. “Citizens’ insurance would make the health system fairer, so no one in old age has to fear unaffordable premiums or poorer care.”

The SPD has advocated for some form of citizens’ insurance for more than a decade, seeing it as key to social democratic core values; some in the party even suggested last month that citizens’ insurance should be a precondition for talks with the CDU/CSU bloc (though they’ve since backed down from that idea).

Germany’s current health insurance system, which has structural roots as far back as the late 19th century, insures people in two distinct ways: through statutory public health insurance and private insurance. The SPD says this creates a two-tier setup, with wealthy people not contributing enough to the overall health system, to the detriment of the poor.

Karl Lauterbach, member of the German Social Democrats (SPD) | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“We want all people in Germany to be insured in the same way, and to introduce a citizens’ insurance,” the SPD’s top leaders wrote in a four-page catalog of conditions last month. Long-time SPD health reform advocate Karl Lauterbach told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper it is the party’s “duty to our constituents to implement this.”

Merkel’s conservatives, however, have consistently opposed the SPD proposal — and the idea has major opponents in the private insurance industry, which brought in €37 billion in premiums in 2016 and could stand to lose much of its business if the SPD gets its way. And last week, representatives from some of the statutory insurance providers also came out against the plan.

“For many years in Germany public insurance and private insurance have coexisted,” said Rudolf Henke, a CDU MP and long-time doctor who focuses on health issues in the Bundestag. “And the public insurance companies have record surpluses, they’re financially and qualitatively well-placed … we are pretty well taken care of in Germany.”

Two-track system

Right now, roughly nine in 10 Germans are insured under the statutory system, the default option, in which they and their employers split the cost of premiums equally. This insurance is managed by more than 100 Krankenkassen, or health insurance funds, which together brought in more than €200 billion in premiums in 2016.

The remaining 8.8 million people, or just over 10 percent of the population, are insured by one of Germany’s several dozen private insurance companies — either by choice or because of their professions. Civil servants and freelancers are covered through private insurance, and those earning over a certain amount (€57,600 per year in 2017) can choose between statutory insurance and private insurance.

Though a relatively small proportion of the country’s overall population holds private insurance, their typically higher premiums come with perks such as shorter waiting times and a wider range of choice in doctors. And since doctors get paid significantly more for treating private patients than statutory ones, many doctors prefer to take private patients.

“Whenever you say you are privately insured, the doors are open, you have immediate access and you get very thorough and very careful attention,” said Klaus Hurrelmann, a professor at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance. “[Doctors] get two to three times as much money for you, so it is really highly attractive to have people who are privately insured.”

The SPD argues that this discrepancy in privileges and available services is inherently unequal, giving unfair advantages to those who are able to pay more for them. What’s more, it is very difficult for people to switch from private insurance to statutory insurance, meaning they have few alternatives if their premiums rise.

The issue is an encapsulation of the party’s core values of equality and social justice, which is part of why it’s so high on party leaders’ list of demands.

Bürgerversicherung “is a very crucial and also an emotional thing for the social democratic family, not only for the party but for trade unions, and for all the left parties,” said Severin Schmidt, a social policy expert at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the affiliated political foundation for the SPD.

Under the SPD’s proposal, the country would eventually eliminate the use of private insurance as primary insurance, automatically placing all Germans into a single “citizens’ insurance” system, regardless of what kind of plan they’d chosen before. Their premiums would be based on income, rather than on age or medical history.

The “citizens’ insurance” would largely look like today’s statutory insurance, but with some provisions to ensure more equal treatment: doctors would receive the same fees for all patients, for example, and employers would pay half an employee’s premium regardless of the amount.

They would start this process — which experts say is a decades-long endeavor — by moving civil servants and freelancers into the existing statutory system, then eventually bringing in other remaining private patients as well. People could still choose to purchase supplementary insurance on top of their primary plan, which would fund extras like private rooms during hospital stays or certain non-covered types of care.

In a position paper on the issue, the SPD’s Lauterbach said “the restructuring of the system is a process” and private insurance companies wouldn’t be entirely eliminated. Instead, they could either opt to offer citizens insurance — in the way the Krankenkassen now offer statutory insurance — or move toward offering supplemental insurance plans.

The CDU, however, opposes the overall idea of citizens’ insurance even if it is open to potential improvements to the existing health care system.

“For me, this concept of ‘citizens’ insurance’ that the SPD presents doesn’t bring any advantages over what we have now.” — Katja Leikert, a CDU MP

Members of the CDU say the current system actually works well for most Germans, and that such a huge overhaul would cause more problems than it would solve. And the plan’s opponents also worry that decreased competition in German health insurance could drive up premiums and bring down the overall quality of care.

There’s also the question of how such a big shift would comply with German laws and the constitution, making future legal battles likely if the SPD’s proposal were to be implemented. Another major issue is what would happen to the collective €233 billion in surplus funds private insurance companies have built up to cover the care costs of Germany’s aging population.

“For me, this concept of ‘citizens’ insurance’ that the SPD presents doesn’t bring any advantages over what we have now,” said Katja Leikert, a CDU MP who is a member of the party’s health policy group. “So I’m not convinced … I have taken a close look at this and truly can’t understand [why it would be better].”

Possible compromise

Though it seems unlikely that the SPD will score an outright victory on the issue, there are signs a compromise might be possible: Merkel reiterated last month that the CDU is “against” such a system, for example, but suggested “a variety of improvements” could be on the table.

One possibility is that the two parties agree to part of the SPD’s proposal but stop short of actually doing away with private insurance. They could negotiate over equalizing doctors’ fees for statutory and private patients, or could begin the process of bringing more people into statutory insurance by shifting over civil servants and freelancers from private insurance.

Leikert, the CDU MP, named the latter as an example of a possible compromise in the coming negotiations.

“You can say, for example, that all civil servants should come onto the statutory health insurance,” she said. “You can do it, sure — I find that as a politician, you always need to be ready to compromise. And if that’s the price of having a stable government, you can also share the price.”

Original Article






  1. Warner

    August 24, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Hi there to every one, the contents existing at this web
    page are truly awesome for people knowledge, well,
    keep up the good work fellows.

  2. Rochell

    August 26, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my audience would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  3. Bellueur Cream

    August 26, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Some times its a pain in the ass to read what website owners wrote but this web site is really user pleasant!

    Here is my web site Bellueur Cream

  4. Hedofirm Male Enhancement

    August 26, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    There is obviously a bundle to realize about this. I suppose
    you made some nice points in features also.

    My blog post :: Hedofirm Male Enhancement

  5. Hedofirm Male Enhancement

    August 26, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    I really prize your work, Great post.

    Also visit my site Hedofirm Male Enhancement

  6. A1 Keto BHB

    August 26, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    What i do not realize is actually how you’re now not really
    much more well-favored than you may be now. You are so intelligent.

    You realize therefore significantly in the case of this subject,
    produced me for my part consider it from numerous various angles.
    Its like women and men are not fascinated except it is one thing
    to do with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs outstanding.
    At all times deal with it up!

    Take a look at my web-site; A1 Keto BHB

  7. ToxyBurn

    August 26, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    I simply wished to thank you so much yet again. I’m not
    certain what I might have followed without the actual secrets documented
    by you over this question. It was the frightful dilemma for
    me personally, but understanding a new professional tactic you handled that
    made me to leap for contentment. I’m thankful for
    your assistance and thus pray you really know what a great job that you’re carrying out instructing the rest
    through a site. I am sure you haven’t encountered any of us.

    My website: ToxyBurn

  8. Hedofirm Male Enhancement

    August 26, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    There is visibly a bundle to identify about this. I think you made some good
    points in features also.

    my web site – Hedofirm Male Enhancement

  9. live casino

    August 26, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    This paragraph will assist the internet visitors for setting up new webpage or even a weblog from start to end.

  10. politics betting market

    August 26, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Greetings, I believe your web site could possibly
    be having web browser compatibility problems.
    When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but
    when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.

    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that,
    wonderful blog!

  11. live casino

    August 26, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time
    to be happy. I have learn this post and if
    I may I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice.
    Maybe you could write next articles relating
    to this article. I want to read even more issues approximately it!

  12. Tonya

    August 27, 2021 at 2:28 am

    It’s in fact very difficult in this busy life to listen news on Television, therefore I simply use web for
    that purpose, and get the most up-to-date news.

  13. Vern

    August 27, 2021 at 3:25 am

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for
    such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time.

    Thank you and best of luck.

  14. Madie

    August 27, 2021 at 4:01 am

    Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.

    When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  15. betting politics

    August 27, 2021 at 4:03 am

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout
    on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice
    blog like this one nowadays.

  16. live casino

    August 27, 2021 at 4:49 am

    It is not my first time to visit this website,
    i am browsing this website dailly and get nice information from
    here everyday.

  17. Marc

    August 27, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Great site. A lot of helpful info here. I am sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious.

    And of course, thank you to your effort!

  18. Dewey

    August 27, 2021 at 5:06 am

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written any better! Looking through this post
    reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking
    about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him.

    Fairly certain he’s going to have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Miranda

    August 27, 2021 at 5:12 am

    Hi, yup this article is in fact fastidious and I have learned
    lot of things from it about blogging. thanks.

  20. Stephany

    August 27, 2021 at 8:33 am

    I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers except this post is in fact a pleasant paragraph,
    keep it up.

  21. Quality posts is the secret to be a focus for the visitors to pay a visit the web site, that’s what this web site is providing.

    my web blog – Keto Complete Pills (;u=117677)

  22. Hempizor CBD Gummies

    August 27, 2021 at 9:49 am

    What’s up everybody, here every person is sharing such experience, therefore
    it’s good to read this weblog, and I used to pay a visit this
    webpage all the time.

    My web page – Hempizor CBD Gummies

  23. Vernell

    August 27, 2021 at 10:20 am

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be
    thankful to you.

  24. 파워볼분석기

    August 27, 2021 at 11:10 am

    If you are looking for a lottery that packs a punch, then appear no further than the US Powerball lottery.


    August 27, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto
    a coworker who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me
    lunch due to the fact that I found it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!

    But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this
    matter here on your website.

    Feel free to surf to my page; WifiLift Price (

  26. Keto LeanX Reviews

    August 27, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    I blog frequently and I genuinely appreciate your information. The
    article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once a week.
    I opted in for your Feed too.

    Also visit my web page: Keto LeanX Reviews

  27. Max Ketosis Fuel Reviews

    August 27, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    I’m not sure why but this site is loading very slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end?

    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

    my website – Max Ketosis Fuel Reviews

  28. Spore Mens Vitality Mix Review

    August 27, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Superb, what a web site it is! This webpage presents valuable data to us,
    keep it up.

    My blog post; Spore Mens Vitality Mix Review

  29. Lithederm

    August 27, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Hello there, I found your blog by way of Google at the same
    time as looking for a related subject, your website came up, it looks great.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Also visit my blog :: Lithederm

  30. Tundra Breeze Air Conditioner Price

    August 27, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    I like this weblog very much so much good information.

    My web page – Tundra Breeze Air Conditioner Price

  31. Graciela

    August 27, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I in finding It truly useful
    & it helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to give one
    thing again and help others such as you helped me.

  32. Johnson

    August 27, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    I was more than happy to discover this page. I want to to thank you for ones time due
    to this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every
    bit of it and i also have you book marked to check out
    new stuff in your website.

  33. betting politics

    August 27, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    This site definitely has all the information and facts I
    wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  34. Jake

    August 27, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    I love what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!

    Keep up the great works guys I’ve incorporated you guys
    to our blogroll.

  35. instagram takipçi satın al

    August 28, 2021 at 12:04 am

    Stunning story there. What happened after? Take care!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.