Increasing spending is a burden on health insurance – and the federal government does not want to recoup everything from tax revenues. Now the government is announcing a new jump in costs for policyholders.
Berlin – Members of compulsory health insurance companies will face higher contributions next year. The average additional contribution should increase by 0.3 percentage points, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) announced in Berlin on Tuesday. It is expected to bring in between 4.8 and 5 billion euros.
The increase in contributions should be part of a package of measures to cover the deficit of 17 billion euros. There will be no performance reduction.
An increased tax subsidy of 2 billion euros and a federal loan of one billion euros should also help cover the deficit. In addition, other reserves should be addressed – such reserves are still available in both the health fund and individual health insurance funds. “We are really in a difficult situation,” Lauterbach said. “There are still about 4 billion reserves in the coffers that we can and will withdraw.” The fund is worth 2.4 billion euros.
The pharmaceutical industry will contribute 1 billion
“If you take advantage of these reserves and expand the revenue base (…) it has already covered just over 14 billion out of 17 billion,” Lauterbach said. About 3 billion euros would be raised from efficiency improvements. According to Lauterbach, the solidarity levy for the pharmaceutical industry should be highlighted here, which has recently managed to record a significant increase in sales. A one-time payment of one billion euros is planned.
The average additional contribution will finally be determined by an official group of assessors in the fall. This year, the coffers will already receive an increased federal subsidy of 28.5 billion euros. Therefore, the average additional contribution should be kept at 1.3 percent for now. The specific amount of their additional contribution is determined by the health insurers themselves. The total contribution includes a general rate of 14.6 percent of gross wages.
Lindner insisted on a debt brake
Lauterbach announced that he had been negotiating for a long time with the Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner (FDP) about the planned financing of the billion dollar gap in health insurance. The “good compromise” is now being coordinated by the federal government. He shares Lindner’s goals that the debt brake should not be violated, taxes should not be increased and a budget rebalance should not be needed, Lauterbach said.
Lauterbach criticized his predecessor Jens Spahn (CDU). “The federal government has found the finances of health insurance taxpayers in a very difficult situation,” said the SPD politician, talking about the historical deficit. “I essentially inherited this deficit from my predecessor.” Lauterbach said he had made “costly performance reforms” and refrained from structural reforms. That is how the deficit arose during the pandemic. In the meantime, structural reforms have begun – for example in the field of clinics.
The Central Association of Legal Health Insurance Funds (GKV) earlier this month attributed an expected deficit of 1 billion euros for 2023 to political decisions, among other things. Laws on more medical staff or shorter waiting times for doctors alone have led to permanent additional costs of five billion euros a year.
The current leader of the association, Doris Pfeiffer, said: “The key points presented today at best give legal health insurance a financial respite.” Depletion of reserves “is not solid and sustainable financing”. Sharp criticism also came from employers. The cornerstone is disappointing and would represent a skill, said BDA general manager Steffen Kampeter.
The FDP in the Bundestag wants to check:
Lauterbach also said that one of the reasons for the precarious financial situation of health insurance is that the 14 billion-euro tax subsidy will no longer be available as planned. Yet – despite economic uncertainties – the deficit is unlikely to be higher than previously thought. “I don’t expect more bad news,” Lauterbach said, which means bad news.
The FDP in the Bundestag announced a detailed examination of the plans. “It is useful for the upcoming debate on the financing of the GKV that the Minister of Health presented his ideas,” said the leader of the parliamentary group, Lukas Köhler. Advice is now given on “what can be implemented and where there is still room for improvement”.
Greens want reform:
The Greens insist on structural reforms. Green MEP Paula Piechotta said: “After spending a lot of money on health during a pandemic and making a lot of money – money that was not always well spent – we now need to make our health system better and more efficient to reduce deficits in the coming years. a few years. ”In a crisis, even strong shoulders would have to carry more.
A dialogue launched by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) with the social partners and the Bundesbank should begin this Monday – a so-called concerted action – to provide possible relief for citizens burdened by rising prices.