(Health interests; 07-03; p.2)
After monthslong preparations also of scientific
groups the respective party leaders of negotiations Ulla Schmidt,
minister of health (Social Democrats), and Horst Seehofer (expert
of Germany's main opposition party, the Christian Democrats/Christian
Socialists) published their "Eckpunktepapier"
, dated 22 July.
This paper provides binding agreements of all party fractions
represented in parliament, the Bundestag, on changes in the national
health system, especially its future organisation, its spectrum
of services and its financing. (In a few words, Germany's current
health system can be characterised as being legally binding for
all employees working at least half-time, the bulk of them members
of autonomous, but public health insurances.)
The sociologist M. Opielka has written an informed
analysis of the "Eckpunktepapier" that hints on the
basic forms of governance in this field by market or socio-cultural
processes (cf.: Opielka, M: Einstieg in die Zukunft oder Verlängerung
der Vergangenheit? in: Frankfurter Rundschau no. 170 of 24/07/03,
Rürup and the politicians' reactions
As has been said, there is a government installed
commission of scientists, working on concepts for necessary changes
in Germany's system of social insurance.
This commission, named after its chairman, the economist B Rürup,
is subdivided into several work groups. The group
concerned with health insurance provided recommendations already
on 9 April to which the results of the "Eckpunktepapier"
are remarkably similar.
The group's given task was to develop concepts
guaranteeing long-term ability to finance the health system and
to lower premiums in public health insurances, especially.
Along these lines, the so-called Y-model was introduced: after
necessary short-term changes, for the second level a decision
has to be made on either an "insurance for all, generating
income by work" or a "system of income-independent
health premiums in connection with a tax-financed social counterbalance"
to create a long-term solid basis.
The alternatives have been dubbed meanwhile rather unprecise as
either "citizen's insurance" or "poll premiums".
However, they are not mentioned in the "Eckpunktepapier";
all agreements are on short-term measures comprising a time-frame
until the end of 2006. (All English quotes in this paragraph are
translated; German originals are to be found in the work group's
paper.) (read on here)