In view of the growing gaps in geriatric care in Germany, the SPD in the Bundestag insists on more tax money for the area from Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP). "Five million people in need of care, their relatives and friends expect the progressive coalition to stand by them - especially when times are difficult," said Deputy Group Leader Dagmar Schmidt of the German Press Agency in Berlin.
Schmidt put care in a row with areas such as health care, mobility, digitization and further training: "Investments that we are making today will soon pay off and ensure our prosperity and social cohesion," said the SPD politician. "It is the job of the finance minister to make the necessary funds available now and finally to take responsibility for the revenue side."
"Concrete ideas in the coalition agreement"
When it comes to caring for the elderly, Schmidt referred to the situation of those affected and their relatives. "They do great things every day and we have to support them and make their lives easier," said Schmidt. "We have laid concrete ideas on this in the coalition agreement." These must now be implemented. "This includes stable financing, also from taxes, as well as the adjustment of services to the needs of those affected."
There has long been a discussion about whether long-term care insurance should be financed more through taxes because of the increasing number of people in need of care in an aging society. On January 1, 2022, a federal subsidy of one billion euros per year for long-term care insurance was introduced. As early as 2021, the federal government had paid one billion euros for additional costs due to the corona pandemic.
Now the pressure in the care sector is increasing. A week and a half ago, the headlines were made by the fact that the proportion of people in need of care and their families for a place in a home has continued to rise. According to the substitute health insurance association, they climbed by 278 euros to 2411 euros per month within a year. A relief surcharge was introduced in 2022, which was intended to limit these shares. When asked, Schmidt did not want to comment on the problem of own shares. In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP announced that they would monitor the relief surcharges and examine "how the own contribution can be further reduced".
Nursing allowance has not increased since 2017
In addition, the traffic light coalition announced at the start of 2021 that it would finance non-insurance benefits such as pension contributions for relatives from taxes, strengthen home care and make care allowance dynamic from 2022. Nursing allowance is given when people in need of nursing care are cared for at home. Social associations had criticized the fact that the care allowance had not been increased since 2017 despite traffic light announcements and inflation.
Behind the scenes, the coalition is already struggling over future care funding. According to a report by the “Handelsblatt” on Thursday, the Ministry of Finance said that reform proposals by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) for care would bring “further service expansions in the billions”. There is still a "considerable need for advice".
Lauterbach had previously announced improvements for care by relatives and outpatient services. Lauterbach also pointed out in the "Stern" that "further tax subsidies" were provided for in the coalition agreement. Group Vice Schmidt strengthened Lauterbach's back. "Especially in times of change, it is all the more important to strengthen public services and the welfare state," she argued. In addition to the projects in the coalition agreement on tax avoidance, tax loopholes and tax havens, it is also important to distribute the burden of the pandemic and war more fairly.
More and more people in need of care
Against the background of these debates, increasing care contributions are already foreseeable. Lauterbach had said that one would not be able to avoid "contribution rates increasing". Since the beginning of 2022, the contribution to long-term care insurance has been 3.05 percent of gross wages (3.4 percent for people without children). At the turn of the year, the Central Association of Statutory Health Insurance criticized politicians for currently accepting a deficit of 2.2 billion euros in long-term care insurance.
According to a study by the Scientific Institute of Private Health Insurance, the number of people in need of care could increase from almost 5 million to almost 5.5 million by 2025 and up to 5.75 million by 2030.