The members of the statutory health insurance schemes (GKV) will have to adjust to higher contributions next year. On Thursday, the Bundestag decided on a large cash injection to compensate for a billion-dollar deficit in the cash registers, which also includes an increase in the average additional contribution of probably 0.3 points.
The total contribution could thus rise to an average of 16.2 percent. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) defended the law, which was approved with the votes of the coalition factions of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. Criticism rained down from the opposition.
In the final debate, Lauterbach said that in view of the current crises, the promise that there would be no reductions in benefits for patients could be kept. At the same time, the contribution rate should increase “as little as necessary”.
The financial package, against which industry associations had protested for weeks, is intended to absorb a minus of 17 billion euros expected for 2023. This includes reducing financial reserves at the cash registers. The federal government will increase its usual subsidy of 14.5 billion euros to the GKV in the coming year by two billion euros and will also grant a loan of one billion euros. Drug manufacturers and pharmacies are also used with higher discounts.
Opposition speaks of "problem shifting law"
The opposition rejected the law. "They burden the contributors one-sidedly," said Union health expert Tino Sorge. It is "a problem shifting law". The CDU politician held Lauterbach responsible for the deficit because he had been at the table for projects of the previous black-red government.
Left MP Kathrin Vogler said the project should be called "GKV Financing Botch Law". She complained that the additional contributions were a particular burden on people who didn't know how to pay for energy and food anyway. Martin Sichert (AfD) reproached the coalition: "They are not behaving like a responsible government, but like a gang of thieves who are plundering and devastating the country."
Lauterbach said the law should also solve fundamental problems. In the future, pharmaceutical manufacturers would no longer be able to bring new drugs that have little or no additional benefit to the market at significantly higher prices. Extra remuneration for practices for new patients would not have proven itself and would be deleted. Higher fees are to be introduced as an incentive if patients can get specialist appointments more quickly. This is "a step towards dismantling the two-tier medicine," said Lauterbach, with a view to statutory and privately insured patients.
Also higher additional contribution included in the package
The package also includes a higher additional contribution. So far, the average rate that the ministry sets annually for guidance is 1.3 percent. For 2023, an increase of 0.3 points is "currently not unrealistic," it said. However, the insurance companies themselves determine the specific amount of the additional contribution for their insured persons - they can deviate from the average. The total contribution also includes the general rate of 14.6 percent of gross wages.
Irrespective of the GKV stabilization, it should also become more expensive for many private patients next year. The amounts would increase by an average of three percent in 2023, according to the private health insurance association. About 35 percent of the insured are affected by increases. The triggers are rising costs for treatments and medicines as well as reduced investment income due to low interest rates. A significant part of the higher contributions should flow into the pension fund to finance health care costs in old age. First the "Handelsblatt" (Thursday) reported about it.