If you ask the health insurances, the reasons for their increased expenditure lie in Jens Spahn’s reform policy. While the health minister is defending the government’s investments, one thing is certain: the coffers will depend on extra billions from the federal government in the coming year.
The statutory health insurance companies in Germany will need a record subsidy from the federal government in the coming year. The background to this is the sharp rise in expenditure. According to the cash register also because of Corona, but above all because of the “spending-intensive” legislation of the past few years. As the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance (GKV) announced, there is an additional financial requirement of 7 billion euros. This was predicted by the so-called appraisal group made up of experts from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Social Security Office and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds.
According to its own statement, the committee expects health insurance expenditures of around 284 billion euros, after an estimated 272 billion euros this year. Since it was stipulated by law that the additional contributions to health insurance should be kept stable at an average of 1.3 percent in the next year, the gap must be closed with additional money from the federal government.
Spahn refers to investments
The federal grant, like the health insurance contributions from employers and employees, flows into the health fund, from which the health insurance funds are paid. Usually the grant is 14.5 billion euros. In the current year, it was topped up with a further 5 billion. An additional 7 billion had already been planned for the coming year. With a further 7 billion, the grant would grow to 28.5 billion euros. The federal government has to initiate an ordinance for this.
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn said: “We have invested a lot in the last three years: in better care, in faster digitization, in comprehensive care – and above all in coping with the pandemic. That pays off for the patients. But it costs especially after an economic crisis. ” Parliament wrote the promise of stable contributions in the law. They stand by this social guarantee. “That is why we will now quickly submit a corresponding ordinance and coordinate it with the Federal Ministry of Finance.”
Additional costs due to new laws
Critical voices came from the AOK Federal Association: “As of today, the extent of the financial misery in the statutory health insurance is official,” explained Knut Lambertin, alternate chairman of the supervisory board for the insured side. The chairman of the supervisory board of the employers’ side and chairman of the board of directors of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, Volker Hansen, said: “With his spending policy and legislation, the Federal Minister of Health has made a significant contribution to putting the statutory health insurance into this difficult situation.” He now has to take responsibility and raise the shortfall from tax revenues.
Anja Piel, member of the board of the German Trade Union Confederation, said that Spahn caused the deficit himself. “His expensive reforms have torn a growing hole in the finances of the health insurance funds. Filling that again is a big task for the next federal government.”
According to an AOK listing, 15 laws introduced in recent years will result in additional costs for the health insurers amounting to almost 37 billion euros between 2019 and 2022. These include the “Nursing Personnel Strengthening Act”, which enables the creation of additional care positions in clinics and nursing facilities, and the “Act on the digital modernization of care and nursing”, which extends functions in electronic patient files, electronic prescriptions and the possibility of video consultation hours.
At the care day on Wednesday morning, Spahn said, with a view to the expected cost estimate and possible critical headlines: “Yes, we were expensive because we invested in care, for example.” More staff and better pay are rightly called for on the care day. Others pointed out that the costs in the health system rose too much. “It doesn’t quite fit together yet.” The debate must be conducted in society.