Germany is a country full of contradictions. There is the highest level of engineering and a horrible cell phone network, a self-image as a land of poets and thinkers and schools in which the plaster comes from the ceiling. And there is: the German healthcare system. This is perhaps the biggest contradiction of all. Because the status of one of the richest countries in the world does not correspond at all to the reality of the majority of patients.
The German health care system divides them into two classes, those with private and statutory insurance. This separation grew historically, it began in the 19th century. The supporters justify the fact that they still exist, for example, with a “freedom of choice” regarding their own insurance. But in reality it turned out to be nothing more than a selection between rich and poor, between important and unimportant, between “Please come this afternoon” and “Unfortunately, we will not have any more. free appointments before March 2023 “. It is outrageous and ridiculous – and it must end.
Life paths unfold differently, some with robust health, others characterized by disease. Some lead to financial prosperity, others do not. Neither provides information on the life-fulfillment behind them – and for this reason alone, the differences in the quality of patient care cannot be justified. But anyone who calls a specialist firm today or wants to make an appointment online should understand that the question “How are you insured?” Is much more important than “Where does it hurt?” Practices can often charge three times more for private patients than for those with statutory health insurance, which has implications for appointment scheduling – and it’s nothing more than a massive mistake in the system.
Millions of people are disadvantaged, this must change
But even for those who have reached a higher income level and opted for private insurance, bitter surprises await them every now and then. Because if they enjoy quick dates and better performance at the right times, it can become uncomfortable when life circumstances change. Phases with lower incomes are simply not possible – and a return to the statutory health insurance fund is not entirely impossible, but the system is not actually planned.
If we look at the positions of political parties on this issue, we might think that the attitude towards the dual system is an ideological issue – as rigorous as some claim “citizen insurance” for all and others. oppose it. The logic is in fact simple: the German health care system disadvantages millions of people, it promotes injustice. It must therefore be changed.
Opponents of a uniform system for all often argue on the financial aspects. Private insurance has pumped a lot of money into the system, they say, which would be lacking if the separation into two insurance classes no longer existed. A study by the Institute of German Enterprises, an organization linked to employers, recently concluded that citizens’ insurance would initially reduce contributions for all, but would have reached the current contribution level after six years. It is indeed interesting, but before the questions of financing must come the quality and the access to medical care.
Of course, a single insurance system will not end all inequalities. There will be special services and additional insurance offers. No one has to worry that the German health care system is not earning enough anymore. But prescreening already when booking an appointment to avoid this huge difference in access to medical care – that alone would be worth the effort of a system change.
No one should think that ending the double insurance system will make everyone happy. But if everyone in a country like Germany were annoyed in the same way, it would be a relevant contribution to social cohesion. And if those who are already going through tough times because money is scarce or their health is impaired weren’t so disadvantaged in the doctor’s office, that would be simple: it’s true.