The health insurance funds in Germany are again facing a deficit of billions of euros for the year 2024. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) recently stated that the insured should be prepared for rising contributions.


The central association of statutory health insurance companies expects a gap between 3.5 billion and 7 billion euros. This would result in a calculated increase in the average additional contribution of 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points. So now the working population will be put in their pockets again. It should be noted that the income of an employee is only subject to contributions up to the contribution assessment limit, but everything above it is free of contributions. This value is currently just under 5,000 euros per month. Already for the year 2023, a minus of the health insurance companies of about 17 billion euros had actually been expected, but the federal government had counteracted last autumn with a financial package with various measures.


The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Andreas Gassen, now presented a „solution“. He is pushing for more possibilities to be able to perform operations in practices without an extra hospital overnight stay. He calls for a "U-turn", of course for the worse for the patients. "There are still far too many inpatient treatments in Germany," says Gassen. In his opinion, out of a total of around 16 million clinic treatments per year, up to four million could be provided on an outpatient basis, i.e. also by general practitioners. For example, inguinal hernia and joint operations could accordingly run in the future in such a way that patients come in the morning and are taken home in the afternoon after the operation. Gassen cynically remarked: "Infections caused by dangerous hospital germs would thus be reduced."


Already now, legally insured persons often have to wait many months, sometimes well over half a year, for appointments with a specialist doctor. Imagine that these doctors would now be able to perform many millions of additional operations. In addition, aftercare and complications of the operations would also have to be taken over by the resident doctors.


A hospital reform is to come in 2024. This law of Federal Minister of Health Lauterbach has a similar goal. Certain hospital visits should be possible without overnight stay in the hospital and thus be cheaper, because staff could be saved, especially during night shifts. There is also approval from the coalition partner, the FDP. In the end, the workers in this country will have to pay more for less in the future.