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Health: Calls for rapid financial reform for care

Health: Calls for rapid financial reform for care

The number of people in need of care is increasing. But for now there is little prospect of reform in this election period. What can we do if the financial gaps grow?

In view of the sharp increase in the number of people in need of care, calls for financial reform are growing louder before the 2025 federal election. “The reform must come now, because the situation for those in need of care and their caring relatives will continue to deteriorate,” said the president of the social association VdK, Verena Bentele. The Verdi trade union demanded that a solution should not be postponed any longer. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had made it clear that he saw no chance of reform in this legislative period due to differences in the coalition – despite a recent “explosive” increase in the number of people in need of care.

Verdi board member Sylvia Bühler said: “An ideologically driven blockade policy by the smallest coalition partner, the FDP, is not a good basis for political action by the traffic light coalition.” The SPD and the Greens must show their stance and push through the urgently needed care reform. First of all, the care insurance must be relieved of non-insurance benefits. For example, the pension insurance for caring relatives must be financed from tax revenue. What is needed in the long term is a “solidarity care guarantee” that covers all care-related costs and into which everyone pays according to their income.

Next contribution increases in sight?

The Association of Substitute Health Insurance Funds in North Rhine-Westphalia told the “Rheinische Post”: “According to current data, ensuring the solvency of the entire system will probably require an increase in the contribution rate as early as the beginning of 2025.” The nursing care funds assumed that the financial resources in the first quarter of 2025 would amount to less than one month’s expenditure. In this case, the federal government could increase the contribution rate by legal regulation.

According to a reform already passed by the traffic light coalition, the finances of the nursing care insurance should actually be secured until 2025. This means that the contribution for people without children has already risen to 4 percent and for contributors with one child to 3.4 percent. The employer share has risen to 1.7 percent. Families with at least two children pay less contribution than before, relative to the employee share.

Green Party deputy Maria Klein-Schmeink said: “Our goal remains that care is financed fairly and reliably, and as quickly as possible.” To achieve this, it is important, among other things, that services that are not the responsibility of the nursing care insurance are financed from tax revenue. “This includes pension contributions for family carers.”

Relief also for caring relatives

Left Party leader Janine Wissler called for “solidarity insurance” for everyone. “It is necessary that everyone pays into a full care insurance policy according to their income.” The Catholic Caritas Association called for greater support, especially for families who care for people at home. It is urgently necessary to “create a social infrastructure that relieves the burden on relatives day and night,” said President Eva Maria Welskop-Deffaa to the newspapers of the Funke Media Group.

Lauterbach warned on Monday of an explosive increase in the number of nursing cases. Last year, around 35,000 more people were in need of nursing care than usual, according to the National Association of Health Insurance Funds. The number thus rose to 361,000.

Expert: People in need of care should pay costs themselves in the first year

Freiburg social expert Bernd Raffelhüschen advocated that those affected should have to pay the costs for one year. “The avalanche of costs can no longer be stopped. In order to mitigate the consequences, a care waiting period should be introduced as soon as possible,” he told “Bild”. Those in need of care would then have to pay the care costs themselves for the first year. “Only after that will benefits be paid out by the care insurance.” The economist predicted a sharp increase in contribution rates: “The care insurance could rise to around seven percent for those without children by 2040.”

Source: Stern

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