Abolition of the practice fee in 2013

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Practice fee will be abolished from 2013: Since its introduction, the practice fee has been heavily criticized. Now the payment of ten euros per quarter due when visiting the doctor will be abolished again from 2013, according to one of the results of the coalition summit of the government parties at the weekend.

For months now, the coalition parties from the CDU, CSU and FDP have also been discussing the possible abolition of the practice fee. In view of the good financial situation in the health fund, the FDP and in particular the Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr and FDP Federal President Rainer Brüderle had spoken in favor of abolishing the practice fee. At the coalition summit, the party was apparently able to assert itself with its position, but apparently, in return, has signaled its approval of the previously controversial childcare allowance. A not uncontroversial compromise that the opposition also branded as a cow trade.

Elimination of the practice fee from the first quarter of 2013 Members of the statutory health insurance (GKV) can look forward to the elimination of the practice fee from 2013. The federal government agreed surprisingly quickly, not least because of the massive surpluses in the health fund, to abolish the fee due when visiting a doctor. Several times, among other things, the chairpersons of large statutory health insurance funds had commented critically on the practice fees, since these did not exert the hoped-for control effect, entail considerable bureaucratic effort and represent an unnecessary burden for the patients. Some health insurance companies have already announced that they will use the current surplus, among other things, to repay the practice fees to the insured.

Abolition of the practice fee, relief for doctors and patients From the first quarter of 2013, the previous 10 euros per quarter will no longer be due when visiting a doctor, according to the agreement at the coalition summit at the weekend. This decision should represent a significant relief for both the doctors and the insured. Initially, the Federal Council dealt with the possible abolition of the practice fee last week, but then referred the decision to the coalition parties. These have now agreed on an end to the practice fee. The Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) rejected the criticism of the opposition about the alleged cow trade, which provides for an abolition of the practice fee in return for the approval of the FDP for the care allowance, towards the news channel "n-tv".

Cow trade: childcare allowance against abolition of the practice fee The abolition of the practice fee is "not a gift, but a necessary measure", said Bahr in an interview with the news broadcaster. Since the health insurance companies had amassed high surpluses, "it was right that these surpluses should be used to relieve the burden on citizens - namely from the main annoyance for years, the practice fee," explained the Federal Minister of Health. Bahr described the practice fee as "a toll in the doctor's office that people did not understand and that only led to burdens and bureaucracy." That is why the current decision was "a strong signal from the coalition to relieve the burden and cut red tape." However, this is only half the truth, because at the coalition summit the FDP's approval of the childcare allowance was also signaled, which in turn will lead to a considerable additional bureaucratic effort. The critics from the ranks of the opposition see a lazy compromise here.

Abolition of the practice fee welcomed by many parties Detached from the other decisions of the coalition summit, the swift abolition of the practice fee is a move that is advocated by many parties. Opposition politicians also welcomed the fact that the statutory health insured benefited in this way from the billions of surpluses in the health fund and health insurance companies. This also strengthens GKV's competitive position vis-à-vis private health insurance (PKV), because private patients do not have to pay any practice fees anyway. (fp)

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