November 18, 2009, - 12:04 pm

Germany Trying to Escape Obama’s Great Idea of German-Style Healthcare

By Debbie Schlussel

The geniuses in the Obama Administration pushing ObamaCare keep telling us that we need to be like Europe.  And, in that vein, they’ve modeled the national healthcare plan they’re pushing on the German one.  They keep telling us ours won’t be like Canada’s or Great Britain’s.

Nope, it’ll be like this gem in Germany:


Germany’s century-old universal health-care system, a model cited by reform advocates in the U.S. Congress, is buckling under the weight of a growing deficit that has forced the government to explore an overhaul. . . .

Costs are shared between employers and workers, whose premiums are staggered according to income.

Recently, however, the costs of the system have exploded. Rising medical costs and unemployment will leave the system €7.5 billion ($11.1 billion) short next year. Germany’s sinking birth rate and rapidly aging population mean the gap will only get worse.

Those trends will likely leave the government with no choice in the short term but to raise mandatory employee contributions. Germans already pay 8% of their gross wages into the centralized health-care pot, while their employers contribute an amount equal to 7% of gross wages.

Steadily rising health-care costs mean raising premiums can serve only as a stop-gap solution. In the long term, analysts say, Germany will almost certainly be forced to make painful cuts to a system that to many here is sacrosanct.

The financial strains on Germany’s health-care system underscore the challenges the U.S. could face if it adopts elements of the Bismarck model. Critics of U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats’ health overhaul plans argue the legislation winding through Congress doesn’t do enough to rein in spending and would saddle the government and Americans with higher health-care costs.

Charged with shaking up the system is Germany’s new health minister, Philipp Rösler, a rising star in the Free Democratic Party, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new governing partner. . . .

Ultimately, Mr. Rösler and his allies want to establish a basic level of coverage for all that could be bolstered by buying additional private insurance.

Ah, so nationalized healthcare doesn’t work, they’re essentially saying. And to make up for the gap, people will have to buy private insurance. Hmmm . . . isn’t private insurance allegedly “discriminating” against the poor and those with pre-conditions the thing ObamaCare is supposed to solve?

It’s very clear it doesn’t solve that. Germany, with this move, is moving away from government healthcare toward private providers because government can’t afford it. And yet the ObamaCare proponents are citing Germany as an example of how government healthcare works better than private insurance?

Someone’s not paying attention. And it isn’t the opponents of this looming disaster of nationalized healthcare.

Meanwhile, our “universal healthcare heroes” in Germany are facing a horrible economic crisis, to which their healthcare plan contributed in no small part. Angela Merkel is proposing tax cuts in addition to her man Rosler’s suggestion of a return to partial private insurance coverage. They’re trying to be more capitalist and conservative in order to raise themselves up. And we’re trying to emulate their failed socialism to “raise” ourselves down.

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6 Responses

We’re facing the same problems as Germany and want to destroy a mostly good health care system in the name of “saving” it. The Germans can’t afford nationalized health care anymore.

We can’t afford Obamacare and no – it still wouldn’t be a good thing to have even if it really cost us nothing.

NormanF on November 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm

After stopping Obamacare, we next have to stop all undeclared, unjustified wars because we – the United States – cannot afford them either.

Ramjordan on November 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I don’t think there are any solutions here, unless one is willing to accept a multi-tiered health care system based on the Market and one’s personal wealth.

It is an indisputable fact that we currently have the best health care system in the world, and no one is close enough to us for there to even be a “second place”.

However, the “backbone” our our health care system is that corporations pay for their employees health care. Over the years many corporations have dropped (or even discontinued) providing health care for their employees. One reason this trend is going to continue until few if any employers offer health care is that we are in a global economy where American Corporations are at a cost disadvantage because foreign corporations do not pick up the tab for health care (Germany is an exception, but I bet this is to some extent also responsible for their problems).

As for “controlling costs”, HMOs have already tried that. Do I need to say more?

In terms of waste, maybe we can cut, maybe we can’t. However it will not make much of a difference because people want to make their own health care decisions (with their physicians) and still have the insurance companies pay up. The same goes for tort reform.

Any economist will tell you it is a recipe for disaster when one party decides how resources will be spent (doctors/patients in this case) and another party is the one footing the bill (The insurance companies in this case).

I am not too optimistic. I believe there has to be a public option since businesses cannot continue to pay for this benefit. Hopefully it will not take the form of what is being discussed now. Perhaps the government will give everyone vouchers (or a tax credit) to pay for it themselves. However this would be another government “wealth transfer” program plus whenever government money gets thrown in that creates an incentive for rising prices and waste (just look at college tuition with all of the financial aid that is available).

Can someone please make an optimist out of me? Am I wrong in how I have described the situation?

I_AM_ME on November 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Those who give up their freedom for temporary security deserve neither in the end.

NormanF on November 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Demand cannot be addressed without addressing supply. Where are the cries for internet medical school training programs? Is there any reason that an education that supposedly costs boo-jillion can’t be on the internet? Perhaps a person that passed the National Boards by studying on the internet get a government guaranteed slot at any school that accepts Federal money? I can see the day where a person trained on the net passes the Board and then tests out of classes freeing up more space for new doctors. Remember, they call it “practicing medicine” and most of that is not learned in school!

SenatorMark4 on November 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    No senatorMark4—you can’t learn medicine on the internet. First you take your undergrad lab classes. Then you have 2 years of intensive science classes for your 1st two years of medical school.

    But the remaining 2 years of med school and 3 -9 years of residency (5-11 years after 4 years undergrad and the 1st 2 years of medical school) are learned with patients under supervision, working 80-100 hours a week.

    Please get a clue. It’s not legal education.

    Occam's Tool on October 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm

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