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Much criticism of the planned care reform in the Bundestag


Millions of people are burdened by rising costs for care. The federal government wants to take countermeasures with a reform. But it met with little approval, as the debate in the Bundestag shows.

As it is now, care cannot remain – everyone in the Bundestag agrees on that. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach said that first of all, long-term care insurance needed more money: “We will make 6.6 billion euros available.”

Of this, around four billion euros flow into existing and new care services. For example, there should be more care allowance for those in need of care. “The nursing allowance will increase by five percent, which is an average of 270 euros more per year for the 2.5 million people who receive it,” said the SPD politician.

An overview of the most important points of the draft law on long-term care reform

Demands for more care allowance

And this increase is met with much criticism. Five percent more is far too little, criticized the Union. High inflation and energy prices would also drive up care costs, explained CSU MP Erich Irlstorfer: “The five percent increase announced for January 1, 2024 does not even cover the increase for the current year.”

Criticism of Lauterbach’s draft law even comes from the coalition. Marie Klein-Schmeink, deputy leader of the Greens, said there was room for improvement. For them, care at home is neglected. Around 80 percent of those in need of care are cared for by relatives – home care must be supported more. “That has to be the priority and that’s not yet included in this law in the way we would like.”

But many people in need of care in the home and their families are financially at their limit, criticized the left-wing MP Ates Gürpinar: “If they end up in care, they quickly become poor with costs well over 2000 euros, even with an average income.” Although the surcharges that the nursing care fund pays to residents in nursing homes are to be increased from 2024, this is just a drop in the bucket for the left.

With the reform, the government wants to react to rising costs in care – criticism comes from associations.

Criticism of increasing the care contribution

The draft law on the care reform also provides that each individual should pay more into the care fund in the future. From July onwards, the care contribution is to be increased by 0.35 percentage points, and even more for childless people. Families with several younger children are excluded.

Martin Sichert from the AfD protested against higher care contributions: “Real wages fell by four percent last year. In these difficult times, when wages are falling, we have to relieve the burden on the citizens and not burden them.”

But how should the increasing care costs be paid for? The liberals also emphasized that ever higher contributions could certainly not be the solution. The FDP MP Nicole Westig has already made it clear: “At this point we are also giving a clear rejection to all renewed demands for citizen insurance or a change in the contribution assessment ceiling.”

Members of the Bundestag from various parties advocated putting more tax money into the nursing care fund in the future. How to proceed with the draft law on care reform will be discussed next by the MPs in the responsible committee.