Citizen dialogues show Germans want comprehensive healthcare reform

Robert Bosch Stiftung, Hertie School project “Restart” publishes results of German healthcare talks.

Germans would like to see a uniform health insurance system for all citizens, the introduction of “health” as a subject in schools, and doctors who have more time for their patients, according to the results of talks held with German citizens as part of the initiative "Restart: A health care reform workshop" (Neustart!). The initiative is a project of the Robert Bosch Stiftung with the Hertie School as academic partner. Professor of Health Governance Mujaheed Shaikh is the lead investigator and Hertie School postdoctoral researcher Alexander Haarmann is a research associate on the project.

 “Restart” aims to provide impetus for the future-oriented and patient-oriented development of the German health care system in the run-up to the 2021 federal elections. Its ultimate goal is to create a more sustainable healthcare system as called for in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Citizens' Report 2019, published by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, brings together the results of five dialogues on the future of the German healthcare system, in which some 400 randomly selected citizens took part in May. Reform proposals drawn up in the cities of Kiel, Rostock, Cologne, Freiburg, and Nuremberg/Fürth were made available online to a broad public for discussion. Citizen participation is a key component of the Restart project.  

The results were prepared by elected citizens' ambassadors and summarised in the six thematic areas of prevention and education, financing, quality and care, digitalisation, organisation of the health care system and the common good versus a business model. Above all, citizens demanded a move from a curative to a preventative health system. Their reform proposals include, for example, the introduction of a new school subject "health" that introduces children to the topic as early as possible.

In addition, they want a health care system that is not geared towards maximising profits but towards the common good. They propose the introduction of a single, compulsory health insurance scheme.   Taxes on unhealthy food and luxury foods could serve as additional financing for the health system, according to the Citizens' Report.  

Already at the beginning of December, the ambassadors discussed the results with experts from the initiative. At the invitation of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Hertie School, these workshops examined key aspects of future reform proposal. Five further civic dialogues will follow in 2020, in which citizens will comment on the experts' recommendations.

Find out more about the Restart project here. 
More about the citizens dialogues can be found here (in German).

More about Mujaheed Shaikh