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Doctor 'yoga-bonus' leaves coalition tense

Published: 07 Apr 2012 16:19 GMT+02:00

Health Minister Daniel Bahr, of the FDP, has floated the idea of paying extra to doctors who promote activities such as yoga, Nordic walking or massage therapy to their patients.

“Prevention is a varied topic and it makes sense to integrate it into a doctor’s approach,” said a ministry spokesman.

The intention is to motivate doctors to think more widely about preventative treatment for their patients, but the pro-business party’s plan has triggered outcry from other politicians - and insurance companies.

Florian Lanz, spokesman from the statutory health insurance organisation, GKV, said he opposed the idea. Some doctors earn up to €160,000 putting them among the top earners in Germany and should not need additional ways to make more money.

“We want doctors to be looking after ill people who really need their help, like those with diabetes or cancer,” he told Die Welt daily newspaper.

FDP party leader Philipp Rösler, came up with the idea and passed it down to Bahr when he moved from the position of Minister for Health, the paper said.

It has not been accepted by Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives, the main partner in the coalition, and according to reports from the Berliner Zeitung on Saturday they would be writing a proposal to contradict the FDP’s idea.

According to the paper they, like the GKV, feel giving doctors more money is unnecessary and that a more wide-reaching approach is needed to better prevent illness.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:41 April 7, 2012 by pepsionice
Here's the deal...having spent fifteen years living in Germany and having taken my son to the German doctor on a number of occasions. You have a fair number of folks who show up on a monthly basis....with no real health issues other than pains associated with getting older. German doctors will quietly admit that they give out a fair number of prescriptions....that aren't anything other than vitamin doses, and that a small portion of their customer base really aren't ill enough to come and waste their time at the office. If they could convince these folks to go off to some Yoga instructor....it'd be a better use of doctor time, if you ask me. I realize this is a waste of medical funding....but everyone "thinks" they are getting help, and that's all that matters usually.
00:26 April 8, 2012 by Jazzineva
Typical FDP out to give money to doctors who already have it. I already go to a doctor who regularly recommends holistic activities but they cost me too much money because I have a chronic illness which makes it very difficult to work. A better solution would be to put the same money into deductions for the patients to participate in these very helpful preventative offerings like Yoga, Tai Chi, PMR, Nordic Walking, etc. Regardless, I still find the health care offerings and encouragement for preventative measures here in Germany far, far better than the system in the United States.
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