Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has made the case that the Federal Ministry of Health (German: Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG) should become the majority shareholder of Gematik, the society for telematics applications of the health card, in order to speed up decision making on the German health care system digitisation. The change has been suggested through an amendment to the Term Services and Supply Act (TSVG).
Opposition to this takeover, however, has been voiced by the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV-Spitzenverband, GKV-SV) who stated:
“The Federal Ministry of Health wants to create here with the acquisition of 51 percent shareholder shares in fact a subordinate authority, but then pay the contributions paid by the statutory health insurance… This mixes competences, responsibilities and funding between state institutions and joint self-government, resulting in lack of transparency and unclear responsibilities.”
The GKV-SV point out that all recent deadlines have been met by Gematik and no resolutions passed at shareholders’ meetings were objected to by the BMG. It is also claimed that the BMG had this sole decision-making power in the past but did not progress digitisation in this time.
Further criticism has come from the German Medical Association (German: Bundesärztekammer, BÄK), who state:
“The coalition agreement still contains the government’s clear commitment to freelance work and self-government. Now, however, self-government in health care is to be undermined with a state administrative intervention. For de facto, the telematics company becomes a state executive when the Ministry of Health takes over 51 percent of the shares. That would be a system crash, which we strictly reject. Medical necessity, scientificity and the involvement of the stakeholders in self-government must remain basic principles of the development of our health insurance system, not state bureaucracy.”