The current debate about health care generally centres on the treatment of diseases. And yet many diseases and conditions could be avoided, or their progression slowed down, through health promotion and prevention. So we want a change of direction, to take account of the growing threats to health, and we want a move away from health care as "repair operations" and towards prevention and health promotion. Particular account should be taken, in this context, of the needs and life circumstances of children and socially disadvantaged groups. We want prevention services which are relevant and accessible in people's daily lives. Income and background should not be the determinants of health status. In short, our goal is a system of prevention which starts at birth, empowers children and young people in nurseries and schools to become health-aware and opt for a healthy lifestyle, and supports people during their working lives and retirement.
We want a consistently patient-centred approach to health care. Treatment processes and care structures must be geared towards patients' needs and interests. All the health and social care services must work together to ensure that individuals get the right treatment and care that they need. The growing numbers of chronically sick and people with multiple illnesses are particularly reliant on these "joined up" services. However, this approach, known as "integrated care", is still the exception rather than the rule. We want to make it the rule, thereby also helping to promote linkages, based on equality, among all the health professions.
Sustainable and equitable
A patient-centred health system needs sustainable and equitable financing. At present, the most affluent and, on average, the healthiest population groups can withdraw from the system of solidarity-based cost-sharing. The statutory health insurance schemes are funded solely by contributions from wages, pensions and unemployment benefit, whereas income from assets and profits is exempt. This is unjust: it drives up contributions to an unnecessarily high level and puts at risk the capacity of the health insurance schemes to respond adequately to growing demand. So we want to introduce a citizens' insurance scheme which ensures that every citizen participates in solidarity-based cost-sharing. Contributions will also be payable on income derived from assets and profits.
The expansion of prevention and health promotion, a patient-centred approach to health care and sustainable financing of solidarity-based health insurance through a citizens' insurance scheme – these are ambitious goals. We Greens believe that working to make them a reality is a worthwhile objective.