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Green politics in Germany: what is Green health care policy?

Wörz M, Wismar M

Int J Health Serv 31(4): 847-867




For the first time ever, a Green party has governed in Germany. From September 1998 to January 2001 the German Green party, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, held the Federal Ministry of Health. Little has been said so far about Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and its relation to health policy. This article is intended to fill that void. An analysis of the health policy program of the Greens reveals that it centers around moving the health sector toward more comprehensiveness and decentralization, strengthened patients' rights, increased use of preventive and alternative medicine, and a critique of the German cost-containment debate and policy. The current health policy program of the Greens is closest to that of the Party of Democratic Socialism, and to a lesser extent it has affinities to the program of the Social Democratic Party. The health policy program of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen is furthest from those of the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party. The health care reforms passed in 1998 and 1999 were not a shift toward a "Green paradigm" of health care policy, because they included no fundamental changes. In addition, cost-containment is still a major political goal in German health care policy.

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