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The policy contribution of the German Health Economic Centres
Germany's total health care expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 11.2% in 2013, which is one of the highest levels in the European Union. Total estimated health care expenditure was 314.9 billion Euros with a growth rate of 4% in comparison to 2012. The statutory health insurance (SHI) insures roughly 85% of the population (about 70 million people) in one of their more than 120 sickness funds and spent 181.5 billion Euros on health care in 2013.
Looking at these figures, it is hard to imagine that the scientific disciplines 'health economics' and the related discipline 'health service research' are still in their early, but rapid growth stages in Germany. Too little had been invested in research in these fields, while other countries had already demonstrated how strong research communities could significantly contribute to a better provision of patient care. In 2006, the German Network for Health Service Research was founded.