The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?


Part 8: A €1.5 Billion Burden for the Healthcare System?

What's in store for the German healthcare system?

A lot of refugees also means a lot of new patients. Public healthcare providers almost everywhere in Germany are looking for doctors to work in first aid stations, and in some places, doctors are even coming out of retirement to work in refugee shelters.

The German Hospital Federation (DKG) has tried to quantify the new status quo. Assuming migrants will visit hospitals as often as locals, then 1 million refugees per year translates to 160,000 additional hospital visits. This may sound daunting, but various data has shown that, on average, refugees incur about half as many costs as German patients. So, a million refugees a year means spending about €1.5 billion extra.

Relatively speaking, that's not a whole lot. Viewed on what it means for the healthcare system in economic terms, current levels of immigration are actually expected to bolster the German social welfare system in the long run. In traditional immigration countries such as Canada, Australia or the United States, researchers have long established that migrants are in general healthier than the local population. What is known as the "healthy immigrant effect" is nothing more than the fact that people who make their way to another country tend to be overwhelmingly young and healthy.

Specialists like Frank Ulrich Montgomery, the president of the German Medical Association, advocate treating refugees like any other patients. That means not sending them to first pick up a treatment voucher at their local welfare office, as is customary in many communities. And it means not only treating acute symptoms, but also chronic or mental illnesses.

But until they are granted asylum status, refugees in Germany are only granted limited access to the national healthcare system for the first 15 months after their arrival, with care provided only in cases of acute illness, an acute need for treatment or painful illnesses. Such limits on refugee healthcare have been the subject of considerable debate in recent months.

A doctor with a mobile clinic provides care to a refugee in the city of Tübingen. Most refugees are initially excluded by law from anything but urgent care.

A doctor with a mobile clinic provides care to a refugee in the city of Tübingen. Most refugees are initially excluded by law from anything but urgent care.

Discuss this issue with other readers!
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spiegelerin 02/21/2016
1. HOW do you integrate them?
I just saw a photo of Africans squatting on a boat waiting to come over and another load of them waiting in Libya. (Kaddafi said, watch what happens when they just hop over to Europe.) They are going to take an integration course and live well in hyper independent Germany? I don't think so. They are adults with different norms. When it comes to women, when it comes to how to cure AIDS (sleeping with virgins) when it comes to noise in the streets...the cultures will not harmoniously merge and European culture will have to deal with becoming less woman friendly, louder and so on...I don't see this happening at all well, but apparently "mixed" societies like in France and Belgium work 'well enough." But more are coming and I don't see harmony, at least not for people with European norms. Will this one get published? It's MY opinion, not that of SPON.
artvent 02/21/2016
2. Muslim Refugees
I'm sorry for these people, but you must realize they will live in their own ghettos and because of their religion will never assimilate - they will not contribute to your society because they are mostly uneducated and they will not respect their host nation. Just look at France if you want to see the problem. Most of all I feel sorry for the German people and what will happen to Germany in the years to come after this invasion. You will lose your identity.
bartelbe 02/21/2016
3. it won't work
You want to know what integration looks like? Integration is mixed families, it is muslim girls dating, sleeping with, marrying and having families with German men. That isn't going to happen, because if a muslim girl amoung these "refugees" decided to date a German man she would be dishonouring her family and would be punish. Let that sink in, your new arrivals reguard you with such contempt that if one of their female relatives dated one of your young men, it would be seen as a form of dishonour. If it was the other way round you would condemn that attitude as racist, but no doubt it will be swept under the carpet just like the events in Cologne. Sex and relationships reveals the truth about how people feel. Your new arrivals are not interested in integration, and they do not respect your culture. That is the truth and no amount of PC censorship will change that.
nsmith 02/22/2016
4. Integration Doesn't Happen Overnight...
Germany is going to find out that Integration is not as easy as "Wir Schaffen Das!" The United States of America was built on that same principle over 300 years ago, and we're still having problems with it.
spiegelerin 02/24/2016
5. The next task is to integrate them...
Yes, one integration course and they will learn European values of not grabbing women, of not thinking that women alone have no honor...One integration course and they won't be the desperate people who don't respect barriers, who don't jump trains. No, if You don't give them money and take care of their needs, they are going to get angry. Just take care of them, at any cost.
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