The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
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.
- Part 1: What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
- Part 2: Integration 101
- Part 3: Are Refugees More Violent?
- Part 4: Frustration and a Lack of Resources
- Part 5: Teaching Refugees to Swim
- Part 6: 'A Challenge Like No Other'
- Part 7: The Doctor's Advice: Learn German and Be Patient
- Part 8: A 1.5 Billion Burden for the Healthcare System?
- Part 9: Dancing Away Stereotypes and Prejudice
- Part 10: The Midwife's Migraine
- Part 11: Germany Will Need 20,000 New Teachers for Refugees
- Part 12: 'We Need Time'
- Part 13: 'We Will Only Manage This If We Have the Infrastructure'
- Part 14: 'We Will Undergo a Multicultural Transformation'
- Part 15: Refugees at Our Doorsteps
- Part 16: 1.09 Million Refugees Registered in 2015
- Part 17: Policing the Refugee Camps
- Part 18: The Refugee Bill
- Part 19: Integration Will Be a Task for Decades to Come
- Part 20: 'An Open Economy Would Be Unimaginable without Immigration'
- Part 21: BMW Courts Refugees
- Part 22: A Michelin Star and Refugees
- Part 23: 'What Is a Petroleum Technician?'