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Germany repeals €10 quarterly charge for visiting the doctor

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7670 (Published 12 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7670
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

Germany’s Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, has unanimously voted to repeal the so called “medical practice fee,” which requires patients aged 18 years or older who are insured by the nation’s public health insurance system to pay a €10 (£8; $13) charge for their first visit to the doctor in each calendar quarter.

The charge, collected at doctors’ and dentists’ offices, is then funnelled into the public health insurance system, which covers more than 90% of the population. Since 2004, when the fee was created partly to discourage unnecessary visits to the doctor, the charge has netted nearly …

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