Some words on a censorship of the petition: “Reformvorschläge in der Sozialversicherung”

Reader F. Myschkin asked:

Do I get this right – your government is CENSORING YOUR COMMENT regarding health insurance tariffs ?!?!

My answer after the click.



Regarding censorship: As you can see, I can publish the petition and my opinion here on the blog. It is only that the petition is not going to be published on the official public petition website, since as I was told the text was considered as being too hard to understand for unbiased third parties.

That is I could in principle try to collect 80 000 or more votes on another website like this one here. However on randform this could be very costly for us that is we would probably need to close the randform site becuase of too much traffic, so I probably won’t try to push this petition much further. I may eventually transfer the petition though to another website.

The officials keep me informed about the petition process, that is I got meanwhile a copy of the report of the ministry of health which is informing amongst others about the fact that the german Supreme court approved the regulation (§ 240 Absatz 4 Satz 2 SGB V mit Beschluss vom 22.5. 2001) and that there exists a lower step tariff for people who can justify a “need” (german: “Bedürftigkeit”, in particular they explained this by saying that the income of your partner must not be too high).

The in the report mentioned lower step tariff for people in need has a Mindesteinnahmegrenze of 1312.50 Euro, which still gives a rather high step of 203. 44 Euro a month. On the information website of the health assurance TK this tariff is moreover declared as being only a kind of temporary tariff for “founders.”

What I sofar understood from the report is that the Supreme court had argued that the injustice of a step tariff is balanced against the fact that the health tariff for selfemployed is computed after deducing operation expenses. People who are not employed somewhere and who are not declared as self-employed can’t deduce operation expenses from their income and thus have to pay higher tariffs. Step tariffs are seen as a measure to restore this imbalance. So do I understand this correctly that operation expenses are seen by the supreme court as some kind of “income”, which is sort of unfairly not taken into account for computing the health insurance tariffs ?!

The Supreme court also seemed to argue that the risk of an entrepreneur (i.e. of a free lancer) should not be imposed on the community of employed health insurance members, moreover the step tariff appears also to be justified from the “viewpoint of fee justice and the feasibility of administration“.

In the report it is also mentioned that there exists a step tariff for employed health insurance payers. Sounds a bit to me as if the existence of one problematic regulation should justify another. It would probably also make sense to file a petition for the step tariffs for the health insurance of the employed. It is clear that step tariffs can be a problem in many regulations as can be seen not only at step tariffs for employed workers but also at the recent GEMA uproar (petition)(other randform post about GEMA).

Or in other words: it makes no sense to file a petition against making steps into curves (which is called in mathematics a discretization*) because it depends what and how you discretize!

*For the math interested reader: digitalization (i.e. making some things digital) can be seen as a special form of discretization.

20 Responses to “Some words on a censorship of the petition: “Reformvorschläge in der Sozialversicherung””

  1. Bibi Says:

    Tax declarations can be annoying. And the world is not fair. Everybody who has an income has to do tax declarations. I have a regular income and I can tell you that after one had figured out for once how to do the tax declaration then the next declarations are fairly easy. I think it makes no sense to complain about every tidbit. Finally the people in charge for the regulations have had their reasons and these might very well be reasons you haven’t thought about.

  2. Daily Meal Says:

    You seem to be an expert on Germanies social insurance system. Is it true that immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria get free social benefits when the come to Germany? Isn’t that expensive? And doesn’t it lead to crime and disorder?

  3. nad Says:

    I wouldn’t call myself an expert in the social insurance system. And I see my petition rather as a kind of bug fix.

    You are probably referring to the new court decision as described e.g. in this article here.(in german). According to the article new EU-immigrants, like from Romania and Bulgaria had prior to the court case no eligibility for social benefits. Now, after a romanian family sued for social benefits (Hartz IV) the court ruled that since they have been living for more than a year in Germany they shall now be eligible for benefits. The court case seems however not yet in force.

    I don’t know about the overall crime rate, but here in Berlin it increased, according to the 2012 Berlin police statistics. Especially burglary increased quite a bit and it is noted that:

    Unter den 325 nichtdeutschen Tatverdächtigen befanden sich u. a. 65 türkische und 43 polnische Staatsangehörige sowie jeweils 17 Tatverdächtige aus der Republik Serbien, Kroatien
    und Bulgarien. Innerhalb der letzten fünf Jahre (2008–2012) stieg der Anteil der nichtdeutschen Tatverdächtigen beim Wohnraumeinbruch insgesamt um 7,6 %-Punkte an.

    That is for burglary there were 125/325 nongerman burglary suspects that is 39% and in the years 2008-2012 there was an increase of 7.6% of that part of nongerman burglary suspects.

    There are rumors that there are going to be higher social insurance fees. In the article the cause for this is though attributed to higher wages and not to higher costs for the social system. In particular it is suspected that the above mentioned Beitragsbemessunggrenze is going to be raised.

  4. Daily Meal Says:

    Thank you for your fast answer. An increase of 7.6% of nongerman burglary suspects sounds as if there was not such an increase in burglaries after all.
    But still – I can imagine that it feels awkward to live among a growing amount of hostile strangers.

  5. nad Says:

    The 7.6% refers to the increase of the part of nongerman vs german. If you look at table 435**00 on page 62 then the total amount of burglaries doubled since 2006. In 2012 every 174th appartment and every 76th house was subject to a burglary or an attempt:

    Unter Berücksichtigung der Angaben des Amtes für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg zum Wohnungs- und Wohngebäudebestand, Stand 31.12.2011, war im Jahr 2012 statistisch jede 174.Wohnung bzw. jedes 76. Ein-/Zweifamilienhaus von einem Einbruch bzw. einem solchen Versuch betroffen.

    You wrote:

    But still – I can imagine that it feels awkward to live among a growing amount of hostile strangers.

    It seems that to some extend the nongerman suspects are traveling here. Some of the residents though seem to help them with the logistics:

    Im Gegensatz zu den
    Wohnungseinbrüchen handeln die Täter eher in den am Stadtrand gelegenen Ortsteilen, gute Fluchtmöglichkeiten durch Ausfallstraßen oder Autobahnanbindungen spielen hier
    auch eine Rolle.
    Die meisten Einfamilienhauseinbrüche verzeichneten die Bezirke Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Reinickendorf und Treptow-Köpenick.
    Insbesondere im Deliktsfeld des Einfamilienhauseinbruchs
    registrierte die Polizei Berlin ein verstärktes Handeln von reisenden Tätergruppen. Die Täter nutzen für ihre Reisebewegungen und zur Tatbegehung häufig nicht umgemeldete bzw. mit Kurzzeit- oder Ausfuhrkennzeichen versehene Fahrzeuge bzw. die Bahn.
    Reisende Täter(-gruppierungen) werden meist durch Hinterleute (Auftraggeber) aus demHeimatland entsandt, um über einen gewissen Zeitraum in einem bestimmten Gebiet Straftaten (Einbrüche) zu begehen. Die Tätergruppierungen verfügen über Ansprechpartner in
    den jeweiligen Gebieten (sogenannte Residenten), sodass sie sich nicht um die Logistik (wie z.B. Unterbringung) kümmern müssen. Diese Gruppierungen agieren hochprofessionell und
    unterliegen hierarchischen Strukturen.

  6. L. C. Savgan Says:

    nad wrote:

    What I sofar understood from the report is that the Supreme court had argued that the injustice of a step tariff is balanced against the fact that the health tariff for selfemployed is computed after deducing operation expenses.

    I find that a very sound juridicial argument. Finally if you can deduct your expenses for the health insurance from the Taxes you will get back money and in the end your net health insurance costs will be low enough.

  7. Bibi Says:

    @L.C. Savgan

    I had told nad already two years ago that she should look at her tax reports and that she should respect the decisions of her supreme court.
    But Mr. Savgan, what can I say: there are people who ignore useful comments sometimes.
    And then there are people who care a lot about their hairdo, so much that they don’t “find the time” to work.

  8. Bibi Says:

    @L.C. Savgan

    …and of course some people claim there are no freelancers in Germany, no journalists, no artists….

  9. Sissi Says:

    Concerning the discussion of Bibi and Mr. Savgan, nad – I would like to point out that there is a project called ELSTER which provides automated information about the dynamical and multilayered network of tax regulations. That is you don’t have to educate yourself about all those regulations, but you can fill out a form and let a computer programm calculate your taxes. In particular you could try what would happen if you would earn one Euro more than the 375 Euros/month and pay the health insurance as you described above and let the program compute the taxes you would have to pay. (Of course you have to erase this again before you hand in your real values :) ) That allows you to get an intuitive feeling of how well your descision would match with the societal priorites, which are recorded in the tax regulations.

  10. Bibi Says:

    Aren’t you in Berlin? Didn’t you read that hat article in Berliner Zeitung about the family health insurance?

    Experts suggest to political leaders that the family health insurance should be questioned and considered for abolition:

    Die Leistung schlug 2012 immerhin mit zehn Milliarden Euro zu Buche, führe aber langfristig zu Einkommensminderungen, da sie Frauen dazu ermutigen, nicht zu arbeiten. Katharina Spieß vom DIW sprach deshalb von einer besonders ineffizienten Maßnahme und wies darauf hin: „Bei ihrem Wegfall würde die Beschäftigungsquote um 1,1 Prozentpunkte steigen.“

    For your convienience I try to translate:

    The benefits accounted in 2012 for 10 billion Euro, but they lead to income reductions, since they encourage women not to work. Katharina Spieß from DIW pointed out that: “If they would be abolished the employment quota would raise 1.1 percentage points.

    I think that describes the situation quite well. There are some women who consider themselves too good for working. The economic situation in Germany seems currently not so bad, like I guess you could instantly find a job in a super market.

  11. L.C. Savgan Says:

    Bibi had written:

    I had told nad already two years ago that she should look at her tax reports and that she should respect the decisions of her supreme court.

    Yes I saw this comment but I was not sure wether nad would understand that paying health insurance leads to less taxes and that this has to be taken into account when considering the absolute health insurance amount.

    I think that describes the situation quite well. There are some women who consider themselves too good for working.

    I agree with you that laziness and foul arguments are quite an unbearable combination.

  12. L. C. Savgan Says:

    I wrote:

    I agree with you that laziness and foul arguments are quite an unbearable combination.

    Bibi wrote:

    I had told nad already two years ago that she should look at her tax reports and that she should respect the decisions of her supreme court.

    Yes you are of course right and I want to add:

    Disrespect, laziness and foul arguments are quite an unbearable combination.

    In particular a law is often made in order to protect the rights of the powerless, like tenancy laws (in german mietrecht) are made for protecting the tenants who are usually less powerful than the landlords. These laws are a wise construction in order to regulate societal life where the societal members do not need to know and bother about the cory details.

  13. CICI Says:

    Disrespect, laziness and foul arguments are quite an unbearable combination.

    You can often see the different types of “work-engagements” already by looking at people. If a person doesn’t even care about her or his own body and its appearance to others then this should send out alarming signs!

    If you look at those fotographs of nad then apart from the very visible excessive weight it is also clear that she already missed out relevant early mid age face lifts and that it will be very hard to correct that. One would probably need to research a lot to find a surgeon who would treat these protracted surgeries. I hope I do not sound too intimidating if I say “jowl-alert”!!!

  14. Dr. Headloom Says:

    I agree with CICI. And it is important to jump immediately into action. There are also very good financial plans available.

  15. Snop Uma Says:

    Savgan wrote:

    I find that a very sound juridicial argument. Finally if you can deduct your expenses for the health insurance from the Taxes you will get back money and in the end your net health insurance costs will be low enough.

    The germans may be harsh, but they have a great and recommendable taxation scheme.

  16. nad Says:

    L. Savgan wrote:

    I find that a very sound juridicial argument. Finally if you can deduct your expenses for the health insurance from the Taxes you will get back money and in the end your net health insurance costs will be low enough.

    Bibi said:

    I had told nad already two years ago that she should look at her tax reports and that she should respect the decisions of her supreme court.
    But Mr. Savgan, what can I say: there are people who ignore useful comments sometimes.

    The “low enough” is a debateable term. My critque is not intended as being unrespectful. The supreme court has a big load of things to decide on and so some things may be overseen.

    As I explained the health insurance costs for a freelancer are -if you earn one Euro more than 370 Euros (370 may be old information – I have to check for the new value) – suddenly at least around 4000 Euros a year (I.e. this is a step tarif).

    If we for simplicity now assume that the tax rate is 50 %, i.e. 0.5 (the highest income tax rate in Germany is actually only 45 %) then deducing health care should mean that your to be taxed income is 4000 Euros smaller and thus you pay 4000*0.5=2000 less taxes as for your income without the deducted health care, so you gain around 2000 Euros. But you still have to pay 4000-2000=2000 Euros for the health insurance which is now due to your one Euro higher income.

    If the tax rate is lower (like for a smaller income) then you can reduce even less i.e. your loss is more than 2000 Euros. If you live at the edge of what you can live on then a loss of more than 2000 Euros/year may be rather existential, or in other words depending on the circumstances “working for money” may be an existential threat in Germany.

    addition 17:33: I would like to point out that the above calculation has been made under the assumption (following the suggestion by reader Savgan) that one can deduce health insurances from taxes, in particular I don’t know to which extend this is possible for the case of german taxes. This comment here was thought to demonstrate that the problem would still be there – even with a full deduction possibility.

  17. think twice Says:

    There is an important aspect, which hasn’t yet been discussed here. If an entrepreneur is not able to make around 2000 Euro’s a month in Germany then -as I understood- he or she can only hardly sustain himself/herself and his/her business – let alone a family. In german an entrepreneur is called a “Selbstständiger”, i.e. an independent person, someone who can “stand on his/her own feet.” So having a hurdle for entrepreneurship seems to be a sensible thing. Or in other words if you are not able to generate enough income for yourself and your business then you are not independent and thus should you do something else, like for example find a job. That might not be your “dream job” but there are usually always some fairly decent jobs, like this site displays already 900 open job in math-related areas in Berlin.

  18. thinkthrice Says:

    That might not be your “dream job” but there are usually always some fairly decent jobs, like this site displays already 900 open job in math-related areas in Berlin.

    @thinktwice:

    Have you looked at these jobs? These are basically all bookkeeping jobs. You may not have read this comment here, but suggesting nad should go and work as a bookkeeper may eventually be not such a good suggestion.

  19. thinktwice Says:

    thinktthrice – bookkeeping jobs are nowadays quite different than back then! Alone the Double-entry bookkeeping system is now mostly computerized. So it may still be called “bookkeeping” but e.g. the word “book” in “bookkeeping” is obsolete. So I don’t quite understand how you could make this connection and compare her to her grandfather.

  20. lookonce Says:

    @thinkthrice

    It is awkward to make this connection with Nazi’s and bookkeeping. What do you want? Is this an attempt to discredit bookkeeping ?

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