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Merkel presents coalition-saving health reform deal

Merkel presents coalition-saving health reform deal

German leaders thrashed out a deal on health service reform Thursday, hoping to draw a line under a bitter row in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition that threatened to unseat her government.
Merkel's conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition partners outlined plans in July to shore up the country's creaking health system.
The reform is designed to ease the burden on employers of spiraling health care costs, with the goal of stoking Germany's economy, Europe's largest.
However the parties have feuded openly about how to finance the shift, triggering speculation that the so-called "grand coalition" might break apart over its most high-profile reform plan.
"We have agreed on a far-reaching reform," Merkel said after seven hours of negotiations in her Berlin office. "This was only possible because all the parts of the grand coalition was prepared to give ground."
Merkel said her Cabinet hoped to approve draft legislation before the end of the month. The first measures foreseen in the reform are to take effect next April.
Merkel became Germany's first female chancellor in November after forging a left-right coalition between her Christian Democratic Union and its Bavaria-only sister party and the center-left Social Democrats.
After a flying start, her popularity and that of both parties have sagged during a summer of squabbling as they tackled what was always expected to be its most difficult reform.


Updated : 2021-06-20 09:22 GMT+08:00