It is currently being discussed whether the exemption from costs for the tests will be discontinued as of mid-October.
Berlin (dpa) – According to a newspaper report, the free corona rapid tests have already cost the federal government more than three billion euros this year. At the request of the Rheinische Post Düsseldorf (Thursday), the Federal Ministry of Health referred to information from the Federal Social Security Service (BAS). Accordingly, in 2021, the federal government paid 782 million euros for laboratory diagnostics, material costs for the antigen rapid testing (PoC procedure) 1.084 billion euros and for other services in accordance with the testing regulation – according to the Pap smear report – just under 1.75 billion euros . In addition, the federal government paid about 74 million euros for tests in integration centers and homeless shelters. In total, that will be just under 3.7 billion euros in 2021.
There is discussion about ending the waiver of costs for the tests in the future for all those for whom there is a vaccination advice. The Federal Ministry of Health proposed this for mid-October. It is believed that anyone who wishes to be vaccinated will have full vaccination protection by then. The tests will remain free for children as long as there is no vaccination advice for them, and for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
The German Association of Cities and Towns showed sympathy for it. Whoever refuses the vaccination makes a personal decision, which the state does not have to fund, CEO Gerd Landsberg told Handelsblatt. “The nationwide free citizen tests for all are devouring large sums of taxpayers’ money, which could be better invested in further vaccination campaigns.”
In contrast, the Greens’ health policy spokeswoman, Maria Klein-Schmeink, criticized the initiative in the same newspaper. The ministry leaves open how to ensure the survival of the test infrastructure. It is also not justified if only the “well-to-do” could be tested with an increasing number of infections in the autumn.
However, the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists (BAK) expects an increasing willingness to use the vaccinations, which are also free, in the case of paid tests, as chamber president Thomas Benkert of the “Rheinische Post” said.