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Chapter 18Commonalities and differences FRG vs GDR: Health Care

Harald Hauswald @ Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung

Every citizen had a right to free healthcare in the GDR, with the polyclinic being a symbol of healthcare politics in the GDR. In West Germany a two-class system, public and private health insurance companies.

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Harald Hauswald @ Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung

Part of the series Divided Germany, the wall and reunification

26 materials

Life in the GDR and the FRG

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  • Teaching material is available in the following languages German, English

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Youth culture in divided Germany

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Germany between 1945 and 1996

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A day at the Berlin Wall

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  • Teaching material is available in the following languages German, English

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Description

Every citizen had a right to free healthcare in the GDR, with the polyclinic being a symbol of healthcare politics in the GDR. In West Germany a two-class system, public and private health insurance companies, offered more choices, but where was it more affordable to be sick? In East or West Germany? Does free health care equal lower quality healthcare? Fast forward to our present: How much should healthcare cost and who should pay the bill?

Videos

1. GDR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Hospitals, nurses, doctors, ambulances, patients: Take a look at private videofootage recorded by GDR citizens about their own healthcare system. 

2. DIFFERENCES IN HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS
How did the East and West German health care systems differ? Donna Harsch, PhD, professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University explains GDR's nationalized healthcare system and FRG's mixed (public/private) health care system. 

3. PRO-LIFE VS. PRO-CHOICE AND PARAGRAPH 218
In 1949 when they parted ways, East Germany and West Germany inherited paragraph 218, an anti-abortion law. What did both countries make of paragraph 218? Was the distinction between pro-life and pro-choice as important in Germany as it is in the US? 

4. AFFORDABILITY OF HEALTHCARE
Where was it more affordable to be sick? In East Germany or West Germany?

5. CHILDCARE IN THE GDR
Along with its childcare system, the GDR's health care system is what most East Germans miss about their former country. Take a look to see footage of what Kindergarten looked like in the East. 

6. QUALITY OF HEALTHCARE
Ewen Li of Mt. Lebanon HS in Pittsburgh, PA, asks Donna T. Harsch, PhD: Did the quality of healthcare in East Germany decrease in order to compensate for its free cost? Does free health care equal lower quality healthcare?

7. GERMANY'S CURRENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
Ewen Li of Mt. Lebanon HS in Pittsburgh, PA, asks Donna T. Harsch, PhD.: Does the current health system of Germany model itself after the health care system of East Germany (GDR) or West Germany (FRG)? Or is it a combination of both?

PARTNERS
Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur (Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship), German Consulate General New York, German American Partnership Program (GAPP), American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) and Spark for German.

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