December 2, 2009
BERLIN - OCTOBER 13: A family doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to a patient's breathing at her office on October 13, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. German political parties currently involved in federal government coalition negotiations, including the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the business-oriented German Free Democrats (FDP), are currently haggling over a restructuring of Germanys' Health Fund, or Gesundheitsfonds, the fund that provides the basis for Germany's state health care system. The CSU is pushing for more flexibilty in how the system is funded in order to allow for freer competition between the 180 different health insurance companies within the state health care system. The health care negotiations are part of broader negotiations between the CDU/CSU and the FDP in the creation of a new coalition government following nationwide elections in Germany last September.