- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has agreed to raise health insurance premiums and trim profits for medical professionals as part of efforts to control a deficit in the health care system.

Merkel’s Cabinet formally signed off Wednesday on a package drawn up by the governing parties in July to try to ward off a euro11 billion ($14 billion) financing shortfall projected for 2011.

Health Minister Philipp Roesler said the overhaul would help sustain the system, but the opposition criticized the package for overcharging workers and failing to address problems behind rising costs.

Germany’s once highly regarded mandatory health insurance covers about 72 million people, or 90 percent of the population. It has already gone through a series of reforms.

The latest reform still requires parliamentary approval.

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