Claudia Lenke (not her real name) has had serious hearing problems since she was a teenager. In recent years, the 39-year-old dental assistant’s hearing has gotten progressively worse.
Though she has managed to get by at work by reading patients’ lips, she long held out hope that a more advanced hearing aid would drastically improve her day-to-day life. Her health insurance provider, however, denied her application for a high-quality device.
Germany’s public health-care system may be the envy of much of the world, and unlike the U.S. health-care system hasn’t changed fundamentally for decades, but that reputation belies a growing number of systemic maladies, industry experts say.
They argue that the system, which harks back to the days of Germany’s first chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, is failing in its key mission: to ensure the well-being of patients.