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Cablegate: German Health Minister Schmidt Traveling to U.S.

VZCZCXRO4165
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHRL #3156 3031452
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301452Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5880
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BERLIN 003156

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/AGS O'KEEFE, PASS TO HHS/OGHA SAYWER, WHITE
HOUSE FOR USTR WEIZEL AND HALE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EIND EINV SELAB PGOV SOCI GM
SUBJECT: GERMAN HEALTH MINISTER SCHMIDT TRAVELING TO U.S.

REF: BERLIN 2884, BERLIN 2769, BERLIN 1893

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Minister of Health Ulla Schmidt
travels to New York and Washington October 29 -
November 4 to meet with pharmaceutical companies,
consumer groups, and attend a Commonwealth Fund
symposium on health care policy. The trip is billed
by the Ministry of Health as another opportunity for
Schmidt to discuss German efforts at containing
health care costs and gathering information from the
U.S. and other sources on differing approaches to
management of health care costs. Schmidt is not
scheduled to meet with USG officials directly, but
her participation in the Commonwealth Fund's event
will allow her to engage with Secretary of Health
Leavitt. This trip is the third to the U.S. in
2006. END SUMMARY.

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2. (SBU) Schmidt arrives in New York on Sunday,
October 29. In New York she will focus on
pharmaceutical pricing and innovation. Schmidt has
three meetings planned. The first, with Eon Labs, a
subsidiary of Novartis specializing in generics,
will focus generic drugs. The second event is with
the new CEO of Pfizer, which the Ministry of Health
has billed as an introductory meeting. The third
meeting in New York is with AARP to discus Medicare
part D. (NOTE. Originally Schmidt ws going to
hold a round table discussion with th CEOs of major
U.S. pharmaceutical companies, but according to MOH
contacts, most of the CEOs wer unavailable. The
AARP event was scheduled as areplacement. END
NOTE.)

3. (SBU) November 1- 2, Schmidt will be in
Washington to attend theCommonwealth Fund's Ninth
International Symposium on Health Policy, "What
Makes a High PerformanceHealth Care System and How
Do We Get There?" The symposium will focus on the
problems and challenges facing health care systems
in the U.K., Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, New
Zealand and Germany. Schmidt and team have no plans
to meet with USG officials formally, but the
Commonwealth symposium might be an opportunity for
Secretary Leavitt and others to continue discussions

SIPDIS
on health care reform and U.S. cost containment
measures with the German delegation.

4. (SBU) One subject for possible discussion with
Schmidt and the German delegation in the context of
health care reform and cost containment is the U.S.
experience in the use of contracts and price
bargaining between insurers and health care
providers, e.g., pharmaceutical companies. Such a
discussion could directly support the on-going
dialogue over pharmaceutical pricing in Germany.
Another topic is how to care for uninsured and bring
them into the system. Germany currently has 300,000
uninsured, a number that has increased dramatically
in the past few years.

5. (SBU) At the Commonwealth Fund's symposium,
Schmidt will speak about the German health care
reform effort (see reftels). The draft law was
submitted to the Bundestag on October 27 and the
Coalition hopes it will come into effect next
April. Press coverage and the public debate to date
have been acrimonious. Almost all of the coverage,
however, focuses on two of the 14 different
proposals for health care reform: the creation of
the health fund and the status of private insurers.
Experts report these issues have received so much
coverage because they are likely to affect the
average consumer by increasing insurance premiums
and overall costs. The bill as currently drafted
does not deal directly with pharmaceutical pricing
issues which have been of concern to U.S.
manufacturers.

TIMKEN, JR

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