Michael Stolpe (Kiel Institute, PA "The Global Health Economy" and DFG-Cluster of Excellence Inflammation at Interfaces)
We compare health policy under the Nazi dictatorship during the 1930s and 40s to the broad current European consensus that health systems with equal access for all and with respect for individual dignity and human rights are an ethical necessity and a key driver of social cohesion. Health policy under the Nazis was subservient to their goal of „racial hygiene,“ intending to remove the „burden” of feeding alleged members of „foreign races,” in particular the Jews, and anybody with mental disabilities or some other chronic health conditions. Nazi health policy systematically violated basic human rights – rejecting their ethical foundations in the values established by Germany’s long Jewish-Christian and humanistic traditions – and included forced sterilizations, forced abortions and ultimately mass-murder of those, adults as well as children, whose lives the Nazis labelled „not worth living.“ Without acknowledging this historical background, the broad post-war consensus that led Western Europe’s democracies to provide equal access for all cannot be fully understood. For Germany, we argue that an inclusive health system is a key question of national identity. After reviewing Nazi health policy, including its intellectual sources, we spell out some implications of the post-Nazi consensus for value-based healthcare finance in today's world.