Mr Schröder’s other main target for reform is Germany’s overburdened and inefficient health system, which is one of the world’s most expensive. Health-insurance contributions, shared equally by employer and worker, have shot up and now represent 14.4% of gross wages. Mr Schröder wants to bring that down to under 13%. Though he has rejected proposals for the removal of certain services like dentistry and sporting accidents from the state system, he has decided to require private insurance for long-term sickness benefit, hitherto paid by the public health-insurance companies, and to transfer other benefits not related to health, such as maternity grants, to taxes. He also plans to introduce a fee for every visit to a doctor.