Special Train to Brussels

400 Leuphana students present model for healthcare reform to EU Parliament

Lüneburg. About 400 students of Leuphana University of Lüneburg will remember the initial phase of their studies at Leuphana for a long time. During the kick-off week last year, they developed the best proposal for reform of the German healthcare system - a proposal which was met with great interest all over Germany. On June 19, 2012, the award-winning students will take a special train of Deutsche Bahn AG for a one-day visit to Brussels. Upon the invitation of members of the Social Democrats, the European People's Party, the Green Party, and the Liberals in the European Parliament, they will present their model to the European institutions. The students will meet with the current President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, as well as with Members of Parliament and senior representatives of the European Commission at the Plenary Room of the European Parliament.

At the start of the last winter semester, 1,800 first semester students were given the task to develop models for radical reform of the public healthcare system of the Federal Republic of Germany. Divided into 120 teams, they explored potential features of a comprehensive healthcare reform and discussed them with about 100 experts from the fields of health, politics, self-government, science and health insurance. All proposals were judged by a prominent jury. The proposal submitted by the "Deutschland Versicherung" group was rated best. This group developed a model according to which all citizens are to receive basic statutory healthcare and which allows for greater transparency of the services provided.

Raimund Becker, member of the jury and of the Executive Board of the German Federal Labor Agency, found that the proposal submitted demonstrated a high degree of practical suitability. "Politicians should look at the ideas brought forward by the students. Similar approaches in Sweden and Switzerland show that such models can be put into practice."

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, can't wait to meet the visitors from Leuphana. "Against the backdrop of a fictitious decision of the European Court of Justice, the students have succeeded in elaborating on a highly complex and controversial topic. This has really impressed us. Now they can find out whether their proposal withstands critical review by experienced Members of Parliament."

The trip to Brussels has been made possible thanks to the commitment of Deutsche Bahn AG. The Head of Marketing, Dr. Manuel Rehkopf, said: "We are glad to support a project as innovative as the Leuphana kick-off week. It contributes greatly to enabling young people from the very beginning to look at social issues in a solution-focused manner. This is what Deutsche Bahn stands for in its function as both a highly innovative public service provider and a responsible employer."

Holm Keller, Vice President of Leuphana, is greatful for the support provided by the EU Parliament and Deutsche Bahn AG: "The students worked hard during the kick-off week. The trip to Brussels acknowledges the quality of their results and gives the 400 participants the opportunity to discuss intensively their reform plan with experienced politicians."

Since 2007, the kick-off week has been part of Leuphana's successful concept for introducing a new model of studies. During their first days at Leuphana, all freshman students are faced with a complex task, which they have to solve in interdisciplinary teams. Right from the very beginning of their studies, the young academics experience the benefits of teamwork and project management. By exchanging ideas with their fellow students, they also acquire the ability of looking beyond the boundaries of their own discipline.