Federal President Steinmeier visits his former challenger in Mainz and finds out about his work as a social medicine doctor. His conclusion: Don’t give up on the weakest!
During a visit to the medical outpatient clinic for the homeless in Mainz, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier exchanged views with those affected by poverty and need. He met the social medicine doctor Gerhard Trabert and thus returned his visit to Bellevue Palace in early March.
Trabert had previously challenged Steinmeier in the election of the Federal President in February – as a non-party candidate for the left. Refugees from Syria and Cameroon were among the head of state’s interlocutors at the Mainz citadel.
He sees it as his job as Federal President to “call attention to the fact that there are gaps in the system,” said Steinmeier. “Some fall through the cracks because they dropped out of health insurance for whatever reason in the course of their lives.” Therefore, ways must be sought to improve health care for people “who belong to the poorest, the weakest, the most vulnerable”. This also included responses to homelessness. “We can’t shrug off the fact that in our midst in a wealthy country people have to live on the streets.”
The distinguished guest entered the “Doctor’s Mobile” from Trabert’s Association for Poverty and Health in Germany and spoke to 89-year-old Wolfgang Fahr, Trabert’s oldest patient. He told the head of state how he had been “wandering around” for 30 years and had been imprisoned several times for “vagrancy”. He now lives in a retirement home. Steinmeier asked about Fahr’s 90th birthday and promised: “We’ll remember October 6th!”
The Federal President then met the 68-year-old disc jockey Michael Schweickert, who had no health insurance for a long time and had great problems getting back to an insurance company when he had complaints in old age. He was helped by the health insurance clearing house set up by “Poverty and Health in Germany”. “He’s not an isolated case,” said Trabert. “We repeatedly experience that health insurance companies do not provide legal advice.”