In spite of the growing criticism of the social welfare principles, the social health insurance model is remarkably stable in Europe. Key features of this model are even implemented in more market oriented models (as in Switzerland) and in national health systems as in the United Kingdom. In Germany, however, the discussion is almost solely centred around the argument of globalisation of capital and labour and, subsequently, the high additional costs on labour. This endangers social security which is financed through wages. If the social welfare system in Germany would be abolished de facto and not intelligently adapted, this would be a dramatic signal against social principles all over Europe. Consequences for social medicine as a scientific discipline are: Social medicine as a public health discipline with the goal of equality in health care must get involved in health politics. Social medicine as an empirical science has to evaluate- and refute, if necessary-existing myths and prejudices. Social medicine needs a stable network for research, teaching and practice-this is the growing field of "public health".