Barbara is a story about, well, Barbara Wolff, a doctor in communist East Germany in 1980. To be able to understand the film, you must first know a little back story. She previously worked at the prestigious Charite at the capital, but after signifying her intent for an exit visa from the German Democratic Republic to work overseas, she was laid off from work and was instead reassigned to a provincial hospital.
One scene includes Barbara on a train with the local security official saying something like "since the people has funded your studies, it is time that you return their favor". It's a familiar phrase that begs a lot of explanation, but I guess, back then, as it is still now, we don't have the courage to question it.