Foreign Policy Blogs

Healthy choices

Healthy choicesThe European Commission has put forward a proposal that would allow patients to seek out medical assistance in other countries irrespective of the approval of their health care provider. Citing principles of free choice, free movement and comparative advantage, EU Health Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou presented the plans in Brussels.

Though the Financial Times predicts the advent of ‘health tourism’ , Mrs. Vassiliou argues that effects would actually be beneficial:

"Every country is very eager to spend money on everything because there is a demand from their citizens. Gradually they will realise they cannot have everything. It is better to specialise in certain things and rely on your neighbour for something else and vice versa. There will be this pooling together of expertise and knowledge."

She also dismisses ideas of health care 'stop ‘n shop’:

“Few patients take up their right. By giving them more information it would open the option up beyond the rich who can already afford to travel, she said. "Ninety per cent of people prefer to stay at home where they know the language and the system," she said.



Cathryn Cluver

Cathryn Cluver is a journalist and EU analyst. Now based in Hamburg, Germany, she previously worked at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, Belgium, where she was Deputy Editor of the EU policy journal, Challenge Europe. Prior to that, she was a producer with CNN-International in Atlanta and London. Cathryn graduated from the London School of Economics with a Master's Degree in European Studies and holds a BA with honors from Brown University in International Relations.

Areas of Focus:
Refugees; Immigration; Europe


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