The key similarities and differences between health care systems in EU Member States
The European Union is a formation that is comprised of several states belonging to a particular legal environment. It means that there are specific similarities in legislation. For instance, in 1992 institutions of the EU adopted a set of regulatory measures that should be applied to the sphere of health insurance1. It resulted in the appearance and development of diverse practices aimed at the preservation of the level of health and its improvement in the majority of the EU states. For instance, private health insurance might be sold by diverse entities, both public and private to guarantee that its buyers will be provided with the needed health services2.
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It is one of the central similarities between health care systems in the EU. Additionally, there is one more common feature peculiar to the majority of the EU Member States. The fact is that care is provided through health systems3. In other words, every member state is responsible for offering medical services to citizens via a systemic arrangement of public and quasi-market relationships4. Additionally, every state of the EU is obliged to protect the health of the nation within its territory using health insurance and other methods.
At the same time, there are several differences in the functioning of health care systems in EU Member States that are preconditioned by the peculiarities of local legislation. For instance, one of the key differences is the extent of centralization of health system administration5. Some states might manage their public health systems at the national level by suggesting specific recommendations to all units across the country. Other members of the EU administer these entities at sub-national levels6. These differences result in the emergence of numerous divergences in the ways how health sectors are organized and function. However, the central vector of their development and reforming remain similar for all EU states.
Patient mobility based on EU law affecting health systems
Patient mobility is one of the central issues of the modern health care system of the EU. The fact is that the freedom of movement of people within Europe demands the provision of the appropriate health services and care if some emergent situation appears7. Additionally, the increase of the extent of EU citizens mobility means that efficient regulation is needed to adapt health systems to these new conditions and ensure the collaboration across borders8. For this reason, under the impact of these factors, the majority of member states introduced specific regulations to guarantee that all citizens of the EU will be provided with the access to all needed medical services.
That is why the prior authorization that might be demanded to receive health care services abroad is considered a significant barrier to the free movement of services and should be eliminated to ensure that all individuals will be able to move in diverse directions across the EU9. At the same time, tendencies towards the further increase in the patient mobility give rise to numerous appeals for better coordination between states and their health sectors with the primary aim to ensure that all individuals will obtain the needed care10. In such a way, patient mobility is one of the central factors impacting the EU health system and promoting its further integration and enhanced cooperation between member states. At the same time, numerous changes appear due to the future rise of patient mobility and their desire to obtain care in diverse regions.
Hervey, T., & McHale, J. (2015). European Union health law. Themes and implications. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Thompson, S., & Mossialos, E. (n.d.). Private health insurance and the internal market. Web.
- Thompson, S., & Mossialos, E. (n.d.). Private health insurance and the internal market. Web.
- Hervey, T. & McHale, J. (2015). European Union health law. Themes and implications. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.