March 5, 2004
Important step towards a European care market
EU citizens are now entitled to seek medical care anywhere within the EU and to have it paid for by their country of domicile. The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court’s decision recently, ordering the Swedish Social Insurance Office to pay for rheumatoid patient Susanne Jelinek’s treatment in Germany, merely confirms the case law which has evolved in the past few years. If the foreign alternative is judged more efficient from the patient’s point of view than care in the home country, the latter cannot even insist on the patient applying in advance to be treated in another country.
This opens up a European care market – a major step towards the free movement which the EU has always aimed for.
It is not for the EU to decide how medial care is to be organised or priorities defined, but by clearly asserting people’s freedom of movement and their freedom to establish services and enterprises within Europe, the Union is decisively contributing towards an infrastructure from which all care consumers will benefit.
The European medical care market is opening up. As yet the door is only ajar. Once it is opened wide, the possibilities will be enormous.
Photo: Frontier Centre President Peter Holle with Charlotte Cederschiold, Deputy Speaker, European Parliament, Kersti Hjertqvist and Johan Hjertqvist, Director, Timbro Health Consumer Policy Centre after October 2003 Health Reform Conference in Stockholm, Sweden.
is the founder and president of the Health Consumer Powerhouse in Brussels, the European do-tank for better healthcare by consumer information and knowledge. Before the Powerhouse, Mr. Hjertqvist was the manager of Timbro Health Policy Unit, a division of the Timbro Policy Group in Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Hjertqvist has a background in health care policy and welfare entrepreneurial activities. Beginning in 1999 he led a four-year project to analyze the transformation of health care in the Stockholm region which resulted in three comprehensive reports. His “The Stockholm Health Care Revolution” published in 2000 is an internationally well-known inspiration to reform. During the 1990’s, Mr. Hjertqvist played an active role in the transition of internal market ideas to a number of countries, UK, Norway and Canada not the least. Mr. Hjertqvist has also acted as an advisor to the Greater Stockholm Council, specializing in market infrastructures where purchasers and providers can meet and the focus of his projects between 1995 – 99 was on creating new arenas where private health care entrepreneurs and contractors could come together to strengthen the impact of market pluralism. Mr. Hjertqvist has a Master of Laws degree from the University of Stockholm and is a member of international health care networks and institutions such as the Stockholm Network in London and the Centre for the New Europe in Brussels and also serves on the Board of Research Advisors at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.