The new EU Health Commissioner Andrula Vasiliu announced that a draft directive, codenamed “Treatment without borders”, will be ready in June. According to this directive, EU citizens will be able to receive free medical services in other EU countries.
Brussels intends to officially offer citizens of the EU countries the right to free treatment in any of the 27 states of the European Union. However, not all and not always. Member countries will have the right to impose restrictions on the departure of patients to other EU countries if hospitalization is required. For example, by setting the condition that an operation abroad can only be sent if there is a large queue at home. The European Commission proposes to make outpatient treatment completely free. The costs in both cases are covered by the state budget of the patient’s country.
Many European countries express extreme dissatisfaction with this law. Particularly fierce opponents of the directive are countries with a good level of free medicine, in particular, the UK, Germany, Spain. They believe that innovation can destroy their health systems, which can not cope with the influx of sick foreigners.
The European Commission of Justice is on the side of the European Commissioner for Health, which is actively promoting this project. According to an earlier court ruling, the principle of freedom to receive and provide services should apply to medicine, however, the “specific nature of these services” should also be taken into account.
We can assume that the interest of the Latvians in this project will be great, given the deplorable state of our medicine. However, free treatment abroad will be available only to relatively wealthy people, since patients will have to pay for the trip and accommodation themselves.