EU Cross-border Healthcare Directive delayed

According to EurActiv, an independent media portal dedicated to EU affairs, the EU Cross-border Healthcare Directive which intends to lift restrictions on patients travelling for treatment in other EU countries could be either redrafted, withdrawn or downgraded.

The EU Cross-border Healthcare Directive has taken a couple of years to develop and was scheduled to go public on December 17th 2007. It became the main UK news story of the day (the EU had leaked early copies of the Directive to the media). But by midday, the EU had decided not to publish the Directive and announced a delay of 4 weeks or so in publication due to "agenda issues".

Methinks...that some governments including the UK were not too happy about the implications of the Directive and how it might place their own health system in a bad light as they became "exporters" of patients.

EurActiv believes that the Commission has been asked to redraft the Directive.

A representative of a medical stakeholders' organisation told EurActiv:

"This is an issue between the rich and poor EU member state. Health care costs vary widely across the EU, so it would be easier for rich countries to reimburse cheaper care abroad than for poor countries to reimburse their nationals seeking expensive care in wealthier countries."
According to a Commission spokeswoman, the proposal is still scheduled for publication at the "beginning of 2008".