This is going to open something of a can of worms:
Britons travelling abroad for health care, ranging from dental work to open heart surgery, will have their treatment funded by the NHS.
They will simply have to pay their travel and accommodation costs, plus any top-up fees if charges in the foreign hospital are higher than NHS costs.
Because, of course, any such rights in the EU apply to everyone.
The plans say that patients should not be given drugs or treatments that their own state system does not fund, and that where there are waiting lists, domestic patients should have priority over foreign patients. Beyond that, EU residents would be free to travel for non-emergency care in any of its 27 countries.
But I would assume that it would be only people who would be eligible in the home country for care who would be eligible in another for care. And it isn\’t true that all EU health care systems are in fact universal ones, not at all. Look at the withdrawal of French health care from early retirees for example (I think the reason is that they\’re not of an age to get pensioners\’ care an also have no income which is subject to the health care tax).
So the first necessity will be for each and every hospital in the EU to become expert in the eligibility standards of 27 different health care systems. Plus, of course, in the treatments and drugs available. So an English woman treated in France for breast cancer would be denied Herceptin, as she would at home, while a Scot or French one, in the same hospital, under the same oncologist, might get it.
That\’s going to be fun, isn\’t it?