Health Care and the Fate of Social Europe

10 June 2019

University of Copenhagen

As it transformed from a common market into an integrated political unit, the European Union began to be seen as not only an economic union, but also a social union. The evolution of health care in the EU as one element of this turn to a social Europe has been particularly remarkable given that health care was originally expected to remain under national, rather then European, jurisdiction. Nonetheless, given the logical (if unforeseen) development of EU case law, numerous soft-law initiatives led by member states (and facilitated by Brussels), and policy shifts required through the EU’s semester system of financial governance, health care across EU member states gradually became more deeply integrated than was initially anticipated. In recent years, however, economic crises (and the neoliberal responses to them), nationalist political movements, and even secessionist threats have strained this relationship. This volume examines the future of social Europe through the lens of health care: in what ways has the focus on “health” served to fuse political attitudes into a more European sensibility? Has this centripetal momentum become constrained by underlying structural impediments, or even more seriously eroded by recent political events?  Or - more provocatively - can the allure of a stable and sustainable European framework for national health care systems serve as a potential counterweight to the centrifugal dynamics of a turbulent Europe?  

Papers for discussion included:

  • Health "Brexternalities": the Brexit effect on health and health care outside the EU (Tamara Hervey, University of Sheffield)
  • The effect of EU integration on health care in Central and Eastern Europe (Tomislav Sokol, Zagreb School fo Economis and Management)
  • Health federalism and the EU: Lessons from comparative federalism in the EU (Scott Greer, Univesrity of Michigan)
  • Impact of EU competition law on providers of health care services in the EU (Bruno Nikolic, University of Ljubljana)
  • Drivers of networked welfare governance in Europe (Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen, University of Copenhagen; Reini Schrama, University of Copenhagen; and Ellen Mastenbroek, Radboud University)
  • Europeanizing pricing & reimbursement of medicines: networking without harmonization? (Olga Löblová, University of Cambridge; Alexandru Rusu, Utrecht University)
  • What is EU public health and why? Explaining the scope and organization of public health in the EU (Holly Jarman, University of Michigan; Scott Greer, University of Michigan)
  • The tension between the concepts of “economic union” and “social union” in the EU (Margitte Mätzke, Johannes Kepler University)