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The Economics of healthcare spending

To sum up, the book is an effort at dealing with the matter of economic principles dominating the debate on healthcare and the consequences thereof. The author tries to bridge the gap between economic and healthcare developments, making it an essential reading for all policy makers and healthcare managers. Gooijer argues for a larger role for professionals and states that “the future development of European health policy should not be left entirely to the political managers”.

Win de Gooijer makes a candid effort to bring immense clarity to the complex issue of economic demands adversely influencing access to health care. For decades, the nations of the European Union harped on universal health coverage. De Gooijer with his dual background as an economist and the CEO of Dutch health care corporations, looks at the new dichotomy in the unfolding scenario with a unique understanding of the subject.

The author sees concrete linkages between world economic currents and the issue of access to health care throughout the EU. The early trends, starting from the nineties are now coming to rapid fruition. The inclination of governments in both Europe and the US towards transferring social responsibilities to market-driven agencies is bothering the author.

Recent economic developments have created lot many problems in healthcare sector-ranging from widening inequities of care to growing numbers of the uninsured. The book takes a critical view of expansion versus reform dilemma with a fourty-year analysis of Europe’s health care systems.

It studies the ethical and medical issues arising from the continent’s changing politics and tries some predictions about the future directions in EU health care as to how change is possible, and how much change can be possible.

There may not be too many takers for all the ideas from De Gooijer, the book will certainly hold the interest of health care managers and policymakers, politicians and insurers, advanced students of public health or for that matter, anyone looking to Europe for the next phase of this far-reaching evolution.

Brian Edwards, President of the European Hospital and Health Care Federation (HOPE) has described the book as a very important contribution to the debate about the future direction of health policy in Europe. In his view, “It captures the economic and social trends that underpin health systems with a keen and objective eye and poses some very challenging questions about the future.”

To sum up, the book is an effort at dealing with the matter of economic principles dominating the debate on health care and the consequences thereof. The author tries to bridge the gap between economic and health care developments, making it an essential reading for all policy makers and health care managers.

Gooijer argues for a larger role for professionals and states that, “the future development of European health policy should not be left entirely to the political managers.” Hospital managers will have to be actively involved, in regard to the design and organization of present and future European hospitals. For this purpose, this book is a robust manual. It not only amplifies the dangers, but also puts us every one on eternal alert to the emerging challenges and the available opportunity for possible alternative policy options.

EU prepares for cross-border healthcare

The European Union health ministers in a meeting agreed on the introduction of guidelines for cross-border health care services among the bloc’s 27 members. “Europe must guarantee that everyone has access to medical services, that the quality of care does not depend on the size of one’s wallet and that all patients receive high-quality health care should they fall ill,” German Health Minister Ulla Schmidt said. EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said the commission would draw up concrete proposals by the end of the year. “We want to give patients a greater degree of security, without creating disadvantages for the national health systems,” he said at the end of a day-long conference.

The patient will initially have to foot the bill himself, but is entitled to a refund from his local health provider, provided he obtained advance approval for treatment abroad.

At present there are only guidelines for cross-border health treatment in emergencies. In such cases the costs are paid by the local health service, which can recover them from the health service in the patient’s native country.

The new plans lay down who pays for elective surgery or other treatment outside a patient’s native country. The patient will initially have to foot the bill himself, but is entitled to a refund from his local health provider, provided he obtained advance approval for treatment abroad.  “An open and social Europe needs a reliable framework in which it can ensure the provision of necessary health services even beyond the borders of the individual state,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt, whose country holds the current presidency of the EU, said there was a great deal of willingness by the ministers to solve the problems of cross-border healthcare in favour of the patients. Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink said patient mobility was important “because it gives people the chance to choose what kind of treatment they want.” Tackling AIDS and ways to improve prevention activities were other issues discussed by the health ministers.

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