It’s enough to make Nigel Farage choke on his Rice Krispies, but it seems that the UK IS forking out millions more for EU healthcare provisions that it’s reeling in from fellow EU member states. And far from being a member of Parliament from the Eurosceptic right, it’s Labour politician, John Mann who’s brought this to the public’s attentions of late.
Quoting from stats Mann has acquired from NHS sources (in the aftermath of having obtained the figures in a parliamentary question), numerical evidence suggests that Britain has sunk some £670 million into European Union country’s coffers to square up for Brits’ healthcare whilst they’ve fallen ill abroad, yet clawed back less than £50 million from EU countries when the tables are reversed, despite the fact that – ‘there are significantly more EU citizens in the UK than UK citizens in the EU’.
Himself describing his findings as a ‘scandalous failure’, Mann goes on to underline that these figures therein confirm that almost every country claims more money from the UK than the UK claims back from the rest of our European friends and neighbours, under the hugely popular European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme.
To recap, this pan-European initiative widely acknowledged between member states allows citizens to use the medical services on offer in the country where they take ill (or suffer an injury) which requires treatments or procedures.
As proof that this is the case, Sky compares the financial trade off (and seeming imbalance) between our EHIC-based relations with both France and Germany for example, where with regards the former Britain pays France £147,685 (yet in return we receive just £6,730), and the latter sees us settle EHIC bills for the sum of £25,873 (with Germany returning a mere £2,189 favour).
Mann believes that as a country, the UK should – in theory – be in receipt of more than we’re paying it, citing Poland as a point in question; arguing that in this particular instance net migration is significantly towards Britain, yet the shortfall remains four-fold in Poland’s financial favour according to the member of Parliament for Bassetlaw.
Speaking recently with Sky News on one of the hot topics which brings into sharp focus another key aspect of the in-out EU debate (and eventual referendum which will finally be put to the people this June), Mann calculates that the real cost could well be closer to a billion pounds annually.
Scandalous Shortfall in What UK Gets out of EU Member-benefitting Health Card, According to NHS-blaming MP
Such accusations are down to Britain – or rather, the National Health Service – not recharging for EHIC-based services, which conversely other EU countries are doing, and doing regularly it would appear.
Mann alleges that; “We (the UK) are paying our bills and they are not paying theirs – because the British NHS is not recharging them.” And Mann suspects that a host of our European partners are getting one over us, so to speak, claiming that even Malta and Greece are applying the recharging element to the letter of the law, not just the historically super-efficient Germans and Swedes.
Countering any such claims that the NHS isn’t addressing this EHIC issue correctly, the Department of Health said; “We pay more out than we receive, partly because a far greater number of British pensioners live in other EEA countries.”
Quoting estimates that suggest some 70,000 UK pensioners reside in Spain alone, a spokesperson for the Health Department went on to add; “This Government is determined to make sure our NHS isn’t abused – our tough new measures to clamp down on migrants accessing the NHS are expected to recover more than £500m a year by 2018 and we’re extending charges further to other parts of the NHS including A&E.”
They also stressed that it was the individual responsibility of each country comprising the EU to establish and action precisely what health services they routinely charge for.
Although by no means a substitute for a dedicated health or travel insurance policy, a huge number of Brits choose to take-up the (albeit limited) cover offered by the EHIC, with its use being widespread throughout Europe by a raft of nationalities