Europe is going grey. Already, the number of Europeans aged sixty-five or older is greater than the number aged eighteen or younger. In other words, Europe has tens of millions more elderly people than it has children. As people live longer, it is going to put tremendous pressure on our healthcare systems, at the same time as a shrinking workforce puts pressure on the public budget.

Critics argue that many healthcare models around Europe are still too expensive, inefficient and not designed around the expectations and needs of today’s patients. Access to new diagnostics, drugs and medical devices is unequal within countries let alone across Europe. In addition, public healthcare systems are increasingly unable or unwilling to pay high prices for expensive innovations.

New thinking is needed. Many of our healthcare systems were designed in the post-war era, and haven’t caught up with the pace of technological change. Yet public healthcare is also a cherished European value, and voters will not take kindly to politicians making cuts in the name of “innovation”. So, what’s the right approach? How can we ensure that healthcare systems are sustainable even with an ageing population? Can health budgets be invested in a smarter way, into new technologies that increase productivity without pushing up costs?

Our sister think tank, Friends of Europe, has been holding a series of roundtables on European healthcare, discussing smarter healthcare investment (and disinvestment in health interventions that are ineffective, inefficient and outdated). A report outlining policy recommendations will be published shortly.

Who should pay for your healthcare if you get sick? Are Europe’s healthcare systems fit for purpose? Are they sustainable in the face of coming demographic changes? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (cc) Flickr – David Foltz


49 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Ivan

    You should, there is no such thing as a free health system.

    • avatar
      Julia

      Ivan: poster boy and mouthpeice for all mega-rich selfish, cold and cruel shareholders.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Julia Thanks for that divorced from reality socialist comment but there really is no magic money tree, no matter what you read in The Communist Manifesto 8|

    • avatar
      Diaconu

      Ivan an american mentality not to.be imported here in the eu. Plus the monopoly of big pharma & co.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Diaconu So who will pay for your health service ?

    • avatar
      Pedro

      Ivan like the musketeers, all for one and one for all!

      It has been like that for decades and it’s working just fine!

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Pedro As I said, you should pay ie, everyone must pay.

    • avatar
      Skender

      Its disgusting how some people think , health-care should be free like education

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Skender There is no such thing as ‘free’.

    • avatar
      Andrew

      We all pay a contribution. If I didnt have the NHS growing up I would’ve been in serious trouble. Deffo couldnt be paying those prices u see from the states

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Andrew Which is basically what I said, you pay, I pay, everyone pays. It’s not ‘free’.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Skender There is no such thing as ‘free’ and there can be no such thing as ‘free’. Not good with economics are you ?

    • avatar
      Kirstie

      So you don’t use the NHS then, Ivan? None of your family have ever needed urgent medical care, paid for by other tax payers?

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Kirstie Of course I do & yes I pay for it, which part of ‘its not free’ do you not understand ?

    • avatar
      Erik

      Maybe the same part that you don’t when they say “free”. It’s crazy, almost as if language is contextual and words can carry other than literal meaning.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Erik Saying something is free is just a socialist slight of hand to con people into believing they care when the reality is Socialists do not like the poor, they just hate the successful.

    • avatar
      Jon

      We all pay for the NHS. It’s not free, but it works for us as citizens. We are heading for privatisation, which is not a good place to be heading. The NHS is a machine that is slowly running out of fuel. Our money is the fuel that is used to keep it running. Unfortunately our government would rather spend our money on other things, like say, giving £1000000000 of our money to a former terrorist party to stay in power. People need to wake up or we are gonna lose our free at the point of use NHS.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Jon Din’t worry, now we are leaving the pointless EU & not wasting billions of out tax pounds on it there will plenty of money for the NHS.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44495598

    • avatar
      Carole

      The Magic Money Tree is in the Caymen Islands…..or so I heard.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Carole My money is in Luxembourg courtesy of El Presidente Juncker’s tax avoidance scheme 8|

  2. avatar
    Julia

    tax the rich of course by closing tax loop holes, legal tax evasion and low tax rates. Stop fleecing the people or they will turn on you. The people are the majority and the mega-rich and govrnments are the minority. Do what we consented to put you there for and serve all members of society and give every human being a good basic standard of living. Layer selfish and greedy capitalism on top. If not, it won’t turn out well and could get dangerous.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      ‘tax the rich’ ? who will you tax when the rich have no money left for you to take ?

    • avatar
      Julia

      Ivan only serious questions please. Lol

    • avatar
      Julia

      Venezuela ‘Oil booms’. Venezuela gives back to the people. Venezuela claims to be the victim of an “economic war” waged by the United States. The United Staes starts economic wars with countries who put people first and refuse to privatise healthcare etc. The end. Ivan Burrow’s mega-rich friends ruined another country with oil and a good heart. What’s new?

    • avatar
      Kevin

      Ivan who’s labour and resources will you exploit when its all used up.. thats the problem with capitalism you eventually run out of both

  3. avatar
    Julia

    Or QE for the people’s fundamental basic needs and layer capitalism on top of that. That way Ivan Burrows mega-rich friends can stay rich and avoid all the tax they want. A system change is required. The QE could be written off if humanity did it globally. Money is a construct and we can design and run our society any which way we please. We are free humans and a sytem doesn’t own us-we own the system. Time for an update that serves all.

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Why would ‘mega rich’ people (or anyone else for that matter) stay in your EU knowing you will rob them of the money they have earned ?

      Typical Socialist pie in the sky promises.

    • avatar
      Julia

      Ivan it has to be a global system change for it to work.

    • avatar
      Daniel

      Ivan It’s obvious that an individual cannot become mega rich while working for a wage. That type of wealth only comes through exploiting fellow human beings. And of course those who make wage slaves of others have no responsibility towards them.

  4. avatar
    Skender

    Bankars, telecomunications,farmaceutics,weapon manufacturers and other similar proffesions should pay a lot more taxes,because they are taking most of money

    • avatar
      Ivan

      Or they could just leave 8|

    • avatar
      Duncan

      Where in Europe would they go to?

  5. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    Who should pay for your healthcare if you get sick?

    What question! A cynic would say it is Father Christmas- just dressed as your employer, your neighbor or your “government”- hardly you!

    Sorry, but many seem to be quite naive and/or financially retarded! The EU28 has an agreement called “The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP)” Everyone should know its basics, its consequences, be informed, think a bit, than comment.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability_and_Growth_Pact

    Scanning the EU statistics will show the over indebtedness of most EU countries.
    From Greece’s high at 180% national debt to GDP to the lowest Estonia of 8.7%. The EU average= 81.5%. The EU target is 60%. Good housekeeping is zero debt!

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/269684/national-debt-in-eu-countries-in-relation-to-gross-domestic-product-gdp/

    Tax everyone to death? Increase government debt? Kill the economy & stop investments? Increase unemployment? More bureaucrats & bloated Government? Yes, catch all tax evaders, fraudsters & close tax havens! That wouldn’t solve healthcare & pensions either!

    Politicians & voters have driven their governments towards bankruptcy by making irresponsible (electioneering) promises & demands which nobody can finance within one working life cycle! One needs 2 working lives or more political lies!

    One option is enabling & utilizing ones ~40-50 years working life & taking charge of ones own “prudent investing” towards one’s own health & retirement. Not relying blindly on irresponsible “governments” kicking the heath & pension “funding can” down to the next generation or looking for imaginary population growth & pray!

    “New thinking”- or just keeping up to date, staying informed or asking for advise? The old post WWII- one size fits all model- and living beyond ones mean- will no longer be affordable to suit all, a group of countries, or all individuals equally.

    If still confused- please check & study the existing funding models: “The Beveridge Model”, “The Bismarck Model”, “The National Health Insurance Model”, “The Out-of-Pocket Model”, a mixture or your own design!

    Why do politicians not lead, explain & provide choices? Everyone would be able to understand, select the best option or compromise- individually and/or for their country?

  6. avatar
    Nuno

    This comment might seem a bit harsh but i think it is the most sustainable. If you think i am wrong then please make a civilized counterargument.
    I think I should pay for healthcare. In the case of not having the money to treat myself then you can get into debt. If that debt exceeds a certain number, like 1000€, the next time I try to get treatment, I am greeted with a boot in my ass or option of being euthanized.

  7. avatar
    catherine benning

    Who should pay for your healthcare if you get sick?

    In the UK the tax payers pay for our health care. That is all of us who are employed and it treats us from cradle to grave. It is money well spent. The ‘only’ money well spent by our government on our bahalf.

    Europe has a system of health care that is akin to the US. Except is doesn’t let you die uncared for as they are left in the US to do. They have major irresponsble medics.

    Here is a clip that tells how it works. Of course Globalists want to dismantle it by privatising it. It is a National benefit for us and a saviour for us all paid for by us British people. We deserve it we keep it going. That is except those who come to our country to live off our tax system and see us a milking cows for their benefit. Even with its difficulties. The difficulties are forced political mischief by those in high places who want to feed of the income it generates. The Blair creature and his unholy wife are big privatisers of this great British model.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ywP8wjfOx4

    I owe my life to it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pnEMBgEG24

    Get yourself a healthcare system like ours and you won’t have to travel to the UK to look after your Mum when she gets sick. It will be right there in your own back yard. Migrants abuse our system and that should be stopped at once.

  8. avatar
    Nello

    I have worked and paid taxes and national Security all my life ,that is contributed 40 years that s for insurance ,health care and Government tax and VAT . So in fact the health care that I am receiving now as a disabled person and my invalidity pension has been taken care by my contributions that I paid all my working life.
    Therefore if I am getting free medical treatment from hospital, it is not free as stated above ,I have contributed all my working life towards it!!! Nothing comes free .

  9. avatar
    Sándor

    big pharma maffia system!!!!!

  10. avatar
    Galina

    If I have to pay every month, I should get free health care. If not, make it paid and we’ll only pay when we need it.

  11. avatar
    Patrick

    Europe is a disaster as far as health care goes..it is only benefitting the rich..ireland has a two tier health service.those who can pay.and those that cannot..for the latter they have third world service…Europe is just not working for the ordinary joe soap…I could go on….irexit

  12. avatar
    Edward

    Medical care should remain free for all. If more money is needed for medical each of us should be taxed accordingly . Meaning increase of payment on the yearly tax according to each person income.

  13. avatar
    Duncan

    Whether it’s through insurance or done through taxes everyone pays for health care, it’s not free.

  14. avatar
    Stefania

    il think thank ? sembra un ballo tipo il TIP TAP .! UFFA

  15. avatar
    Maciej

    Citizens should access national Healthcare without economic grievance, foreigners should pay a health insurance

  16. avatar
    Παυλος

    Wrong question based on the neoliberal idea that ” there is no communities only individuals ”
    Hell no…

  17. avatar
    Christine

    L‘Italia ha un Servizio Sanitario che fino adesso ha funzionato abbastanza bene, molto meglio al nord tuttavia che nel meridione. Purtroppo le cure gratuite, dovute a una legge deleteria e poco perspicace, garantite a migranti e richiedenti asilo extracomunitari, lo porterà alla rovina. Per i cittadini comunitari dovrebbero pagare i paesi di provenienza e sono garantite solo le prestazioni inderogabili

  18. avatar
    Faye

    In the UK, fifty years of national insurance contributions should pay for health care

  19. avatar
    Andrew

    I’ve paid for my own healthcare.

    I’ve paid tax and NI for almost 40 years now.

    The NHS is only ‘free’ to those who’ve never contributed, either by no fault of their own or (increasingly) by choice.

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