The Creeping Privatisation of Health Care in the European Union

(6 June 2017) A new briefing paper of Corporate Europe on the Creeping Privatisation of Health Care in the European Union provides detailed insight in the political and market mechanisms that increase health inequalities and lead to privatization of basic care. It analysis the political lobby of insurance companies and the European Union of Private Hospitals (UEHP). It explores how Services and private health lobbies seek to include the opening of health care in trade agreements such as CETA and TISA.  The sole aim is to have larger market shares and for the companies to win more profits. Researcher Rachel Tansey explains how the push for PPPs (public private partnerships)   undermines public health care systems. Reaching the goal of the Sustainable Development Goal target of  achieving universal health coverage with access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe will be harder.  Another chapter of the paper details the way European Union economic governance policies are pressuring the privatization and commercialization of health care. 

These developments do not go uncontested. The paper reports on the European resistance against the marketization of care and lists several critical research papers.    

This paper is essential reading for health care workers, politicians, NGOs, researchers and more to understand how universal health care is putting universal care under stress.

From the paper

“Greater health inequality is fostered as private, for-profit providers ‘cherry-pick’ lower-risk and paying patients, whilst higher-risk and poorer patients, or those needing emergency care, remain reliant on under-resourced (thanks to austerity) public health service provision.”

“A combined set of EU-level pressures appear to have helped create a pro-privatisation environment. Whilst there is no single channel of influence in Brussels of private healthcare interests (e.g. private hospitals, private health insurance, etc), there is evidence of corporate lobbying influence by big business groups, companies and think tanks. This, and a shared underpinning ideology, helps feed the financial and political agenda that encourages more privatised models of healthcare. This article explores the EU policy areas – and the role of corporate lobbying – that help create this pro-privatisation orientation in the field of healthcare: marketisation, trade, public private partnerships, and economic governance.”

The well-researched paper is provided by Corporate Europe Observatory, Europe’s foremost research body detailing the corporate lobbying in Brussels and the EU. The paper is available here