Friday, 31 May 2013

Two faced EU sceptics.

The BBC reports that the European Commission is launching legal action against Spain over the refusal of some hospitals to recognise the European Health Insurance Card.

As the EHIC entitles EU citizens to free healthcare in public hospitals. However the BBC fail to distinguish between Public and Private Hospitals where  the  latter does not have to comply and it may be in some cases  that people are not aware of the difference

However it appears that  some Spanish public  hospitals rejected the card and told tourists to reclaim the cost of treatment via their travel insurance, the Commission says.

A BBC correspondent says the Commission is not accusing cash-strapped Spanish hospitals of trying to make money.

The Commission, which checks compliance with EU law, has requested information on the issue from the Spanish government - the first stage of an infringement procedure which could eventually result in a fine.Under the health card system, an EU citizen's home health service is supposed to cover the cost of emergency treatment abroad. So for a British citizen the UK National Health Service picks up the final billThe European Health Insurance Card entitles you to the same state healthcare as a citizen in that country - this includes prescriptions, GP visits and hospital stays.
BBC  30th May 2013 
Care is not always free and the details vary between states depending on their healthcare system.

Some costs can be claimed when a patient returns home, but again this depends on the local setup.

The card can be used in any of the 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

It covers emergency care as well long term conditions including kidney dialysis treatment.

People are still advised to have travel insurance, as private healthcare and flights home are not covered.

So we have a case of a fellow EU country apparently not  obeying the EU rules and outrage about the Spanish .

But guess what on the same day there was outage that the UK government  were also breaking the rules.

According to the Telegraph Brussels has objected to Britain's application of an extra and "discriminatory" residency test that has stopped eligible migrants from EU countries getting benefits to which they are entitled under European free movement legislation.
Commission officials told the Telegraph that repeated meetings with the Government, including "informal contacts, had failed to bridge the impasse leading to the court challenge to British law.
"The commission believes that the UK's so-called 'right to reside' test fails the EU legal 'habitual residence' requirement. As a result of this discriminatory test EU citizens cannot receive social security benefits, such as child benefit, to which they are entitled under European law," said an official.
"The commission asked Britain to end this discrimination against EU nationals in September 2011 but no measures have been notified to us."
The commission will argue that welfare benefits "unfairly and illegally" denied to EU migrants include, child benefit, child tax credit, income based jobseeker's allowance, state pension credit and income based employment and support allowances.

Telegraph 30th May 2013

You can imagine the reaction of the  Telegraph readers.  80% of whom give their support to the UK  over the Benefits law in various degrees of Little  England nationalism.

And yet you can bet a pound to a penny that they also  feel that Spain should be forced by the commission to comply with EU rules and grant healthcare  to UK nationals on holiday there .

One of the problems with the EU,  is that member nations seem to believe every one  hould comply with the rules except them.

But the Anti EU lobby in the UK manifested by the Conservatives and to some extent Labour  feel that they can remain in the UK and not obey the rules at all  and Ukip  seem to believe that  the UK can quit the EU  and wipe out all the social legislation that has benefited many of its citizens and yet carry on with trade in Europe as if there had been no change.

Next years European Elections  will the British media  largely backing Euro sceptic parties and maybe some like the Sun calling for a vote for Ukip and withdrawal.

But here in Wales we need to point out the benefits Wales have received from EU benefit and the disaster for powers to be returned to a right wing  anti welfare state Westminster. Something those Euro sceptics on the left do not fathom.

There's a lot wrong with the EU, especially a bloated bureaucracy.  But it is all that protects us these days from the Tories compliantly destroying mush of our social policy and placing it all on the free market.

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