Economically inactive EU migrants and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service: unreasonable burdens without real links?

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Series Details Vol.39, No.6, December 2014, p770-789
Publication Date December 2014
ISSN 0307-5400
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Publishers Abstract
Under pressure to make healthcare provision more affordable, questions of access to healthcare have gained prominence in most countries in recent years. In light of these concerns, this article examines a grey area of EU law: can economically inactive EU migrants rely on entitlement to the United Kingdom’s NHS to satisfy Directive 2004/38 ’s requirement for them to have 'comprehensive sickness insurance'? In particular, it considers whether the United Kingdom can rely on the EU law concepts of 'unreasonable burden' or 'real link' to restrict economically inactive EU citizens’ access to the NHS. It finds that neither concept effectively prevents those who are not 'contributing' to public finances from accessing publicly funded healthcare.

The article concludes by recommending EU-level co-ordination of responsibility for social security coverage in order to ensure that universal, residency-based healthcare systems like the NHS remain sustainable in a post-citizenship European Union.

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Related Links
Sweet and Maxwell: European Law Review
ESO Background information: Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC

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