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Presentation of the European Year "All for Health" 2018-2019

D 1 October 2018    



One year to say no to the commodification of health

A European campaign towards the May 2019 elections
With a view towards the May 2019 European elections, the European Network launched on the 7th of April 2018 the European Health Campaign "All for health: One year to say no to the commodification of health".

The European Union continues to impose a policy of austerity and aggressive liberalization on its Member States, causing disinvestments in health and social protection. Private insurance companies are gradually replacing our solidarity-based health systems. Health services are increasingly outsourced to commercial companies, thereby increasing costs for patients without being able to guarantee quality care. The system of patents and secret agreements between government and the pharmaceutical industry is causing excessive increases in the price of medications for patients while pharmaceutical corporations reap huge profits.

The commercialization of health care leads to economic and territorial inequalities in access to quality care.

This is why the European Network wishes to:

  • put the fight against the marketization of health at the center of the European elections
  • obtain political commitments from candidates and the European parliamentary fractions in the fight against commercialization and privatization:
    > integration into party and candidate programs
    > signature of a pledge by the European factions
  • raise awareness and mobilize the population and health workers on this topic
  • bring the different health struggles together
  • strive for a more global and profound change in society

Let’s act together!

The European Network calls for a joint effort to ensure the success of this campaign. We will do this by challenging our MEPs, raising public awareness and mobilizing the public.

The campaign calls for additional investments in high-quality and accessible health care for the entire population, free from commercial operators. Although the European Union is not directly responsible for health, it has a duty to integrate health protection into all of its policies in order to ensure that health systems are accessible and effective for the entire population.

In particular, the European Network plans to organize collective action against the commodification of health and social protection. By coordinating this social struggle in view of the European elections, the coalition aims to circumvent the current tendancies in the following areas:

  • 1. The negative impact of prolonged austerity policies on:

* the quality of health care through the outsourcing or subcontracting of health services. Market logic is widely used to deliver immediate profits which reduces the quality of care. Well-defined rules are imposed to minimise personnel costs and increase their employability, resulting in downward pressure on staff working conditions.

* the geographical, financial and cultural accessibility of health. A growing proportion of the European population is being forced to postpone or even give up care altogether. Citizens are confronted with an increase of out of pocket payments, i.e.. the share of the costs borne by the patient. The supply of care in rural areas is decreasing. The complexity of health care systems, the reimbursement system and the lack of knowledge of social rights, etc. make health care systems inaccessible to vulnerable groups of the population.

  • 2. Current internal, fiscal and trade policies promote the growth of private insurance companies and encourage competition between non-commercial and commercial health services through public procurement procedures in the health sector. In the case of commercial insurance companies, those who pay the most will receive the best care, thereby increasing health inequalities. This is diametrically opposed to the principle of solidarity and the idea that health is a common good. It is a vision in which health is a marketable commodity between individuals and suppliers on a commercial market.
  • 3. The system of patents and secret agreements between the Member States and the pharmaceutical industry is driving up the prices of medicines. At the same time, the European Union strengthens this system of patents through free trade agreements. It also subsidizes pharmaceutical multinationals through providing Research and Development grants for innovative medication without requiring any reimbursements of such subsidies.

The European Campaign for Non-Commercial Health and Social Protection for All, step by step

  • July - November 2018: networking

The national coordinators of the European Network contact the MEPs attached to their country to elaborate on the technical details of the demands and connect with different organizations and networks (PHM, Altersummit, EPSU, Attac, Réseau Internationale de Solidarité et de Lutte, Réseau Européen des Syndicats Alternatifs et de Base, Social European Observatory,...) to join the campaign.

  • September - December 2018: communication tools and documentation

a) Issue a pledge to be proposed for signature to the different political factions of the European Parliament (with which we can return after the elections every x time ("remember your commitments!"))

b) Draw up our demands to be made to candidates in the European elections and as a basis for our other documents

c) Develop communication tools
> Popularization/pedagogical documents (example): documents that start from people’s realities.
>Deduce visuals, leaflets, posters from popularization/pedagogical documents
> Think of a good premise for a mobilizing video

  • November 2018 - March 2019: action!

> Develop a dynamic for raising awareness, mobilization and public appeals through the national coordinations.

> By the end of October the national coordinations will have drawn up their calendar for action, establishing regular contact with the election candidates.

> The Network contacts the European parliamentary groups (demands + pledge).

> Make the campaign visible through participation in national and European forums, events and conferences (e.g., Conference on Europe in Kassel in October,..)

> Romania will hold the EU Presidency starting from 01/01/2019. Explore whether we are able to organize an action in Romania with the Romanian trade unions.

  • April 7, 2019: #health4all

Organization of a European Week for Health in the heart of Europe in Brussels (Schuman Square) from 1 to 7 April with each day devoted to a different topic on health (e.g., women and health, working conditions, health financing, pharmaceuticals, environment,..)

Propose to the associated movements that they organize their annual day during this week with, for example, Attac, Altersummit, environmentalists, feminists, EPSU,...

The last day will be devoted to the commodification of health, including a European demonstration with representative delegations from different countries. We need to think about what type of action and event we can organize to encourage as much participation as possible.

  • April - May 2019: visibility

Keep the commercialization and privatization of health at the heart of the electoral debate through the media, events and actions.

Don’t wait any longer! Contact if your interested in participating in the campaign!


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