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EU citizens aren’t scrounging on the NHS

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 17.11.2019

Claim: “It’s unfair that people coming from European countries can access free NHS care without paying in while others make significant contributions.”

Michael Gove, Mail on Sunday, Nov 17

InFact: European citizens* make a bigger contribution to our public finances than both non-EU citizens and Brits. This is because they pay more taxes, and use the NHS and other public services less.

Non-EU migrants take out £840 more than the average Brit each year, according to analysis done for the government’s own Migration Advisory Committee. While some pay a surcharge of £400 a year to get similar access to the NHS as residents, this doesn’t close the gap.

Meanwhile, European citizens make a net contribution of £2,300 more than the average UK resident. Their total net contribution was £4.7 billion in 2016/2017. What’s unfair about that – unless Gove means it’s European citizens who are getting a raw deal?

It’s true that European citizens can also use the NHS when they are not working. But they must then hold health insurance or a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – which means the NHS shouldn’t be picking up the tab. What’s unfair about that?

What’s more, European citizens get special access to the NHS as part of a deal that gives Brits the automatic right to use other EU countries’ health systems. 145,000 of our pensioners get free healthcare in other EU countries, with the NHS picking up the tab. Meanwhile, 27 million Brits have EHIC cards giving them free healthcare when they travel to other EU countries. 

What’s unfair about that? It’s actually one of the benefits of being in the EU.

* Citizens of the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland

The £4.7 billion figure on total net contribution by European citizens was added on December 1

Edited by Hugo Dixon

3 Responses to “EU citizens aren’t scrounging on the NHS”

  • Not forgetting that if UK nationals in Europe get forced out because the Government reneged on its reciprocal healthcare commitments, expats returning will be an extra burden on the NHS. Moreover, many of these expats are retired and will have greater healthcare needs. Whereas, the EU nationals are mainly of working age having lesser healthcare needs.

  • It is obvious that 52% of the people in the UK wants to believe these absurd and dishonorable lies. They’re not going to change because of real facts! These people need clear-cut enemies to be blamed for whatever occurred to them or as the reason to not experience life as a happy occasion. In the way the nazis blamed the Jews. That’s why during a second referendum they’ll still vote to leave the EU, knowing it will crash the UK.

  • Nobody in their right mind would get rid of 3.5 million (or whatever) EU nationals who work and pay tax and contribute to the economy – and who are not a drain on the NHS in ecchange for 1.25 Million (or whatever) Brits who live in the EU and who are mostly retired and no longer contributing and who have greater need of the NHS than the average person – and certainly greater than the average EU citizen.