Towards an international health market with the European Court

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This article examines the process through which a European healthcare dimension has been established and which has gradually extended the rights of European patients to cross-border healthcare. The integrative course has been charted by the legal activism of the European Court of Justice, whereas political voice has largely been absent. Judicial activism alone has applied the principle of the free movement of services to the policy field of healthcare, and thereby further energised the process. The political impact of this specific process of integration through law is, however, clear. The dynamic evolution of Community law has increasingly challenged the national instrument to retain health supply within own borders. Furthermore, the position of the European patient has been empowered by new individual rights, emanating from a supranational locus of rights against which the discretion exerted by national authorities can be challenged. Through the indeterminacy of European rules, open to continuous contestation and clarification, healthcare institutionalisation has proceeded and the European Union has extended into the core of the welfare state.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1035-1056
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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