Committee recommends AMs reject post-Brexit healthcare law until changes are made

(Title Image: BBC)

Health & Social Care Committee
UK Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill Legislative Consent Memorandum (pdf)
Published: 22nd January 2019

At present, EU citizens can receive healthcare in other EU member states, the EEA and Switzerland on the same terms and at the same price as a native. Following Brexit, this reciprocal arrangement ends for the UK. According to the UK Parliament (pdf), this arrangement was used 233,000 times by UK citizens holding a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in 2016.

The UK Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill will set out how the UK will pay for healthcare treatment for UK citizens in the EU immediately after Brexit and also paves the way for a longer-term reciprocal healthcare agreement.

As healthcare is a devolved responsibility, the Senedd needs to give its consent to certain parts of the Bill relating to Wales. There’s already been a row over whether the Welsh Government should have to pay for something (treatment of foreign nationals) which will be imposed upon them by the UK Government.

The Bill also contains a clause where laws made by the Senedd can be amended by the UK Government in order to implement a long-term reciprocal healthcare agreement.

Negotiations are still ongoing, but the Committee’s sole recommendation was that the Senedd withholds its consent from the Bill for the time being.

To change their mind, a number of changes need to be made. This includes full involvement of, and consultation with, the Welsh Government on how a long-term healthcare agreement will work as well as consultation on any regulations which would be imposed on Wales as a part of that agreement.

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