While the United States wages a national debate over government expansion of healthcare, Europe and its existing nationalized health system continue to grapple with exploding costs, resulting in sharp austerity measures that have provoked violent riots and protests. Here are some of the measures taken by the Europe’s largest countries in the face of economic downturn:
France (GDP: €1,932.8B) increased healthcare taxes by 7%, yielding €1.1B in revenue per year.
Italy (GDP: €1,556B) increased female retirement age to match male retirement age. Pension reform requires Italians to work 41 years before benefits and laws impacting the pharmaceutical industry were relaxed to help expand economic growth.
Spain (GDP: €1,051B) instituted new measures that will cut €10 billion per year from public spending in healthcare and education. Healthcare benefits will be reduced as well.
The Netherlands (GDP: €588.4B) cut health care spending by €5 billion and raised retirement age to 67 from 65. Employee contributions towards healthcare costs will more closely align with annual incomes.
Austria (GDP: €286.2B) will cut €1.4B from the healthcare sector cuts by 2016.
Greece (GDP: €227.3B) cut €1B in health care spending and raised the retirement age from 61 to 65.