Yet another Government welfare failure.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AM9, 10 Aug 2015.

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  1. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    The news today is that a considerable number of European visitors are getting EHIC cards to use back in their own countries on access to health services.
    If this turns out to be true, then it is another example of sloppy processes for issuing formal documents.
    I would imagine we are now one step nearer to having government issued ID cards for welfare registration, employment application and other key services.
     
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  3. meridian2

    meridian2 Established Member

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    At the expense of the NHS: ridiculous!
     
  4. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    If you don't have a profit objective is it ever possible to eliminate waste? Just an idea.
     
  5. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    Since when did the government have no profit incentive?
     
  6. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    From what I've read - for example here, the news is merely that it has been discovered that it is possible for European visitors to get EHIC cards thanks to a loophole in the process of issuing them. It is pure speculation whether or not any significant numbers of people have actually taken advantage of this. Clearly though, now that the fact is in the public domain, the loophole needs to be fixed very urgently, otherwise people will start abusing it.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Completely eliminating waste is unlikely to be practical or possible in most business or Government activities whether or not there is a profit incentive.
     
  7. David

    David Established Member

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    The thing is, foriegn nationals getting EHIC cards to use in their own country get no benefit, as all your entitled to get with 1 is the same public health care in A. N. Other country as what their own residents get!
     
  8. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor Associate Staff

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    Given this is based on a Daily Mail investigation it might be worth trying to provide some basic objective information in order to have a more meaningful debate.

    You cannot use EHIC cards to get free treatment abroad. It only entitles you to the same level of care you would expect to get if you lived in the country in which it is being used. For example, if someone were to use a UK-issued EHIC card in another country where you pay for treatment, you'd still be given a bill at the end of it.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    What is this "considerable number" you refer to?

    What's the point? Residents in other countries can access health services there anyway. There's no medial or financial benefit to having an EHIC card if you're a foreign national using it back at home. In fact given the card only entitles you to a "basic" level of care you're likely to be disadvantaged by using it, rather than making use of your right to use your own health care system as a citizen of the same country.

    I imagine for publicity reasons the government will want to address the issue. Unfortunately the government is also opposed to compulsory ID so they seem to have put themselves in a sticky situation.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Indeed, there is no financial benefit to be gained at all.
     
  9. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    If you're an already an EU/EEA citizen, I'm not sure where the benefit lies of obtaining a UK EHIC too? Most EU/EEA countries have either free at use healthcare like the NHS funded directly through taxation or compulsory health insurance paid out of salaries for all citizens. It's not like the USA. If you're from a non-EU/EEA/Switzerland etc country, then I guess there is benefit.

    An EHIC only entitles you to what locals receive, if they pay €50 to see the GP (e.g. Ireland) then a UK EHIC holder has to as well. If you're from Bulgaria, your Bulgarian EHIC would be the same. In countries with different insurance bodies that offer dental care etc you're at a disadvantage with an EHIC truth be told.

    They are not all that easy to use in some countries. In Germany, the GP won't see a UK EHIC holder until they've taken photocopies of your EHIC and passport and you've signed a declaration of your intentions and leaving date. A local public insurer then pays the doctor and bills the NHS later who see all the information collected. Fraud can be detected this way.

    Thinking about it, you could use it as a form of evading the obligation of public health insurance in some EU countries but it wouldn't work long-term in most countries. I have no idea how the healthcare functions in the new eastern EU states, but could a UK EHIC be used at an advantage there?
     
    Last edited: 10 Aug 2015
  10. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor Associate Staff

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    Indeed. Had cause to use a dentist for an emergency in Switzerland. Was asked for my health insurance number. Presented my EHIC card. Was then given two options.

    Option 1. Leave and make my way to the local commune headquarters. Wait two days for it to open. Sign up to purchase a 300 franc monthly subscription to a public health insurance package (minimum subscription three months) which covers dental care. Return to dentist, pay dentist the 300 franc excess, plus another 10% of what the treatment is worth. Get tooth sorted.

    Option 2. Pretend the EHIC card didn't exist. Handover 250 francs as a private patient. Get tooth sorted.

    Apparently there was a third option which involved a lot of form filling and yet more money changing hands.
     
  11. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    I think it's a mindset thing
     
  12. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    There's nothing to stop somebody from outside the EU (or the card's area of validity) using it to get free/reduced cost medical care. Thus somebody from Eritrea could get help in those countries where passports aren't insisted on at the time.
     
  13. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    Your original post involved a misunderstanding of the problem.
    You also reported that there is a 'considerable number' of people already doing this. Was that real 'news' from somewhere, or did you just throw it in for added effect?

    Has the problem shifted from European migrants, in the first post, to those from outside Europe now? How does that work, as they aren't eligible for an EHIC?

     
  14. SS4

    SS4 Established Member

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    The massive government welfare failure is slashing billions and billions from the poorest and most vulnerable members of society but this goes largely unmentioned in favour of topics like this? Mud sticks and even when thoroughly debunked it leaves a legacy that we're still somehow too soft on welfare
     
    Last edited: 10 Aug 2015
  15. Hornet

    Hornet Member

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    Non story. I have two of them. One ROI issued (where I work) and one UK issued (as I still have a UK addy and UK Passport). Never needed to use either of them.
     
  16. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor Associate Staff

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    You are mistaken. People from Eritrea are not eligible for an EHIC, nor can a European Health Insurance Card be used in Eritrea, given Eritrea isn't a European country!
     
  17. meridian2

    meridian2 Established Member

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    Given the EU prides itself on free migration, an Eritrean national can easily claim asylum without the need to cross the Channel. Geography really is immaterial, and where in the world a better opportunity exists, it really is honey to a bee.
     
  18. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Read what I said again including the "in those countries where passports aren't insisted on at the time".
    The condition that passport/ID are shown at the point of requesting health care may not always be maintained. In those cases, a person from anywhere can present with their EHIC card anywhere in the EU. Without checking a passport, it makes no difference that they aren't legal residents of the UK or the EU.
    According to the report, people from Eritrea, (or anywhere else) are able to get EHICs by deceit. What has their (legal) eligibility got to do with it?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I agree. The real issue with this EHIC scare is not about the morality of fraudulent EHIC card acquisition/use but about this government's discriminatory attitude to welfare and employment eligibility slowly dragging us all towards universal national ID card use. However the libertarians (particularly on the right wing of society) complain about the opressive image of ID cards, most of the current squirming about the unintentional effects of legislation aimed at fixing a particular perceived problem.
    Within limits, I don't have a problem with an ID card/etc. as a means of establishing eligibility to services. It's a paradox that we expect those who aren't eligible to carry their ID and those who are to not offer anything.
     
  19. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor Associate Staff

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    Which news story are you referring to? The investigation upon which this story derives is based on a Hungarian national obtaining a card. I've yet to see any evidence that a non-EEC/Swiss national can claim a card, even by deceit.
     
  20. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    Again, what report?
    My guess is that you have misunderstood the news, and are now inventing you own narrative in order to support your misplaced outrage.

    If people could get an EHIC card 'by deceit', they would surely find it just as easy to get NHS treatment the same way.

    If this was actually a big problem, I imagine that the Spanish government would have complained years ago. There are certainly British citizens, resident in Spain, who travel to the UK for NHS treatment. They would be eligible for Spanish EHIC cards. I would guess these far outnumber the phantom Eritreans you are talking about.
     
  21. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    You can only apply for an EHIC through the UK government if you have an NHS number. You can only get an NHS number if you are eligible for NHS treatment.

    You can, of course, be eligible for NHS treatment and then move away, but I'm not entirely sure what benefit there is to a patient.

    Since July 2014 the EHIC rules changed, and now you'll be treated the same as a citizen of the country you're in. If they charge a patient contribution then you have to pay this, and since July 2014 you have been unable to recoup this from the NHS. http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/EHICchanges.aspx
     
  22. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    Don't forget ID cards was a New Labour scheme which the Conservatives were strongly against.

    Personally I didn't see the point of the New Labour scheme in the form it was done in that they would be issued alongside a passport not separately and if you applied for a passport you would get an ID card as well. However, I think ID cards could be useful as an optional alternative to passport.
     
  23. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Yes my mistake, - editing a reply in a rush, I conflated my comments about the overall ease with which the report, (BBC amongst others) says an EHIC could be obtained with just an NHS number, with my suggestion that a non-EU national could use such an EHIC in an EU country that wasn't too insistent of a passport being available at the time of presenting. (I'm sure there are many, particularly away from tourist centres and potential users of the cards would soon know where they were.) I mentioned Eritreans as they seem to be flavour of the month amongst the most voiciferous anti-immigrant spokespersons. It could equally be a Syrian, Iraqi, or any of the sub-Saharan states from which migrants are coming.

    They are just cards, hence they can travel easier than the people named on them.

    I doubt that Spain have suffered much from the loophole as their Hospitals frequently don't even accept genuine cards backed up with passports from tourists at their time of need. Today's news on the subject is that the UK is looking at tightening up the process, hence my title of the thread, rather than just another thread moaning about migrants. In my opening post I said:

    "it is another example of sloppy processes for issuing formal documents"

    and

    "I would imagine we are now one step nearer to having government issued ID cards for welfare registration, employment application and other key services. ",

    which I believe is becoming increasingly likely.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    My objection to ID cards as envisaged 10 years ago was that certain 'profiled' types of the population might one day be obliged to carry them in public places. A more likely implementation would be as proof of entitlement to services, e.g. health, welfare and most importantly, work.
    The elephant in the room is the propensity of some small business employers to take on migrants who don't have clearance to work, and pay them wages way below the minimum wage.
    I see in today's Torygraph that Cameron is being lampooned for saying that he will make the practice illegal, (it is already!). There are however, those on the right of the Government who would demand that these entrepreneurs are the driving force of our economic recovery. ;)
    In the long term, enforcement of any employment law would be much easier if there was a reliable ID system in place.
     
  24. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    You missed the point.
    British citizens, living in Spain, can use the British NHS and, with their Spanish EHIC card, the Spanish would be asked to pay for it.

    It's not particularly a loophole, the country where you live is supposed to be the one responsible in paying for your healthcare.

    Obviously, EHIC cards shouldn't just be given to people who aren't entitled to them, but stopping it won't help much. Legitimate cards could just as easily be shared abroad if no other checks are done on identity and entitlement.

    I think "looking at tightening up the process" is a euphemism for "doing nothing and waiting until the storm blows over"
     
  25. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I didn't miss your point. I was referring to the Spanish hospitals' frequent practice of saying to tourists that EHIC cards weren't valid for whatever reason, - even when backed up with passports. See here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/expat-health/10168686/EC-takes-Spain-to-court-over-European-Health-Insurance-Card.html

    and here:

    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/may/30/spain-ehic-refusal-european-commission

    This is nothing to do with 'British citizens, living in Spain'.

    The loophole is that the lax process for obtaining the cards in the UK allows people who aren't entitled to present them in any EU country. What I wrote was: "I doubt that Spain have suffered much from the loophole as their Hospitals frequently don't even accept genuine cards backed up with passports from tourists at their time of need." as is explained above in response to you thinking that I had 'missed the point'.
     
  26. 90019

    90019 Established Member

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    I must admit, I'm enjoying the thought that an Eritrean person breaking a leg at home would then travel all the way to the UK, obtain an EHIC card using deceit, then travel back across to mainland Europe to get treatment. :lol:
     
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