The EU Health Strategy—Investing in Health
© BioMed Central London 2013
Published: 12 June 2013
The European Union has gradually developed a consistent and integrated policy framework to respond to common challenges in the field of health that combines legislation, cooperation and financing: the EU Health Strategy “Together for Health”. The economic crisis compounded the existing challenges stemming from changes in demographics and patterns of disease, technological change, as well as major threats to health. It put an additional strain on the sustainability of health systems and raised the urgency to channel EU efforts towards economic recovery and growth as outlined in the Europe 2020 strategy. Acknowledging this new environment, on 20 February 2013 the European Commission adopted a policy framework more closely linking EU social and health policies to Europe 2020: the Social Investment Package (SIP) including a document dedicated to ”Investing in Health”. This paper extends the EU Health Strategy by reinforcing its key objectives, firmly anchors health in the Europe 2020 policy framework and reaffirms that health is a value in itself and health spending is a growth friendly expenditure. A healthy population and sustainable health systems are decisive for economic growth. Investing in sustainable health systems means that cost-effective spending, structural reforms and sound innovation can bring efficiency gains and secure better health outcomes. Investing in people’s health also boosts economic growth by enabling individuals to remain active longer and in better health. Finally, investing in health requires reducing health inequalities to break the vicious spiral of poor health contributing to, and resulting from, poverty and exclusion.