Healthcare Policy in the US and the EU: Looking Ahead

Public Affairs | Healthcare

June 12, 2020

Office workers at a table

Most governments have been caught off guard with the urgency of the global public health crisis, falling behind in instituting appropriate preventive and relief measures as the pandemic rapidly seized life as we knew it and brought it to a grinding halt.

The disagreement witnessed among decision-making bodies at the early stages of the crisis has revealed a health policy system under enormous strain. In this piece, we examine how both U.S. and EU policymakers and healthcare systems have responded to the pandemic and consider the implications for industry.

As governments outline exit strategies through phased reopening of certain parts of the economy, upscaling tests, and contact tracing to keep ‘R’ (the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to) under control, health policy overall will have to address numerous concerns to better prepare for future challenges and integrate lessons learned from a crisis that has yet not fully passed.

As the curve falls from its recent peak in both the European bloc and some areas of the United States, policymakers are grappling with how to best handle the lifting of confinement measures to simultaneously balance public safety and restart economies.

Policy systems at the state and central levels will do their utmost to avoid the chaos caused by the variation with which European Member States as well as the American states instituted lockdowns, in addition to the occasional ugly instances of hijacked resources that failed to reach their intended destinations or the regions that required them most.

This unprecedented crisis has highlighted both structural weaknesses in health policy systems, but also demonstrated their remarkable resilience in overcoming obstacles while fuelling debates about its future direction.

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