From one stress test to another: Lessons for healthcare reform from the financial sector

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The financial crisis in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic today have made it clear that both financial and medical crises spread pervasively across borders. The financial crisis proved that the health of the entire European banking system stands and falls with the health of a single systemically important bank. As such, in the past decade, European Union (EU)-wide cooperation and regulation have been strengthened to ensure financial health across Europe. Today, the COVID-19 crisis reveals the de facto existence of a European healthcare system, where Member States’ medical health is interlinked and challenged. It too highlights the need for a more coordinated approach. This paper will draw lessons from European financial regulation and stress testing to make recommendations for EU-wide healthcare. The paper will show the latent benefits that a stress test might have on healthcare performance through mechanisms of governmentality. Moreover, it will pinpoint shortcomings in the financial stress test that could pose looming dangers for a European Health Union, such as a lack of de facto risk sharing. The paper concludes with pragmatic suggestions for a way forward in European healthcare regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-807
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Risk Regulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020


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