Apart from headline catching big Brexit votes the Government is struggling to get the laws in place to replace EU rules with UK rules before any deal happens. These include big bills covering issues such as trade, immigration, farming and fishing but also hundreds of bits of secondary legislation adding the detail.
Here’s one example. Last week the Commons dealt with the Healthcare (International) Arrangements Bill. Currently 27 million people have a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC for short. It allows people on holiday, living or travelling abroad to access medical treatment as if they were residents of that country with the home country paying. Many countries commit to providing emergency care but EHIC’s cover more. Since they were introduced in 2006 there have been 250,000 treatments a year saving UK citizens £1.2 billion. If there’s a deal, new arrangements will have to be negotiated. If we leave without a deal there won’t be any arrangements. Insurers are already saying premiums will rise and inevitably some people will be unable to get cover. We could keep EHIC’s if we stayed in the EEA we would also have to keep freedom of movement.
The government says give them the powers and trust them to sort it out. Worrying for anyone arranging holidays or travel in Europe this year. If you need an EHIC it’s still worth applying or renewing. And contrary to the online ads EHIC’s are free, for now.