Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-10-09-Speech-4-068"

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"Health is one of the greatest blessings a human being can enjoy in life. Unfortunately, worrying trends such as an increase in the number of cases of cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes are making us aware of the extent to which health is now endangered. We are confronted with the challenges of climate change, globalisation, the ageing population, along with the threat of pandemics and biological terrorism. The marked rise in the cost of medicines in recent years is also cause for concern. It has meant that many EU citizens simply cannot afford medicines. In addition, the healthcare systems of certain EU Member States need to undergo radical reform in order to eliminate tremendous inequalities. For example, there is a difference of 9 years in the life expectancy of women and 13 years for men. Investing in healthcare policies concerning the earliest years of a person's life should also be a priority issue. It is important, however, not to allow a situation to develop whereby preventing the birth of disabled children or children suffering from chronic diseases would be generally accepted. Aid for the parents of sick children should be promoted instead. In addition, I should like to emphasise the need to respect the competences of the Member States in the area of healthcare and freedom of choice of medical services. Clearly, health also has a bearing on the economy. Investment in healthcare should therefore not be perceived simply as an outlay, but also as an important element of investment in improving the quality of human capital and a key social and political issue."@en1

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