Right wing trying to drag NHS back to pre-war system

As the Tory conference gathered, one-time Brexit secretary David Davis became the latest mouthpiece for the hoary old argument for scrapping the NHS as a tax-funded system and opting instead for so-called “social insurance”.

The predictable platform for this latest outpouring of hackneyed and false assertions was the Daily Telegraph, but similar arguments have been retailed time and again in the last few years in the Times, the Daily Mail, the Spectator, and sadly, taken too seriously by BBC correspondents.

Liz Truss herself is one of an 8-strong Parliamentary Board of the ‘1828 Committee’, whose ‘Neoliberal Manifesto’, published jointly with the Adam Smith Institute in 2019, condemns the NHS record as “deplorable” and states:

“We believe that the UK should emulate the social health insurance systems as exist in countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, among others. Under these systems, individuals pay regular contributions — as they currently do for the NHS through taxation — to their chosen insurer. They are then free to seek treatment from a medical provider of their choice and their insurance company subsequently reimburses the provider for the expenses incurred.”

Of course some of the information used to argue for change is correct, and we can all agree that the NHS – especially after a decade of real terms cuts in funding and the extraordinary problems posed by the pandemic – is far from perfect.

Full story in The Lowdown, 10 October 2022