What Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett Fails To Grasp – US Companies Are Already In The NHS

Sure, we all know how newspaper columns are written. There’s a fad or a fashion passing by, something must be found to say about it. That said columnist isn’t greatly informed on the subject under discussion isn’t the point. There’s the two basic templates all the same – “Gosh! Fab!” or the “How Terrible!” and from such things are the editor’s approval gained.

Today’s fashion is that Brexit will mean the end of the National Health Service. For if we stop being federasted then we’ll have to have a free trade deal with the Americans and they just want to eat our NHS right up. Quite why a free trade deal means we can’t have tax funded free at the point of use health care isn’t something ever explained. That Canada’s had a free trade deal with the US since 1988 and still has that health care system model is always left unexplained. Even if the columnists knew about it.

But, you know, fads and fashions:

But more disturbing still was having to witness the to-ing and fro-ing over the bartering of our health service. Trump’s blustering over whether or not he wants to get his tiny mitts on our NHS is ultimately irrelevant: who truly believes that the man understands anything about the issues at hand? But when the time comes to discuss the parceling off of NHS services in desperate trade deal, the discussion will be dominated by American business interests.

We’re about to reveal something which will make Rhiannon’s eyes pop out. In a moment though:

There’s a reason that seven in 10 people still back the basic principle behind the NHS – that healthcare should be funded from general taxation and for everyone.

You’ll find much the same said about Medicare in the US. Which is why they’re not going to change it. Which is where we make that revelation:

It is personal and it is visceral and it is ours, not the plaything of American pharmaceutical companies. They can keep their hands to themselves.

Oh. OK. Herceptin – that very useful drug for the treatment of breast cancer – is made by Genentech. A US pharma company. We’re to say that we don’t want the NHS delivering Herceptin to British women are we? Because the nasty American pharmaceutical companies can keep their hands to themselves?

Actually, you know, I rather think we’re not going to do that. What we’re going to continue to do is use the taxpayer funding, that idea of free at the point of need, to go buy the best healthcare we can to deliver to the British people. And if lives are saved by buying from Damn Yanquis then that’s who we’ll buy from.

At which point what’s the damn difference between buying breast cancer pills from them and hip replacements? And, of course, what the Hell is the connection between Brexit and whether the Septics can do heart surgery better or not? Except, of course, that Rhiannon had a column to file and dearieme, isn’t it important to be catching the zeitgeit – aka parade fashionable views however confused or ill-informed.

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Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

Whenever I hear or read the term ‘our NHS’ I know it’s a sign of bullshit coming. I like free at the point of use paid for out of general taxation. I don’t care for a large employer acting as a pressure group against any suspicion of change.

Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan
tom599
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tom599

Guardian editor and opinion columnist. What are the odds she has Bupa?

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Fear mongers spreading fear is of course par for the course. Journalists not understanding and misrepresenting the issue is equally ubiquitous. But what rankles is complete ignorance as to where the threat to the NHS lies. Continued membership of the EU means continued membership of the Single Market, where eventually all goods and services must be open to competition from companies from all member states. Healthcare is a service, there are numerous EU healthcare companies, the UK healthcare market is (private and public) about 10% of the GDP of the 5th biggest economy in the world, the dots should be… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

The ravings of the left about “selling our NHS” always amuses. The NHS doesn’t make a profit and has no way to make a profit — its business model is giving away expensive stuff. Even if the Wicked Tories™ wanted to sell off the NHS, nobody would want to buy it.