#GE2017 Saving the #NHS from Trump and May – Why a new NHS Bill is needed https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-nhs-reinstatement-bill-saving-the-nhs-from-trump-and-may-tickets-327255399714
May 5, 2017 by Protect Our NHS
Letter from America
On 29 March 2017, the New York Times published an article illustrating the ruthless nature of the US healthcare system with a horrifying story of one woman’s ordeal. If you don’t have time to read the whole piece, here’s an extract,
“The stealth battle between hospitals and insurers over bills for each hospitalization, office visit, test, piece of equipment and procedure is costly for us all. Twenty-five percent of United States hospital spending — the single most expensive sector in our health care system — is related to administrative costs, “including salaries for staff who handle coding and billing,” according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund. That compares with 16 percent in England and 12 percent in Canada.
That discrepancy comes, in part, from the prolonged negotiations over payment and the huge number of coders, billers and collectors who have to be compensated: Their salaries and loans from those years of training in obscure languages are folded into those high charges and rising premiums. In addition, as is often the case in warfare, the big conventional army can be at a disadvantage: The insurance companies and government seem to be always one step behind the latest guerrilla tactics of providers’ coders.”
“… I have followed the debate about the future of the National Health Service with curious fascination. I must say I don’t entirely understand why this has even become a question – why anyone seriously thinks that privatizing the NHS would be a good idea, or why we have to resort to citizen campaigns simply in order to keep it around. As far as I can tell, the NHS is one of the best things Britain has going for it, and it would be a monumental step backward to let it go.”
Why do we need to save the NHS from Trump and May?
I declare an interest. In the early 2000s my grandchildren were born in America. Their and their mother’s maternity care cost thousands of dollars, but at least this was covered by her husband’s company’s medical insurance.
[Note: this was a number of years before The Affordable Healthcare Act aka ObamaCare, the US healthcare reform law that expanded and improved access to care and curbed spending through regulations and taxes].
Then my American son-in-law was badly injured in a motorcycle accident, and the first priority on the paramedics’ mind as they arrived to deal with his injuries was to ask about his medical insurance.
Those without insurance have much bigger problems. Where health care costs are the largest single cause of bankruptcies in the USA, this is US health care writ large!
And we read today that maternity costs under Trump’s new healthcare bill are set to rise by 425%.
The problem with Trump
Like everything Trump his statements are all over the place. It’s impossible to know what to believe, the rhetoric or the reality? So on one hand he’s ready to do a trade deal with EU ahead of the UK whereas he has previously promised an early US-UK trade deal.
But is all this trade deal worry really a red herring? US corporations will not hesitate to find ways around any trade deal delays and there is already significant US interest and investment in the UK’s health system.
The US and health privatisation
In Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, we have a former senior executive from United Health, the giant US health corporate and largest health insurer in the US. What’s known to surprisingly few is that before Cameron recruited him to run England’s NHS, he had special responsibilities for lobbying both to water down ObamaCare, and to push for health to be included in the controversial TTIP transnational ‘trade’ deal.
It’s important to recognise that NHS privatisation is a long game. While Sir Richard Branson’s very British Virgin Care is snapping up NHS contracts, almost all American investment in British health care so far has been in the private sector, through acquisitions.
Acadia, a Tennessee-based health-care giant, now owns the Priory Group, a chain of expensive and exclusive drying-out clinics and mental-health centres.
The Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) owns several private hospitals in Britain. HCA/NHS Ventures partnerships have been formed with NHS trusts to provide clinics and hospitals. The company’s UK arm is part of the Private Hospitals Alliance, a lobbying group that supports the role of private company participation in NHS services.
Certainly, the more the running of the NHS is outsourced to private companies, i.e. privatised, the more US firms will look to capitalise on this. And the more likely a US-model health system will be imposed on my children and grandchildren’s generation.
And let’s make no mistake private involvement in public health care will grow in Britain under current policies.
STPs and ACOs
The vehicle for ramping up this agenda will be the 44 regional Sustainability and Transformation Plans, or Partnerships. The ultimate aim is clearly for all STPs to achieve, what is known as, Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) status. The ACO concept is now regarded as a cornerstone of the US healthcare reform agenda. [For those wanting a more detailed understanding of ACOs see https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/stewart-player/accountable-care-american-import-thats-last-thing-englands-nhs-needs%5D
The public meeting being hosted by Protect Our NHS in Bristol on 18 May entitled The [Reinstatement] Bill Saving the NHS from Trump and May will examine these policies and will make an important contribution to the question – “who to vote for at the General Election?”
The NHS in England is being dismantled. Only a change to the law can stop the damage. Now more than ever.
A General Election has been called for 8th June 2017. How and when the NHS Bill is [re]introduced will depend on the depth and breadth of support from the MPs that are elected.
So we call upon everyone to ask their parliamentary candidates, “Do you back the NHS Reinstatement Bill (as previously tabled by Margaret Greenwood) to reinstate the NHS in England being re-introduced in Parliament after the election?“
We believe that campaigning to reinstate the founding vision is critical.
In this General Election we will be voting for the future of our NHS.