Posts Tagged ‘Medical Insurance’

More Tory Lies as Jeremy Hunt Claims the Tories Set Up the NHS

October 5, 2017

The Tories really can’t stop lying, can they? Now that the British public’s becoming very disenchanted with neoliberalism, and the Thatcherite ideological legacy is up against the wall, waiting for Corbyn to shout ‘Fire!’, they’re doing their best to steal the credit for Labour policies. On Tuesday Mike reported that, while Nye Bevan did indeed set up the NHS in 1948, it was ultimately created by the Tory MP, Henry Willink, who authored a government White Paper about it in 1944.

Willink did indeed author a White Paper laying out plans for something like the modern NHS. However, Mike’s article quotes the Independent’s report on the matter. This in turn cites the comments of Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, who states very firmly that the Tories voted against it 22 times. The Indie wrote

“Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Jeremy Hunt’s claim the Tories created the NHS is laughable. The Tories fought it tooth and nail all the way through Parliament on a three-line whip. In fact they voted against the creation of the NHS 22 times including at the third reading.

“Over the last 70 years, the Tories have under-funded and tried to sell off the NHS. Labour governments have always stepped in to fully fund and rebuild the NHS. And so it will again fall to the next Labour government to give the NHS the funding it needs and rebuild it to deliver the quality world class health service every patient deserves.”

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine added to was “astonishing” that Mr Hunt has the gall to claim a Conservative minister was responsible for setting up the NHS, then in the next breath says the health service should be above party politics.”

Quite. In fact, the NHS and the welfare state is based on the Beveridge Report, written in 1944. Beveridge was a Liberal. However, the Socialist Medical Association had been campaigning for a state-owned health service since in the 1930s. And the ultimate origins of the NHS can be found in the minority report published by Sidney and Beatrice Webb way back at the beginning of the 20th century in their comments about the state of medical care in Britain.

A little while ago I had someone turning up on this blog to try to argue that the Tories had also been involved in the creation of the NHS, and weren’t its enemies. As I’ve said, Willink was involved. But Labour was the strongest champion of the Health Service, while the Conservatives lost support in the 1940s by postponing its implementation, citing concerns about cost. Then, five years after the NHS was set up, the Tory right revolted and demanded its privatization, on the grounds we couldn’t afford it.

And coming from Jez himself, this is just more hypocrisy. Thatcher wanted to privatize the Health Service, and was prevented from doing so because there was a massive cabinet revolt. Indeed, it was described as the closest thing to a riot. Her personal private secretary, Patrick Jenkin, made her very aware that the American, private healthcare system, was rubbish. So she modified her policy to simply recommending that 25 per cent of all Brits should have private medical coverage.

Then there was the introduction of the Private Finance Initiative by John Major and Peter ‘I’ve Got a Little List’ Lilley, under which private healthcare companies were and are being given license to build and run hospitals and provide other medical services. Why? Not because of efficiency. The system is spectacularly inefficient, and leads to smaller, fewer, and more expensive hospitals than under the normal system of state funding and management. But Lilley and his Tory colleagues were upset that there was this highly lucrative state sector that their pals in private industry couldn’t get their mitts on. They wanted to open the NHS up to private investment. Providing better healthcare didn’t come into it.

And New Labour continued the privatization of the Health Service. This shouldn’t be surprising, as Blair was Thatcher’s protégé across the Green Benches. She stated that he was her greatest achievement, and was the first person to visit him in 10 Downing Street after he moved in.

And then, in 2012, came Andrew Lansley’s Healthcare Bill, which effectively absolves the Health Minister of his statutory duty to provide effective medical care to everyone. It’s heavily disguised in tortuous, convoluted prose, but this is what it does.

And Jez himself is a massive hypocrite in all of this. As Mike has blogged over and again, Hunt has said in his own book that he wants the NHS privatized. But in order to lull the British public into a false sense of security, he’s trying to tell us how much the Tories ‘treasure’ it. And that they set it up.

He’s saying all this because Labour is going to renationalize the NHS, end PFI and move it all in-house. And that scares him and his big business paymasters absolutely witless. But we desperately need this to happen. We really cannot afford for Britain to succumb to the Tories and their free market hogwash, and become like America, where millions cannot afford medical insurance, and where thousands wait in their cars overnight to get access to free healthcare, when it’s offered.

Save the NHS.

Get the Tories out!

Trump Gains of SuperTuesday, More Americans Want to Move to Canada

March 5, 2016

Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski gets very gloomy and despondent here about the probably ascent to the White House of Donald Trump, and what it means for America. And he states that this could possibly be The End. And hundreds, if not thousands of Americans feel the same way too. According to The Hill, when the results came in late on SuperTuesday night showing Trump’s gains, the hashtage #How Can I Move to Canada? went up by 350%.

Kulinski is not surprised. He states that the only thing you can take away from Trump’s contradictory speeches and stance on issues right across the spectrum is that he’s a massive authoritarian. He’ll argue for a particular policy one moment, and then move to the complete opposite the next. On the Middle East, he’ll say that we need to go into Syria, and attack not just the terrorists, but also their families. The next moment he’ll also argue that America needs to leave well enough alone, and leave it to Putin. The same with industry. He has said that if he gets into office, he’ll prevent the corporations from leaving America, so that the Land of the Free still has a reasonable level of employment. The next moment he’ll state that America needs to keep wages low, with the result that people are still poor and starving even if they are working hard at a full time job. His stance on health care is the same. At one point he’ll state that America needs a single-payer healthcare system so that no-one dies in the street. The next moment he claims that more capitalism is what’s needed to give Americans affordable medicine. He’d remove the restriction on people from one state buying their medical insurance from another. This is a Republican far right policy that wouldn’t solve anything, because all the insurance companies would move immediately to the state with lowest taxes, and then collude in fixing the prices.

The one thing that does stand out, is that Trump wouldn’t tolerate any resistance. He’s extremely authoritarian, with no regard for checks and balances. And as Kulinski himself says, you shouldn’t put someone like that in power. Ever. He’s a dangerous precedent if elected. Kulinski himself says he also feels attracted to Canada. They have a ‘perfectly lovely government under Justin Trudeaux’, and an excellent health care system. If Trump gets into power, he might end up in a political prison somewhere, especially if the Tousled Tyrant finds a video he made of him a little while ago. It’s a joke, but you wonder how much truth there is in it. He’d rather have someone like Romney win. At least with Romney you could hold your nose, and wait till the end of their term. With Trump it could very well be The End of America. But he says he’ll stick it out. He and his audience were there for the Bush years, and so he’ll stay and stick out Trump.

Private Healthcare: Insurers Demand American Women Be Sterilised

February 26, 2015

I found this extremely chilling clip on youtube. It’s protesting against the way American women have been told by their medical insurers that the are ineligible for medical insurance after giving birth by caesarean section. The only way the insurance companies were willing to insure them was if they were sterilised.

Clearly, this is a grossly immoral attack on women’s reproductive rights over their own body. But it’s not one you hear about over this side of the Atlantic.

It does, however, make sense of some of the hysterical fearmongering the Repugs have tried to stir up against Obamacare and socialised medicine in general. The attitude of the Republicans is that socialised medicine was wrong, because of the Nazis and eugenics. Right at the beginning of Obama’s administration, Sarah Palin was screaming about how she didn’t want socialised medicine in America, because she didn’t want her children facing ‘death panels’. The idea seemed to be that if American had state-funded medical care for everyone, the state would also go to extreme lengths to ensure that medical funding ensured the best possible result. And that would mean the culling of the unfit and infirm.

Many Americans seem to have actually believed this. The BBC sent one of their reporters to cover a Tea Party protest against Obamacare. One of the protesters, an older man, came up to the camera crew and shouted ‘Your healthcare system stinks!’ He then looked genuinely hurt and surprised when the Beeb’s reported calmly asked him what he meant, as though he really couldn’t understand how anyone could possibly challenge his views. He seemed never to have even considered the possibility that he could be wrong, and was shaken just by the suggestion of it.

More recently, Sarah Palin and her supporters have taken to screaming that Obamacare means that the government will limit you to only having one baby.

I’ve also come across arguments by Libertarians against the NHS on the grounds that state medical care effectively extends state control over your body, and so doctors can order you to give up smoking, exercise and so on with the threat that they will remove your health care.

This video shows that this is actually all projection. It’s really what American medical insurers are doing to those unlucky enough to have policies with them. It’s Palin, the Tea Party and the other Republican exploiters and maniacs trying to divert attention from the failings and expanding power of the medical insurers over their customers’ bodies, by hollering that it’s the reality of state medical care.

It also has profound implications in Britain. The Fuhrage has stated that he wishes to replace the NHS with an insurance-funded system. His second in command, Paul Nuttall, has also said that he wants the NHS sold off. So have a whole slew of Tories, including Andrew Lansley, the current health minister.

This is what we will get, if Britain goes down that road. And 92 Tory and Lib Dem MPs have links with private healthcare companies, and are hoping we do.

As for the Nazis and medical care, the Nazis did not introduce state medicine, or state funded medicine. Far from it. German workers had enjoyed state medical insurance after it was introduced by Bismarck in 1875. The German people therefore had enjoyed over half a century of state-funded medical treatment before the Nazis took power in 1932/3. So like much of the Repug’s propaganda, it’s not only bonkers, it’s also factually wrong.

More on Mussolini and the Conservative Industrialists

April 14, 2014

Mussolini Pic

I’ve posted a number of piece on the way Mussolini appealed to the Italian middle classes to support Fascism through posing as defending private industry, property and free trade against Socialism and the organised working class. Denis Mack Smith in his biography also states that the Duce also talked about reducing bureaucracy, ending state unemployment payments and stating that social inequalities should be increased. (Mussolini (London: Paladin Grafton book 1983) 134). He also made moves to allow private enterprise a share of the telephone system and life insurance, both of which had been state enterprises. (p. 135).

One of the first things Margaret Thatcher did as PM was privatise the phone company. The Tories are also extremely keen on reducing bureaucracy and have increasingly cut down on unemployment benefit. They are also intending to end the NHS and introduce a system of private medical insurance, as in the US. And Kittysjones in one of her pieces last week pointed out that Maggie Thatcher also believed in increasing social inequalities as a spur to people trying to improve their position in society. With the ideological similarities between Conservativism and one section of Fascist ideology so strong, I’m surprised that there aren’t shouts of ‘Duce! Duce!’ at the Tory annual conferences.

The True Nature of American Healthcare

September 18, 2013

The Republicans over in America and the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Britain are doing all they can to undermine and discredit Britain’s NHS. The Coalition is introducing legislation which will eventually lead to its privatisation. The Republicans in America hope to discredit it as a way of attacking ‘Obamacare’. You can read in the Right-wing papers and magazines articles claiming that the American private health care system is far superior to the NHS. The poster below shows the true reality for an increasing number of Americans.

Haeg Medical Bill

Since the 1970s the cost of medical insurance in the US has massively inflated. About seven per cent of Americans are now unable to afford medical insurance. President Clinton expressed concern back in the 1990s when ten per cent of the American public couldn’t afford it. The costs of medical treatment is the single largest cause of bankruptcy in America. A friend of mine, who trained as a doctor, and whose family includes economists and financial workers told me that, contrary to the public propaganda, many American hospitals are already being effectively funded by the state as the fees charged cannot cover the true costs of treatment.

The above post comes from page 17 of Greg Palast’s expose of the corrupt, profiteering nature of the Bush presidency, its invasion of Iraq and attacks on the American welfare system, Armed Madhouse. it was used with permission of the Haeg family. America is a great nation and it has a great people. They’re enterprising and hard working. The neighbourliness and willingness to do something to help a tragically injured young woman is admirable. It shows the very best of the American character. We could do with more it.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that ordinary, decent folks should not need to go to the friends and neighbours because they can’t pay their medical bills. They should be able to count on the aid of the state to cover the costs when they are unable to do so.

Don’t be misled by the Conservative and Liberal propaganda. The Conservatives and Liberals wish to privatise the NHS and have extensive personal links with the companies seeking to profit from its abolition. If they continue with their reforms, you will see people over here denied medical treatment because they cannot afford it. And unlike this young woman and her family, they won’t have such great neighbours to help them out.


Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse (London: Penguin 2006).