Take note from the USA: markets can’t deliver healthcare for all

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I do worry about the junior doctors' strike.

I don't worry that it is the right thing for them to do. It is.

And I don't worry that patient care will be compromised: I do not think it will be, although there will be massive inconvenience.

What worries me is that junior doctors are being provoked into action by a government intent on saying that the NHS is failing and that staff won't work for it and so market solutions that break up any notion of national pay grades must be introduced to ensure that healthcare can be provided by a broken and demoralised profession serving the interests of private capital and not patient need in the future.

And I worry because we know such a model - the US model that people like Jeremy Hunt are known to want - does not work.

How do I know this? The FT reports this morning that:

UnitedHealth, the largest US health insurer, on Thursday dealt a significant blow to President Barack Obama’s signature policy by threatening to withdraw from insurance exchanges that have helped sharply reduce the number of Americans without healthcare cover.

Why did it do that?

UnitedHealth said it was struggling to make a profit on the plans it offered through the exchanges, prompting it to scale back marketing of the products and to start a review of whether it should abandon the scheme altogether.

Healthcare for all does not and cannot pay.

And remember, that's even when healthcare in the US is twice the cost of that in the UK.

So the junior doctors are striking for you, for the sake of healthcare for all, and for keeping healthcare costs in the UK under control. It would be great if the mainstream media recognised that fact. But I won't hold my breath.