U.S. President Donald Trump Monday seized on weekend protests about the U.K.’s National Health Service to speak out against universal health care, tweeting that “the Democrats are pushing for universal health care while thousands of people are marching in the U.K. because their [universal coverage] system is going broke and not working.”
He said that members of the U.S. Democratic Party “want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!”
U.K. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt pushed back strongly against Trump’s comments: “I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28 million people have no cover,” he tweeted.
The NHS “may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage — where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance,” Hunt continued.
Saturday’s protests in London and elsewhere were in support of the NHS, which is underfunded and overstretched, and against American-style privatization, according to the Guardian.
Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Judith Jolly said in a statement that Trump’s remarks show he is “dangerously deluded about the NHS.”
Concerns about privatization of the U.K. health system have been fierce of late in part because of an ongoing attempt by the government to introduce a new contract for accountable care organizations, a term borrowed from the American health care system in which different institutions within the health and social care system work together. Critics say it could mean that commercial providers will end up holding responsibility for NHS services.