Britons begged to differ. Their publicly funded health system, where treatments are free at the point of delivery, is a much-loved institution that’s always near the top of voter priorities. The main complaint: The NHS is becoming too American.
“There would be millions marching if we had the US system!” tweeted Paul Kyle, who described himself on Twitter as a Manchester United and Metallica fan, in response to Trump. A Twitter user going by the handle Constantly Miffed wrote: “we’re marching against right-wing ideologies trying to kill the NHS, and against increased privatization.”
The back-and-forth began when the president apparently saw a Fox News broadcast this morning focusing on the protests, in which thousands of Londoners turned out to demand more staff, more funds and more beds for the under-financed system. The program featured Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, a frequent Fox commentator.
“The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working,” Trump wrote. “Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!”
U.K. officials jumped quickly to the NHS’s defense. “We’re proud of all it does and all it achieves,” government spokesman James Slack told reporters in London, though he also stressed that Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump have a “good relationship.” He said he couldn’t recall the two leaders ever discussing the health service.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted that for Britons, the “No thanks” applied to U.S. health care.
“I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover,” he wrote. “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.”
(Photo: Allison Bell/TA)