President Donald Trump woke up early on Monday morning and was clearly watching his favorite show, Fox & Friends when he decided to fire off this tweet:
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. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
The report Trump saw, however, was actually about a Save the National Health Service (NHS) rally held in the United Kingdom over the weekend to demand more funding for universal health care in the UK.
And the president’s ill-informed tweet soon drew a response, first from the British Health Secretary, who made sure to reply on Twitter, too:
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. 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 https://t.co/YJsKBAHsw7
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) February 5, 2018
Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also joined the fray:
Wrong. People were marching because we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it. Healthcare is a human right. https://t.co/Pmo2xYSqZh
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 5, 2018
Even the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, pushed back on Trump’s remarks, with a spokesperson for the PM commenting:
“The prime minister is proud of having an NHS which is free at the point of delivery.
“NHS funding is at a record high, and was prioritized in the budget with an extra £2.8 billion. In the recent Commonwealth Fund international survey the NHS was rated the best in the world for a second time.”
But there would seem to be an even deeper hypocrisy inherent in Trump’s tweet: He recently tried to rip health care away from millions of Americans by repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He was able to get a repeal of the individual mandate, and that alone could wind up raising premiums for those who get their health insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace by as much as 10 percent in the years ahead.
While Trump repeatedly said during the course of the 2016 campaign that he would replace the ACA with something better, every plan presented by his party in 2017 would have wound up leaving tens of millions with no health coverage at all.
The British NHS may not be perfect, but it certainly aims to assure that everyone is able to access medical services, no matter their economic standing. In the U.S., on the other hand, many are at the mercy of a government which is partially under the sway of the very companies that drive up the cost of medical tests, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.