Another day. Another demonstration of how little U.S. President Donald Trump actually knows.
On the 5th of February, Donald Trump – taking inspiration from everyone’s favourite seven-time failed Parliamentary candidate Nigel Farage, who appeared as a guest on the early-morning chat-show Fox & Friends – yet again verbally desecrated out his opinions on Twitter. This time, his target was our National Health Service; and like every time before, he’s wrong.
He tweeted: “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!”
Trump was referring to the demonstration in Central London the day before, where thousands of people marched to Downing Street to protest chronic NHS underfunding, arguably the catalyst for the services’ current crisis. They did not protest about immigration, which Farage dishonestly identified as the root problem of the crisis during his interview. In fact, if it were not for immigration, our NHS would not just be starved of capital but also of talent. Out of the 1.1 million staff working for the NHS, 138,000 are immigrants. It is undeniable that multiculturalism lies at the heart of our healthcare service.
While no one can deny that the NHS is under serious strain, Trump’s implication that universal healthcare is “not working,” “really bad” and “non-personal” is stupidly ironic. This is especially evident when one compares our service to the American healthcare system which Trump presides over. According to data collected by the OECD, average U.K. spend per head on healthcare is £2,989 ($4,147). This provides a care which creates an average life expectancy of 80 years between both sexes. In shocking contrast, the U.S. pumps $9,892 in its system, more than twice the U.K. Yet, this only facilitates a life expectancy of 78 years. It is staggering that despite the huge disparity between budgets, the UK is able to offer universal care at no upfront cost while the US cannot. Imagine what the NHS would be able to accomplish if it enjoyed similar levels of funding?
Further, the NHS provides care free at the point of use. There is no upfront cost nor post-care bill. Crucially, it does not discriminate between rich and poor, as does the American system which perpetuates a disparity in the quality of care one can receive depending on their income. In this regard, the NHS is hardly “non-personal” as Trump insinuates. What is the point of healthcare if it does not seek to save every life?
President Trump may be illiterate with the concept of healthcare, but then again, he is for most issues. Plus, with a system which leaves tens of millions unprotected, maybe Trump should fix America’s fundamentally broken healthcare system first before criticising our NHS.