By Diane Cooke
Theresa May has rebuked Donald Trump over his claim the NHS is failing.
The response from the PM came after the president condemned Democrat plans for a universal healthcare system by highlighting in a tweet Saturday’s protest march in London demanding more NHS funding.
“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,” he said.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt responded via Twitter saying that while he disagreed with the opinions of some of Saturday’s marchers, “not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover”, a reference to the US situation.
He added: “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.”
What will happen to the NHS after Brexit is a great cause for concern. When Mrs May visited America in January 2017, The Independent reported that she left the door open for the greater involvement of US corporations in British healthcare as she laid the groundwork for a future trade deal.
She would only say that she was committed to a health service that is free at the point of delivery, but made no comment on whether the NHS would be off the table in any future talks.
The statement left open the possibility of the greater involvement of US firms in healthcare, as long as people do not have to pay for the services they provide at the moment they are received.
Some are wondering what exactly the US can offer a British healthcare system. The facts show that Britain spends less of its GDP on healthcare and yet people are living longer and treatment is available for everyone.
As politics fellow Professor Brian Klaas told LBC: "The facts are that the UK spends a lot less on healthcare than the US does.
"It also has longer life expectancy and has no one uninsured.
"The US has a very strong quality of care, but has access problems, where many poor people have worse care than rich people with insurance."
Health care dominated Donald Trump's first year as President after his campaign promised to scrap Barack Obama's insurance reforms.
Americans get health coverage via their employers, private policies or state-sponsored Medicare - but millions of people have no cover at all.
The so-called Obamacare reform slashed the number of people in America with no insurance but was hated by Republicans as a symptom of state interference.
Trump won the White House partly by promising to scrap it. A first attempt failed last summer after John McCain defied Republican orders to pass a 'repeal and replace' measure.
But in December Trump managed to pass a tax law that scrapped a penalty for people who refuse to buy medical insurance - which he said 'essentially' scrapped the law.
Trump promised later that a new Obamacare-killing bill would pass early in 2018.