UK Health Service ‘Up for Sale’ in US Trade Deal: Leaked Docs

Hundreds of pages of leaked documents suggest the U.S. is demanding that the NHS will be “on the table” in talks, according to Labour’s leader.

27 November 2019

The United Kingdom Labour party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn revealed Wednesday that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), which grants British citizens free healthcare at the point of access, was part of negotiations in a trade deal with the United States ahead of the country’s exit from the European Union.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has categorically denied the allegations, however, hundreds of pages of leaked official documents obtained by the Labour Party and presented to reporters suggest the U.S. is demanding that the NHS will be “on the table” in talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, Corbyn told a news conference in London.

“That could lead to runaway privatization of our health service. Megacorporations see Johnson’s alliance with (U.S. President Donald Trump) as a chance to make billions from the illness and sickness of people in this country,” Corbyn said, adding that “these uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson’s denials in absolute tatters.”

Johnson said the Labour party’s assertions were a “diversionary tactic.”

“It’s total nonsense,” he told reporters. “I can give you an absolute cast-iron guarantee that this is a complete diversion, that the NHS under no circumstances will be on the table for negotiation, for sale.”

The British NHS was established in 1948 as one of the major social reforms following World War II, providing free healthcare for citizens, which many have pointed out is of the cornerstones of British society.

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Its future has been in focus and became a key issue before the Dec. 12 general election, called by Johnson to try to break the deadlock in parliament over the country’s departure from the EU.

“We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit. A deal that will shape our country’s future,” the Labour leader said.

Back in June U.S. President Donald Trump visited former Premier Theresa May in an official visit to the U.K.,  when asked about the possibility of the NHS being part of any negotiation with the U.K., Trump answered that “when dealing with trade, everything is on the table. So, NHS or anything else. There is a lot more than that. So everything will be on the table. Absolutely.”

​​​​​​​The leaked documents, which include a controversial plan to extend patents for U.S. drug companies, also covered issues other pharma discussions and offered insight into how the Trump administration saw post-Brexit trade.

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