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Ear to the Ground

British PM Cameron Enabling Wall Street’s Takeover of National Health Service

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Posted on Jul 19, 2014

    "Only 60 years ago, health care was a luxury not everyone could afford." Photo by Paul Townsend (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The U.K.’s cherished public health service is in danger of being sold off to private corporations via a trade deal that would create a single market between the European Union and the United States and open future British governments to massive lawsuits in international courts should they attempt to reverse the decision.

The proposal is another example of a country’s elite selling out institutions that are necessary to the public welfare for the sake of maintaining and increasing its own wealth and power.

Embedded in a pact called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the deal was being negotiated in Brussels last week. Len McCluskey of Unite the Union, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, wrote on Thursday in The Guardian:

The government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 opened the floodgates to the NHS sell-off. The act has massively increased the number of private providers in the NHS. Since this act came in to force, 70% of health services put out to tender have gone to the private sector.

Many of these companies are US-based or have Wall Street investors. Serco, for example, is involved in the provision of health services within the NHS and is owned by big Wall Street investment firms such as Invesco, Fidelity and BlackRock. Now [Prime Minister David] Cameron is set on giving these US investors new powers to sue any future UK government if it makes changes to health policy that might stop the dollars rolling in.

The deal will mean that American investors will be able to haul any UK government that tries to reverse privatisation to a tribunal – the “investor state dispute settlement” that would operate outside the law of this land. These tribunals will have the power to award billions in damages and compensation for lost profits and the loss of projected future profits, with no right of appeal. Yes, that is right – no right of appeal.

In short, McCluskey continues, the British public would face a massive price hurdle if any government it elected sought to return NHS control to public hands.

“This is about our NHS, it is about our future, our health, our children” McCluskey warns. “This time, it’s life and death.”

Acquire more context related to the probable NHS deal here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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