Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, attacked the NHS this week for “distorting democracy”. Ryan’s argument was that “free healthcare” creates pressure for ever more public spending from patients who overuse it. That is undeniable, but the last thing we need, especially in our state of post-Olympic euphoria, is to be lectured by Americans about healthcare. Surely a free universal service is the ultimate expression of the democratic ideal? The answer is not to leave the poor bleeding at a door marked “private insurance”. It is to inject more democracy into the NHS by running it for patients rather than “stakeholders”.

Camilla Cavendish visits the first NHS hospital to be run by a private company - and she’s impressed


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