Both the British and we Americans are naive over what is at stake in a battle which the Brits frame as just being about their NHS, and the US frames as being about healthcare reform or Medicare For All..

Much more is at stake than just that. This site is attempting to quantify and explain what is happening.

Briton's price estimates for medicines are not anywhere near what these medicines cost now. <a href="https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1201968538895958018">Video of Britons - from Twitter. December 3, 2019</a>
Why are they so expensive now? There has been a severe shift in the pricing methodology. Unbeknownst to most people drugs are now priced using an algorithm that is literally based on extortion. Your money or your life.

For the details, see pricing expert Donald W. Light's web site, Pharmamyths.net.

Their medical data is being sold to huge global firms.
Brits don't even realize why healthcare companies want their medical data.

Its NOT 'for science'.

It's to price their health insurance, in the near future.

Here in the US, we committed to freeze financial services regulation (like health insurance) in 1998 when we signed the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services, which the EU also signed. The text is below:

standstill-small.png
Effective date: February 26, 1998

That means any "equivalent" agreement on the part of the UK likely also agrees to freeze financial regulation either at the 1998 level (if they Remain) OR it is reset with the GATS rules being the default. That would mean no NHS as it exists today.


The NHS violates those rules and rejoining the WTO as an independent nation triggers demands to conform to those rules. ("accession") from other countries that hold a veto.

The problems Britons are worried about seem to me to not have been caused by the EU, they originate in the WTO GATS agreement!

Examples:

1Tab2.png

Source:Skala (2009)

GATS rules also froze financial services (i.e. health insurance) regulation in 1998 and the Affordable Care Act only temporarily implemented what Americans call "pre-existing coverage protection". Here in the US this has caused a lot of dishonesty. For example, we never made the needed changes in the underlying WTO commitments, so because of this "standstill" the changes made - such as pre-existing conditions coverage, made by the 2009 Affordable Care Act are not conformant with the letter of the WTO law and so are challenge-able, for example, by any country that wants those patients to come to be treated in them rather than be treated here.
Which one do you think is least trade restrictive? (so who will win) See the problem?

As are other proposals, until those changes in the WTO and other trade agreements are made, changes which may soon become impossibly costly, if people keep pretending they are not there.

What will happen? What do you think? The world is entering a new era, one where life is cheap and poor people's lives disposable. Even as jobs are drying up.

Will Medical Tourism become the norm?

What countries have clearly indicated they want their entire healthcare system to remain noncommercial and free to everybody? Has Canada?
Even Canada's healthcare is under attack now. See "Putting Health First". But they are in a far better situation than European countries with partially subsidized "public option" systems like the UK's embattled NHS, and others who are struggling to preserve what they have while trying to fend off the demands of countries like the US and India for market access..

(A number of other developing countries have also been negotiating for years with the US, EU, etc, to trade patients and doctors, as part of the TISA negotiations.

Thanks to a huge and global effort to shift the Overton Window using FTAs, its now generally seen by neoliberals as "natural" for the world's poor to gravitate to poorer countries for healthcare as their jobs and incomes dry up. For an example of writing on this subject see "Does Health Insurance Impede Trade In Healthcare Services" by Mattoo_and_Rathindran. )

Are we seeing a war on sick people?

Its already happening here in the US. Millions of excess deaths, with poverty shortening lives by as much as one and a half decades or more.  "But it could be worse" we often hear. Usually, what is meant is this: Before the 2010 law, (which violated the 1998 WTO standstill so is now endangered) millions of Americans could not buy healthcare for any price. Now at least Senators and Congresspeoples golfing buddies (the well to do self employed and rich) can buy expensive non-group health care with high deductibles.

But only people who have NO other way of getting insurance, such as an employer's plan, even if that plan is terrible, are eligible for Obamacare! And its subsidies are running into GATS so likely are not long for this world. (Article 13 of GATS calls for the end of subsidies that distort trade and requires members to negotiate procedures to combat them. Every two years or so Article 19 of GATS requires that “Members shall enter into successive rounds of negotiations . . . with a view to achieving a progressively higher level of liberalisation.” In other words, EVERYTHING must be on the table in this system, unless its excluded explicitly and the entire service sector is completely noncommercial.)

This very high, arguably unattainable bar (for example, see Rudolf Adlung) keeps the world's healthcare hierarchy in place.

Was it worse in the past here in the US?

It depends on your income. For the rich, it most decidebly was. Ask Americans who remember what it was like in the past. Health insurers only want to insure wealthy, healthy people.Sick people they will only insure under duress, and they have myriad ways to dump people when they start to make claims. (However, there were free clinics for poor people, which did not require that people seeking care first sign up for insurance, even when they were lying on the gurney in a hospital. I don't know if that is still the case, it may not be. (US hospitals, under EMTALA law,  are supposed to stabilize patients in an emergency situation before they discharge them with a bag of pills and a note to see their doctor, IMMEDIATELY.)

But it is true, many people, particularly the third of Americans who have a chronic condition in their family,  could not get health insurance, or if they could, all costs relating to preexisting conditions were excluded or the cost was astronimically expensive - it often still is.

Others were dumped from insurance when they got sick, retroactively.

Leaving people with thousands, hundreds of thousands, or in some cases, millions of dollars in suddenly resurrected bills, as the insurance companies had clawed whatever payments they paid to healthcare providers back to the beginnings of the policies, back. This practice is called "Rescission"

According to HealthCare.gov, this is what the word means in the health insurance context.

Rescission:
"The retroactive cancellation of a health insurance policy. Insurance companies will sometimes retroactively cancel your entire policy if you made a mistake on your initial application when you buy an individual market insurance policy. Under the Affordable Care Act, rescission is illegal except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact as prohibited by the terms of the plan or coverage."

However, it's important to understand that in the pre-Affordable Care Act days, rescissions, which seem to have abated somewhat, were always initiated for those kinds of grounds. The insurance companies always would claim some material misrepresentation on the part of the policy holder.

(See, for example, a series in the Los Angeles Times by reporter Lisa Girion on the practice, these articles date back to the 2005-2009 but they are very much worth reading).

Rescission is also called.. "post claim underwriting"

in the insurance industry... Here are some more definitions.

"Post claim underwriting is a practice whereby an insurance company, which has reason to know or suspect adverse prior medical history for you, waits until you file a claim before spending money to confirm its suspicion and then asserts that no coverage exists; therefore no claim can be paid."

...

"Post-Claims Underwriting is a notorious tactic used by insurance companies to bait unwary consumers into forking over thousands of dollars of premium, only to have the insurance company decide, after a claim is made, that they didn’t want to insure you after all.  This happens when insurance companies, in their quest to sell as many policies as possible to consumers, ask very few questions before agreeing to insure the consumers and then collect millions of dollars of premiums.  Then, after a claim is made, the insurance company asks many questions to “evaluate the risk”, which is what an underwriter is supposed to do before the risk is accepted.  This is called:  post-claims underwriting”.

By using post-claims underwriting, insurance companies search for reasons to deny claims by asking questions that should have been asked before the policy was sold and premiums paid.  Had the consumer understood the risk of non-coverage before they agreed to purchase the coverage from company A, the consumer could have made an informed decision and purchased coverage from company B or C.

And of course if they miss a payment, even for just a day, while they are sick, they get dumped. I strongly encourage people to look at, for example, videos of the Congressional hearings on the issue. Several can even be found on YouTube. 

Since we agreed to freeze financial services regulation at our 1998 level, these horrible things are likely to be coming back, soon. Its a war against the poor and weak by the corporate state. *wink wink*

Everybody wants their pound of flesh, after all, everybody else is doing it.

That's how they think. Government is on their side, so they are now determined to cash in. All around the world.