President Trump: Britain’s National Health Service Is ‘On the Table’ in Any New Trade Deal

President Trump: Britain’s National Health Service Is ‘On the Table’ in Any New Trade Deal

President Trump had more than a few people scratching their heads when he suggested on Tuesday that Britain’s National Health Services would be “on the table” during negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement.

During a joint press conference with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump was asked if he agreed with U.S. ambassador Woody Johnson’s recent contention that “the entire economy needs to be on the table in a future trade talk, trade deal, including the NHS?”

The NHS is the National Health Service, Britain’s public health system.

Trump responded first that he thinks the U.S. and Britain will “have a great trade deal…great and comprehensive.” Asked again if the NHS should be “on the table,” he responded that everything is on the table.

This will surely make many Britons nervous. The NHS has long been a revered institution in the country, a third rail that most politicians don’t want to touch.

At the same time, there are some private hospitals and clinics run by American companies, and other companies have contracts to support the public system. Britons apparently fear that a new trade deal will lead to widespread privatization of health services.

So no doubt making any changes to NHS as part of a trade agreement with the U.S. is going to cause an enormous uproar in the United Kingdom. Add to that the fact that any trade deal is being negotiated because of the controversial Brexit, and British politicians have quite a headache to deal with.

May is probably leaving at just the right time for her own sanity.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

 

 

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.