Flat White

Don’t take health care reform off the election agenda

28 June 2016

7:03 AM

28 June 2016

7:03 AM

Monetarism: tick. De-nationalisation of industry: tick. Europe: big new tick.

The results of the Brexit referendum are more significant than just a victory for the Leave campaign. It marks another stunning and epochal triumph for the ideas and principles of the Tory ‘rebels’ of the post-war period.

The rebels — who included the intellectual godfathers of Thatcherism — resisted, and mounted the intellectual case against the reshaping of Toryism under the leadership of Harold MacMillan in the 1950s and then under Ted Health in the 1970s.

The Leave victory is both a win for the principles of national sovereignty and parliamentary democracy, but also – given the socialist nature of the EU project – a win for those who want smaller government and to ensure the commanding heights of the economy are in private hands.

We should take much heart from the victory of those who have played the long game and taken inspiration from their forebears. Nevertheless, there remain blind spots in the agenda of the centre-right — not only in the UK but in Australia as well.

Thatcher was content to leave the socialist National Health System untouched by her government’s de-nationalisation policies. The reasons for this was political — the level of popular support for the NHS made it untouchable.

This is not dissimilar to the situation at our current federal election, where Malcolm Turnbull has been forced for electoral reasons to promise that Medicare will never be privatised.

Health reform is needed to both balance the public finances and reduce the size of government. But it is politically difficult to achieve because health is a key commanding height of politics — an issue that can make or break governments.

If the centre-right is to prevail on the subject of health, a viable political strategy is needed to achieve reform. My extended thoughts on what that strategy should be are set out in my forthcoming article in next week’s Spectator Australia.

The post Don’t take health care reform off the election agenda appeared first on The Spectator.

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