Britain Claps Back at Trump: Our Health System Is Better Than Yours

Trump tweet claimed the NHS was “going broke and not working.”

The spinning roulette wheel of what Donald Trump is angry about landed on the U.K.’s National Health Service on Monday morning—prompting the president to lash out on Twitter, where he claimed it was “going broke and not working.”

The president’s NHS research apparently consisted of watching a segment on Fox & Friends featuring Brexit figurehead and former leader of the U.K. Independence Party Nigel Farage. Like everything else, Farage blamed strains in the health service on “unconditional migration” rather than rising life expectancy and medical advances.

“The big problem we’ve got is a population crisis caused by the government policy on immigration,” said Farage. “So we have a population of 65 million increasing by half a million people every single year. Over three quarters of that is directly attributed to immigration over the last few years.”

However, the “thousands of people marching” referred to by both Fox & Friends and Trump was actually a rally over the weekend that saw thousands of health workers, pro-NHS activists, and trade unionists take to the streets in London to urge the government to protect the NHS.

The NHS has been experiencing a “winter crisis” in recent weeks caused by flu outbreaks, with 95 percent of hospital beds around the country full. The U.K. government and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have come under strong criticism for failing to increase funding to help deal with the crisis.

Despite the criticism, Hunt won plaudits for hitting back at Trump and making it clear that no one in the U.K. wants to lose universal health care.

Directly comparing the NHS to U.S. health care, the health secretary tweeted: “The NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage—where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance.”

In the latest polling figures, public satisfaction with the NHS in the U.K. was at 63 percent, and, last year, the NHS was rated as the world’s best health-care system by U.S. think tank the Commonwealth Fund in a comparison of 11 health services across the world. The U.S. came last.

British commentators and other politicians were quick to point out that people were marching in London over the weekend because they want to keep the NHS and improve its funding, not because they wanted to get rid of it.

Trump’s NHS tweet is the latest in a string of ways the president has irritated Britain. Prime Minister Theresa May told Trump he was “wrong” to retweet anti-Muslim videos from far-right group Britain First, to which he replied that she should “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.”

Trump also feuded with London Mayor Sadiq Khan last summer when he criticized the handling of a terror attack in the city, alleging that Khan had said there was “no reason to be alarmed” about the attack when he was actually attempting to reassure Londoners about an increased police presence on the streets following the attack.

British intelligence also warned last week that Trump’s handling of the FBI memo released last week could jeopardize the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing pact that exists between the U.K. and the U.S.