Would he, wouldn’t he?
It’s not entirely clear where Nigel Farage stands on a potential privatisation of the NHS, despite the headlines you’ll doubtless see today declaring that he supports it outright.
Actually, the UKIP leader has said his party would “return to” a debate around the idea of the NHS being run by a private insurance company, rather than a state-funded system.
He hasn’t denied (nor confirmed) his personal support for the idea, but told the BBC that he would like to debate it again with his party, admitting that they had previously rejected the idea.
So what’s really going on?
In November, a video from 2012 was published by the Guardian that showed Farage saying: “Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the marketplace of an insurance company than just us trustingly giving £100bn a year to central government and expecting them to organise the healthcare service from cradle to grave for us.”
He subsequently had to admit that his party did not support the idea of a privatised healthcare system, and declared that UKIP supported a state-funded NHS.
But in an interview with BBC political editor Nick Robinson that airs today, Farage said that the idea of an insurance-based healthcare system (rather than state-funded) is “a debate that we’re all going to have to return to”.
Referencing our ageing population, he said: “There is no question that healthcare provision is going to have to be very much greater… and we’re going to have to find ways to do it.”
Then at around 11am this morning, he retweeted a graphic from the UKIP Twitter account stating that “UKIP is committed to a free public NHS”.
@UKIP tweeted: “UKIP and @Nigel_Farage are committed to the NHS being free at the point of delivery and unshackled by PFIs.”
— UKIP (@UKIP) January 20, 2015
Confused? We’re not surprised.
But it looks like we’ll have to wait until after the general election in May to find out what the party and its leader really want for the NHS.
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