Trump Echoes Fox News Guest (Again), Blasts English Health Service

Protesters carry placards during a march calling for an end to the 'crisis' in the state-run National Health Service (NHS), in central London on February 3, 2018. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump chastised the United Kingdom's National Health Service on Twitter just an hour after a prominent British nationalist made similar statements during an interview with Fox & Friends on Monday morning.

Nigel Farage, former leader of the right-wing U.K. Independence Party, was on Trump's favorite morning news show to talk about this weekend's protests in support of more funding and greater accountability for the NHS.

During the show, Fox News host Steve Doocy said celebrations in Philadelphia mirrored the Brits' protests of their "overburdened national health service—the same system Democrats have continued to push for here in the United States."

Doocy then asked Farage to explain the protests to the show's American audience. Farage's first target were immigrants.

"Well the big problem we've got is a population crisis caused by government policy on immigration," Farage said. "We have a population of 65 million but it's increasing by half a million people a year. We just haven't got enough hospitals, we haven't got enough doctors, we haven't got enough facilities."

"The National Health Service has turned into the International Health Service and we're providing a lot of healthcare for people coming into Britain from all over the world. We do need some absolutely fundamental reforms," Farage continued. "This system we have was set up in 1948. Surprisingly for a state-run thing for most of the first 50 years the public had great faith in it. Right now it's pretty much at breaking point."

Farage then warned his American listeners to stay clear of universal health care because the country "would never ever be able to remove it."

About an hour later, Trump tweeted a combination of Doocy's and Farange's points.

"The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!," the President wrote.

In a separate tweet, Trump thanked Fox & Friends for "exposing the truth," adding, "Perhaps that's why your ratings are soooo [sic] much better than your untruthful competition!"

Trump's response was swiftly criticized by commentators and British and American politicians, who drew attention to the many faults in the U.S. health care system. Many pointed to high per-capita costs and the lack of adequate coverage for the poor.

Jeremy Hunt, the U.K.'s health secretary, retweeted the President, adding that while the NHS has its issues, no one in the U.K. would want "to live in a system where [28 million] people have no cover." Hunt wrote that he was "proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage—where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance."

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the left-leaning Labour Party, also replied to Trump on Twitter: "Wrong," Corbyn wrote. "People were marching because we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it. Healthcare is a human right."

The People's Assembly Against Austerity and Health Campaigns Together, a British activist group that organized Saturday's protests, also replied to the President and Farage, tweeting that the reason for the demonstration was to try and stop the British government from moving the NHS towards "an American-style system which is widely acknowledged to be one of the most expensive, inefficient and unjust healthcare systems in the world."

"Tens of thousands of British people want to show their love for the principles of universal and comprehensive care free at the point of use, paid for through general taxation," the group wrote. We don't agree with your divisive and incorrect rhetoric. No thanks."

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. spends $2.8 trillion on health care annually, or around $8,500 a person—20 percent more than the next highest country in the world. Despite spending more, Americans on average visit the doctor less than those in the U.K., Germany, France, Canada and Australia, all of whom have some version of publicly-funded health care.

A movement to bring universal healthcare to the U.S. gained steamed during last year's presidential election thanks in large part to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who wants the U.S. to adopt a "Medicare-for-All" program. A December 2017 Gallup poll shows 47 percent of respondents support a government-run health care system, the highest in seven years.