Free healthcare at the point of use is a principle which any political party worth its salt should be determined to maintain, even if there is a projected budget deficit of £30bn by 2020. If more money for the NHS has to be found, so be it, and for any party leader with principle and bottle, it should be imperative to say so. Even the IMF have acknowledged that the rich are too lightly taxed in this country, whilst the EU are introducing a Tobin-type tax on financial transactions, and rich individuals in this country get away with tax avoidance to the tune of at least £35bn a year, not to mention the trillions squirrelled away in tax havens; so really, if our excellent health service is "at risk", the government must take the blame.
What would the electorate say in answer to this question? "Which of the following is essential: HS2? Trident renewal? A well funded NHS?" - The King`s Fund director of policy might think there is a problem with more funding because of the "deficit-reduction debate", but he is correct only if politicians have the wrong priorities.