Observations Lobby Watch

Workers Uniting

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c792 (Published 10 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c792
  1. Rebecca Coombes, associate editor, BMJ
  1. rcoombes{at}bmj.com

    Will a new US-UK union uncover the lobbying activities of private providers to the NHS?

    Lobbyists for private health companies have recently been swarming all over Capitol Hill in a bid to block President Obama’s healthcare reforms, according to recent dispatches from Washington, DC.

    The Guardian estimated that the industry has already spent $380m (£245m; €280m) to influence legislation through lobbying and advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress.1

    Now Workers Uniting (www.workersuniting.org), a new transatlantic trade union, is investigating the link between these US healthcare companies and the UK NHS. The union points to the “irony” that some of the private firms bidding to provide services to the NHS are, at the same time, spending millions back home in the United States to derail President Obama’s proposals to extend public health provision.

    England’s Department of Health has 14 private sector companies …

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