Hedge fund owns over US$800m in corporation at the heart of US private health and NHS Americanisation
Keir Starmer’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting accepted £15,000 from a donor with huge interests in privatised health care. The Electoral Commission’s register of donations shows that Streeting reported the receipt in January 2022 of the donation from John Armitage, a hedge fund founder and manager who has given over £3 million to the Tories.
Armitage, ranked number 138 on the 2021 Times ‘rich list’, is co-founder and director of the Egerton Capital hedge fund. According to the HedgeFollow site, among its almost £19bn of investments, Armitage’s fund owns shares worth almost £834m in UnitedHealth (UH), a vast US private health corporation that has spent millions lobbying US politicians for its interests. NHS campaigners told Skwawkbox that UH has played a key role in the ‘americanisation’ of the NHS that began under New Labour and continued apace under the Tories:
• the Health and Care Bill has just put into law an American scheme reducing state-funded services to profitable standards and pushing patients to pay for the rest, by rewarding providers who cut ‘unprofitable’ care (known as ACOs or ICSs)
• UnitedHealth was among the companies who developed this system with New Labour. Blair advisor Simon Stevens even became UnitedHealth CEO, before being appointed by the Tories to run the NHS to push through their ‘reforms’
• UnitedHealth subsidiary Optum is ’embedded in the whole process’. Optum was accused in a 2019 Science Magazine study of racial bias in its systems that result in less money being allocated for the care of black patients. Optum responded that its systems help “clinicians provide more effective patient care every day“
The fact that the ‘opposition’ health spokesperson has accepted funds from a source with large interests in a US healthcare corporation heavily involved in changes in the NHS has raised concerns among those trying to protect the NHS as a universal public service ‘free at the point of need’.
Wes Streeting did not respond to a request for comment on “the appropriateness of accepting £15k from a donor with huge private health interests in a company at the heart of the americanisation of the NHS“.
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