For the purposes of budgeting, politicians discuss welfare and healthcare separately. Of course, in reality, the two are closely linked. If the welfare of patients is compromised then a higher demand for healthcare often follows as vulnerable people, who do not enjoy the best of health, can quickly become high risk patients with a significant deterioration in health. The ongoing welfare reforms have been demonstrated to be an ideological choice not a financial necessity, as government propaganda since 2010 has been relentless when attacking those who need help the most but who rarely have a voice to challenge the many unsubstantiated government claims. The welfare reforms have been demonstrated to be causing preventable harm, as those surviving on a modest income now live with uncertainty and with the possibility that a political decision has enforced a return to employment regardless of health or medical opinion.
When it comes to the British government imposing severe welfare reforms, whilst citing academic research to justify government claims of vast numbers of people ‘languishing’ on long-term sickness benefit, reference was made to research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that did not require peer review prior to publication. The fact that the cited 2005 research was sponsored by UnumProvident Insurance, an American corporate healthcare insurance giant, is never mentioned in political circles and the general public are very easily misled.
The long-ago plan to dismantle the welfare state began with the 2006 Green Paper: A New Deal for Welfare ~ empowering people to work. The Green Paper introduced the ‘reform’ of Incapacity Benefit, which really meant the demolition of the income replacement benefit paid to people of working age who are unfit to work. However the DWP, not for the first time, overlooked the reality that someone, somewhere, would challenge the credibility of their argument, as demonstrated so well by Professor Alison Ravetz.