Jeremy Hunt co-authored a policy pamphlet that called for the NHS to be replaced by an insurance system.
The 2005 policy book, called Direct Democracy: An Agenda For A New Model Party, was a collection of writings authored by a group of Tory MPs.
Amongst other ideas, the book contained a blueprint for replacing the NHS with an insurance market system – and called for the private sector to be brought in.
The Health Secretary is listed as one of the authors, though he has previously denied that he wrote the chapter on the NHS and says it does not reflect his views.
The book was presented as a whole and chapters are not marked with individual authors, however.
“We should fund patients, either through the tax system or by way of universal insurance, to purchase health care from the provider of their choice,” the book says on page 74.
It adds on page 78: “Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private and public provision, in effect denationalising the provision of health care in Britain.”
Put together by Douglas Carswell, the book’s authors also included Tory MPs Michael Gove, Daniel Hannan, Greg Clark, David Gauke, and Kwasi Kwarteng.
The pamphlet briefly shot to fame in 2012, when Mr Hunt’s appointment as Health Secretary prompted Labour to highlight the book’s contents.
Then Shadow Health Secretary wrote a letter to Mr Hunt.
“Patients and staff will have serious concerns about these remarks and have a right to know whether you remain of this view,” he asked at the time.
Mr Hunt has since repeatedly said he believes in the principles of the NHS. He says the Conservatives are “the party of the NHS”.
The book can be read in full online here.
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