Written by Smedley Butler, CNN
Standing next to a giant blob of slime, a U.K. health official says the GOB of who’s who and where, will form the basis of the country’s new health policy.
“All the individual varieties of who and where will be recorded,” Danny Blanchflower, an expert in health economics and a professor at Dartmouth College, says in a BBC documentary produced by Robots and Humans.
“It will be a claim of herd immunity, literally.”
The documentary has sparked debate about the way the United Kingdom might incorporate data on thousands of British residents in national health policy. Last month, a new government bill defined “who and where” to include in a new “health and social care coordination framework” that would require health insurance providers to provide more personal information to improve outcomes.
So far, the bill has yet to be passed, and many privacy and data protection experts are questioning the fairness of the legislation.
The health bill aims to overhaul the UK’s seven million residents who have no health insurance. A new prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, who has previously denounced the policy, was confirmed as leader on Thursday. As May stepped down, her cabinet, which includes those who had voted against the original legislation, is a mix of new and old names.
Five percent of the country would be left uninsured, according to the BBC, which previously reported that the health bill could eventually affect up to 20 million Britons.
However, both Blanchflower and author Andy Sumner, director of the Social Data Science Research Laboratory at the University of the West of England in Bristol, feel the program is a “powerful tool” in the fight against national insurance, but also a “disaster.”
A ‘calculated move’?
Both claim that the process has been presented more broadly than necessary, and asserts a new “politicization” of policy.
Experts questioned the new legislation. Credit: David Levene/The Guardian
“I don’t think we can proceed to a universal health scheme that kind of contains citizen data without first asking a few very important questions about what we want our data to be used for and how we want it to be used,” Sumner says in the documentary.
Acknowledging the complexities of building a new law, Sumner argues that the bill may work in an effort to further weaken the power of national insurance.
He says the implications are “actually quite profound.”