To hear Jeremy Hunt tell it, there's nothing but good news for the NHS these days. Last week we were invited to look forward to a future health service where the nurses take Zumba classes and the patients update their own medical records via FitBit. Just like the frequently promised, never delivered "seven day NHS", it's not immediately clear what any of this is actually supposed to achieve beyond a couple of days' worth of headlines. The real news in recent days, although the headlines might have missed it, tells a different story.
From Stockton South, to Rochester and Strood, voters across the political spectrum are united in the belief that it's wrong for the NHS to be part of an American trade deal. It's time for the Prime Minister to listen. Britain won't be fooled by vague assurances over the NHS. The only way to ensure our NHS is protected from this trade deal is to remove it from these talks entirely. It's time for the Prime Minister to show some backbone. Cameron must use his veto and exempt the NHS from this deal.
Most of what costs the bulk of our spending on the welfare state - and the part whose cost is rising as the population ages - are the things that nearly everyone benefits from as they move through the life cycle - schools, the NHS and pensions, on top of child benefits and tax credits for families when they have children.
In 130 pages of the Autumn Statement the Chancellor covered, as he was right to do, every major public sector programme: but there was one significant omission. A programme which now costs 8% of GDP - the National Health Service. Apart from the commitment to ring-fencing there was no single line in the whole report dedicated to the NHS.