How US newspapers view the UK’s NHS: A study in international lesson-drawing

Sean Tunney, Jane Thomas, Adam Cox

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Healthcare on both sides of the Atlantic is a highly charged political and economic subject. This work considers US media coverage of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), an under-researched area. We assess the framing of the NHS in editorials, opinion and feature articles during the time of the Obama administration to show how media can perform the role of lesson-drawing, a theory adopted from public policy research. The study also applies the notion of journalistic habitus in this context. Using these ideas, we address a hypothesis which holds that US coverage is framed around the flaws of the UK’s NHS. The paper considers how intermedia editorial and news values operate, with commentators drawing a range of negative lessons in both the Democrat- and Republican-supporting press. We find that the NHS was often posited as a flawed international variant of the single-payer model, where newspapers employed an ahistoric explanation of failure and decline.

© 2021, Springer. The attached document (embargoed until 25/04/2022) is an author produced version of a paper published in JOURNAL NAME uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2021

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