The NHS is one of the few manifestations of the British state that significant numbers of people support. Politicians and parties often define themselves in relation to the NHS and compete to be seen to be supporting it. No major party seems willing to have a more fundamental discussion about whether a taxpayer-funded health service, governed by national and local government, is the best way to take care of the nation’s health. Is the NHS everyone queues up to defend more national myth than effective health care? Can it survive in its current form, and more importantly, should it? What is it in fact that people are defending? In this engaging debate filmed at the Battle of Ideas, battle lines are indeed drawn.