While the general public, Labour, most Lib Dems (impotent as they are) and almost every health trust in the UK tells Cameron that his health reforms might kill the NHS, the PM refuses to drop his government's controversial plans.
This week I paid £17 for an NHS dentist to tell me my teeth were perfect. A touch stained from my addiction to coffee, but otherwise immaculate. It was a bit odd; while it was lovely to receive the compliment, I couldn't help but feel like there needed to be something wrong with my gob in order to justify my being there. I had feared a tut, a dramatic intake of breath as my lips parted and revealed to Marcos (the dentist) a hideous mess of poor oral hygiene: "You're lucky you came when you did - a week more and you might have lost ALL YOUR TEETH."
Instead, I failed not to appear smug, and nearly skipped out of the door.
My trivial visit was the first time I've used an NHS service in 4 years - I was in and out in 5 minutes. I, like many UK citizens, am fortunate enough to not appreciate the value of our national health service. For me, it's there in the background, like an air bag. I'm told the car has one, but I'm only going to have to use it if something goes spectacularly badly. Clearly, the analogy shows my failing to understand what the NHS is there to do - it's a service that maintains health, rather than jumping in at the last minute to prevent death. Far too many of us, myself included, view the NHS as a force of prevention, that last line of defence - it's that misunderstanding that prevents us from engaging in the debate that is currently swarming around Cameron's reforms.
I hope I never find cause to become more intimate with our NHS. But for someone like my Gran, whose shoulder was recently reconstructed after she slipped on some ice, the NHS ensured that her life was able to carry on with as little hassle as possible. The nurses on her ward were lovely. The doctors were professional. The catering staff were thoughtful enough to take note of her particular dislike of pea soup. For my Gran, her brief stint in hospital was admittedly uncomfortable - but not due to any lack of professionalism or care. Some may have a negative experience of using public health services - but the truth of the matter is, most of us don't. Most of us walk in with a problem, and walk out with a solution, or a care package, or at the very least, the knowledge that we're just hypochondriacs. Those stories won't make the news, because we don't seem to buy (or rather, be sold) good news.
I hope that it isn't the loss of the NHS that results in the nation discovering just how good we've got it. I hope Cameron pulls out a huge U-turn, that he listens to the screaming, angry mass of doctors, nurses, midwives and service providers telling him that he's got it wrong. I won't think he's a bad politician if he changes his mind. I won't think him weak, or confused, or lacking in qualities of leadership. I want the coalition to stop hiding behind figures of reducing waiting times and impossibly pointless statistics, and listen to the concerns of those staff working on the front line of the organisation they are slowly destroying.
Most of all, I hope none of us find ourselves in a position in which we come to understand, first hand, just how amazing the NHS is.
Subsequent stories: Nick Clegg sticks his oar in