What will actually happen if the NHS Bill is dropped?

A question, as I have been struggling to find good, convincing answers to what seems to me a key factor facing Liberal Democrat conference representatives.

What will actually happen if the Health and Social Care Bill is dropped?

Sure, there’ll be a nice simple political message if the Bill is dropped as a result of Lib Dem pressure. But what will actually happen to the NHS?

It’s been much commented that many of the changes are already happening and don’t need legislation. That leads to an obvious question about how much of a difference to the NHS (rather than the politics) blocking the Bill would make. There’s also the question of the extent to which Labour’s 2006 measures will get rolled back/unleashed if the Bill is blocked/passed.

So, bearing in mind both the legal situation without the Bill and also the practical politics, what will actually happen?

I can imagine there’s a range of possible plausible answers, especially as it isn’t simply a matter of legal interpretation (though even that can often lead to many views!). I’ve yet to find answers that convince me, whether they lead to a conclusion that supporting or opposing the Bill is a good idea.

I’ve no doubt there are many people with expert views and detailed knowledge who can come up with plausible answers. So persuade me…

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