'Safe in our hands'
Whatever else might have to be cut, you can rest assured that the NHS is "safe in our hands". That's the message coming from both the Tories and Labour - although no-one is daft enough to recycle the words Margaret Thatcher used when she tried and failed to reassure people about her approach to the health service.
Yet the message coming from others is much less sanguine. Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the King's Fund - an independent health think think - says:
"The scale of what is about to hit the health care system is unprecedented... [it] will be the first time in [its] history that it has had to go for such a long period with rising demand and little or no new money."
Economists from the King's Fund and the Insititute for Fiscal Studies have looked at the best- and worst-case scenarios for NHS funding over the next few years. They calculate a shortfall between £6.4bn and £32.4bn by 2016/17 at today's prices - that's between 6% and 31% of the entire NHS budget.
I'm moonlighting this week as a presenter on Newsnight. Tonight, in a special programme, we'll be asking how the NHS will cope without the huge spending increases it's grown used to.
An ageing population combined with improvements in technology and greater public demands at a time of a public spending squeeze: the challenge is not, of course, new. They all existed in Margaret Thatcher's day. She never escaped the charge that she had cut the NHS. It's worth remembering that in her time in office, health spending increased on average by 3% in real terms.