Listen to the Labour spin, the media furore, or the special interests in the healthcare unions, and you'd think that the Health and Social Care Bill had been crafted by the evil Tories and naive Lib Dems to maliciously snatch all hope of critically needed health and hospital care from the poor and vulnerable, dooming great swathes of the population to lives of miserable illness and suffering, all to help the 'rich and profiteering' private healthcare companies milk every last penny and drop of human decency out of society.
Left leaning voters are angry - indeed opinion polls show that a majority of voters are fearful and opposed to the government's NHS reforms. Leading Lib Dem politicians from Simon Hughes to Tim Farron, to the Clegg -Williams letter circulated to party members, and jumped on by the Bill's opponents, have been lining up to appear against the government's proposals and to be concerned and critical about the dangers of competition.
Some in the party no doubt see now as a chance to make the headlines, and start a recovery amongst the tactical and protest voters we've had support from in past elections. This is understandable politics, but, I believe, potentially damaging both to the party's credibility and to the country.
I worry because the spin and anti-Bill protestations are false - the reality somewhat different, the threats to the NHS more challenging to accept and hard to fix. Facing up to and solving these challenges is an important obligation of a responsible government, and what I would expect of the Lib Dem government that I voted for.
Recent reviews and research, including under the previous government, have shown that, unreformed, the prognosis for the NHS, is not too healthy - a smaller economy following the financial crisis still stubbornly refusing to grow, an ageing population, an expensive and draining management bureaucracy, and the stagnancy and declining return of a complacent provider monopoly ever more demanding of ever greater funds. Barely heard for all the noise and hyperbole, these are the real threats to our health service. The reality few want to face is that staying the same means accepting a future of foreseeable and terminal decline. Defending the NHS means accepting the need for change.
The principles at the heart of the government's proposed reforms are Liberal ones - of increasing transparency and information, of devolving power to as local a level as possible, of challenging monopoly, of free trade without barriers to everyone's benefit, and of universal access and protecting the vulnerable.
* Andrew Tennant is a Lib Dem member in Charnwood, Leicestershire.