by Erik Halvorson
Overshadowed this week by Senate Republicans’ continued attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) let loose on Sunday that Democrats’ alternative solutions on healthcare could include an option long rumored to be on the progressive agenda. “Single-payer is on the table,” Schumer told the host of ABC’s “This Week,” hinting at a possible Democrat platform item should the GOP fail in its long-promised attempt to reform the US healthcare system.
This should terrify Americans. Not only does a single-payer option hand more power to the federal bureaucracy, inevitably resulting in higher prices and lower quality of care; it also carries the ethical perils that accompany any government-run “assistance.” To see the ramifications of such a system, Americans need only to look across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom where the single-payer model is poised to euthanize 10-month-old Charlie Gard.
Charlie Gard, the son of Chris Gard and Connie Yates, was born with a very rare mitochondrial disorder — known as infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Charlie’s illness became symptomatic after 30 days and quickly led to increasing muscle and brain degeneration. Due to the rareness of his disease and the lack of treatment available in the UK, Charlie was essentially sentenced to death by the draconian healthcare experts in his country.
Charlie’s parents searched out alternative options for their son and found hope in Italian and American teams of doctors who were willing to perform experimental procedures on Charlie in an attempt to save his life. Chris and Connie raised $1.6 million from private donations to fund the travel and treatment for their son. But just as this glimmer of hope shone for these young parents, officials from the Great Ormond Street Hospital where Charlie was being treated informed his parents that not only was the UK government barring Charlie from receiving the only treatment that could possibly save his life, but he would also not be allowed to leave the hospital to pass away in peace with his parents.
After a lengthy court battle, Charlie’s parents announced on Monday that they would no longer fight to save their son but would let him be taken off life support. In an emotional statement delivered to the media, Chris Gard stated:
The American and Italian team were still willing to treat Charlie after seeing his recent MRI and EEG perform last week, but there is one simple reason why treatment cannot now go ahead and that is time. A whole lot of time has been wasted.
We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to just lie in hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought.
Tragically having had Charlie’s medical notes reviewed by independent experts, we now know had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal healthy little boy.
This is the reality of government-run medicine.
And, unfortunately, Charlie is not alone. Every year, thousands of people face the aptly nicknamed “death panels” in other countries with socialized medicine. The lives of these individuals are decided by bureaucrats and supposed “experts.”
As in the case of Charlie Gard, socialized medicine gives bureaucratic officials the audacity to answer questions as if they have divine authority: Is your life worth saving? Do you deserve this treatment? We — the obviously clueless citizenry — are expected to trust their judgment, because the almighty government is here to help. But as Charlie Gard clearly demonstrates, the only thing the government wants is more control.
The judge overseeing Charlie’s case stated last week that “[i]t would be entirely wrong for him [Charlie] to be moved without my being involved.” Why? Charlie’s parents had the money and doctors willing to try to save their son’s life. In what world is this acceptable? In what world do we as a society let the State supersede two able-bodied parents whose only goal is to save their child’s life?
At the core of the Charlie Gard tragedy the Left’s perverse ideology is hard at work. To the likes of Chuck Schumer, the government is something we all belong to, not something that belongs to all of us. It will act as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. It will decide which quality of life is worth maintaining and which should be snuffed out. It will decide who lives and who dies.
Do not be fooled by politicians with big promises and good intentions. The government is not only ill equipped to centrally plan the healthcare of 300 million people, but it should not and cannot be given that type of power. Keep this authority where it belongs: with the parents, with the individual, and with those it affects the most. Do not succumb to the siren song of the Left; the solution lies in less government, not more.