When the financial burden of an issue weighs on a Government Program or Agency, tough decisions will be made. The scarcity of resources being allocated by a singular department or program will not only form a bottle neck for those requiring them, it will also decide who will or will not receive them. It’s that way for any situation. You’ll see it in the long lines you encounter applying for a driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. It’s evident in the lottery you may sit through for a chance at a spot at a Public Charter School that you may or may not win. (See the movie “Waiting for Superman” for a real world example of this). The efficiency is always lacking when one controlling force must allocate all of the resources to the many.
It becomes even more important and even downright disturbing when it relates to human life. These are the “Death Panels” that many spoke of occurring with Nationalized Healthcare. Like Obama said, sometimes you have to decide to either provide a treatment or “give Grandma the pill.” Many advocates of single payer healthcare insist that this doesn’t exist. But, the situation with Baby Charlie Gard is a tragic, real world example of this concept.
From National Review:
For ten months, Charlie has been living in the intensive-care unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. In March, his doctors decided that there was nothing more they could do for him, and they recommended that his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, withdraw his ventilator. They refused, on the grounds that an untried experimental treatment was available in the United States. The hospital, in accordance with British law, applied to the courts to forestall further treatment. In April, the High Court found for the doctors and against the parents. In May, the Court of Appeal upheld the initial decision. In early June, the Supreme Court agreed. And this week, the European Court of Human Rights — the last court of jurisdiction — refused to intervene. Charlie’s parents have raised enough money from private donations to fund the experimental treatment, but the court decision prohibits his removal to the U.S. Whenever they see fit to do so, the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital can now remove Charlie’s life support.
According to the Honourable Mr. Justice Nicholas Francis of the High Court’s Family Division, who authored the decision subsequently upheld by the higher courts, death is “in Charlie’s best interests.” There was no “scientific basis” for believing that Charlie would respond positively to the experimental American treatment; meanwhile, there is “unanimity among the experts from whom I have heard that nucleoside therapy cannot reverse structural brain damage.” “If,” wrote Justice Francis, “Charlie’s damaged brain function cannot be improved, as all agree, then how can he be any better off than he is now?” It was “with a heavy heart,” the judge said, that he sided with the doctors. Charlie should be permitted “to die with dignity.” In conclusion, Justice Francis praised the parents he had just overruled: “Most importantly of all, I want to thank Charlie’s parents for their brave and dignified campaign on his behalf, but more than anything to pay tribute to their absolute dedication to their wonderful boy, from the day that he was born.”
The logic of this decision — that a patient’s best interests can be conclusively determined by an objective third party possessed of adequate “scientific” knowledge — will be familiar to anyone who has watched state power over issues of life and death expand throughout the Western world in recent years. In the early 2000s, this logic was at work in the Terry Schiavo case, in which American courts took it upon themselves to ascertain Schiavo’s unexpressed will and enact it; inevitably, they endorsed her death, on the grounds that she would not want to live “with no hope” in her present vegetative state. Likewise, in Europe, medical “expertise” has been not simply a justification for, but an encouragement to, assisted suicide; guidance from medical professionals has more than a little to do with the fact that, in Belgium and the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, assisted suicide is now an acceptable remedy for people suffering not just from terminal illnesses but from depression, autism, and anorexia. Under what circumstances should the tightest bonds of affection — those between parent and child — be subordinated to the judgment of the state?
This is the crux of the small government, free market argument for privately run healthcare. The decisions over whether or not a child should live or die when they are unresponsive should be left to the parents. It should never be left to an elected bureaucrat with no medical background, who’s only interest is that of the Government. This tragedy should never be determined by a Judge or an Official.
Those decrying the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) will claim that millions would lose insurance once it’s eliminated. They claim that it will disenfranchise those with preexisting conditions. They don’t understand how the free market will meet these needs more efficiently than a leviathan bureaucracy. What these pro government advocates fail to understand are three things:
First, as soon as the government opens the market with the removal of Government Healthcare, a flood of entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on a “Return on an Investment” (R.O.I.) will rush in to meet the need of those who will require this service. Competition will occur, as they will all be vying for the attention of those who will need the service. This will lead to an auction of offers, which leads to price reduction and savings to the citizenry overall.
Secondly, if we’ve been mandated by the government to purchase healthcare that’s either priced unnaturally too high due to government market distortion or because we’ve had to pay a penalty, we’ve essentially already budgeted healthcare into our lives. Many use to budget their money simply towards expenses and even towards amenities such as Cable/Satellite television and Smartphones/Cellphone plans. After the implementation of the ACA, money was forced into allocation towards Health Insurance. If it is eliminated, we’ve all shown that we can make it a priority, if we wish to do so. With competition leading to eventual price reductions, you’ll be able to use the savings for other items.
Thirdly, the market for assisting those with preexisting conditions would open for an enterprising individual or organization to capitalize upon. And that doesn’t even need to be a business. A nonprofit organization may emerge in the form of a philanthropic charity to help those who are denied health insurance due to their aversion to those with higher risks.
Regardless, the best interest of the individual in need should never be left to a third party to decide. With no “skin in the game”, they have no desire to fight for the hard, out of the box solutions that may necessary and even potentially obtainable. A tragedy such as this, the decision to end the life of Baby Charlie Gard, should never need to occur. We at Conservative Library are praying for Baby Charlie and his family.