Single payer healthcare, a story


#1

A sorry and shameful saga has come to a close in London, where the parents of gravely ill infant Charlie Gard have decided not to seek a last-ditch treatment that might have saved his life. The entire ordeal —which has provided a crystalline example of the literally life-threatening dangers of overlarge government—should be the shame of the United Kingdom and a warning to the rest of the world. That it will very likely function as neither is a modern-day political and civilizational tragedy.

Charlie Gard is a dying baby with an incredibly rare disease, one which has no known cure yet. His parents, desiring as most parents do to grant their child life rather than deny him it, wished to take him to the United States for a long-shot experimental treatment. They raised all the necessary funds to do so, and they would have done so—had not the hospital treating Charlie prevented this by way of the British courts.

The hospital, and the courts, won—not because Charlie is dead (at the time of this writing he is still alive) but because, by denying Charlie’s parents the right to seek treatment in the United States then wasting time through a protracted legal process, the defendants in the case effectively ran out the clock on Charlie, in the same way a professional football team will run out the clock at the end of the fourth quarter.
Death at the Hands of Well-Educated Barbarians

The courts and hospital staff doubtlessly knew there was only a small window of opportunity for Charlie to seek the medical treatment he needed to save his life. All they had to do was wait for Charlie’s condition to worsen past the point of absolute no return and they would get their way. So they did. “There is one simple reason for Charlie’s muscles deteriorating to the extent they are in now – time. A whole lot of wasted time,” Charlie’s mother said in a statement. “Our poor boy has been left there to lie in a hospital without treatment while court battles are fought.”

He was, and so he will die. And it is a most curious indicator of twenty-first-century Western political mores that the entire civilized world is not up in arms—figuratively if not literally—over the British government’s effective war of attrition against a terminally ill baby boy.

If we were to hear of some barbarous backwater dictatorship that prevented a couple of desperate parents from seeking medical treatment abroad for their precious child, we would shake our heads and marvel such savage cruelty. When such nauseating policy is argued by barristers and educated medical professionals, however, we are likely to forget about it within a couple of weeks.
We Should Not Forget Charlie Gard

We should not forget about this. The lessons of Charlie Gard should not be ignored or dismissed. Parents in particular should be aware of the implications of what the British government has undertaken here. When progressives in America look to Western Europe as a political model for the United States, they have in mind—inadvertently or otherwise—the kind of government you see in England, the type that supplants the love and the desire of parents to save their children’s lives with the cold, actuarial number-crunching assessments of judges and doctors.

In the film “I, Robot,” the protagonist Del Spooner at one point admits that his distrust of robots stems in part from their inability to assess a situation as anything other than a matter of clinical statistics. Years before, during a car accident emergency, a robot opted to save Spooner’s life rather than a little girl’s because Spooner’s “chance of survival” was 43 percent compared to the girl’s 11 percent. Spooner understands: “That was somebody’s baby. Eleven percent is more than enough. A human being would have known that.”

England is governed by human beings, of course, not robots, yet it is curious how coldly, mercilessly robotic the mechanistic undertakings of big government end up being. A compassionate system, in Gard’s case, would have offered the parents all the information and the caveats it possibly could, then allowed them to make their own choices concerning their precious baby’s life. Big government cannot abide by such nuance, however. It seeks control above everything else, even if not especially in the most difficult and fraught of situations.

The only thing anyone can do for Charlie Gard now is pray. But that wasn’t always the case. A few months ago there was a slim but still distinct possibility that his life could have been saved. The British government denied him that chance. Remember this, and the next time one of your progressive friends laments that our government is not more like that of England, tell them the honest truth: “Thank God.”


#2

Outrage is a natural response to this horrific example of totalitarianism. Everyone should keep it firmly in mind every time people promote government involvement in medical care (and the equation of ‘mental health’ with physical health), because what’s being done to Charlie Gard.


#3

If little Charlie Gard had received treatment and survived, then any damage due to a delay in treatment could have been used to sue the hospital. They needed the baby to die without treatment in order to protect themselves.


#4

This begs the question: What if Charlie Gard’s name was Muhammad and he was a Muslim. Would the government have ruled the same?


#5

In a private healthcare system, maybe you still couldn’t save a Charlie Gard case, but at least it would come down to what his parents could afford, plus charitable donations from individuals. Not the say so of a panel of bureaucrats.


#6

Compare the “treatment” of Charlie Gard with the “treatment” of Otto Warmbier: they were left to rot, and then they were returned to sender. The UK NHS is akin to North Korea.


#7

What I find interesting is the outrage from the left claiming death panels.

Here we have single payer and death panels.

What will they say if we have single payer?


#8

It’s called choice instead of a death panel decision from the government.


#9

Charlie Gards case generated so much interest that he had donated to his treatment in the US slightly over 1.5million US. This of course isn’t the only time the UK medical system and government have interfered with a parents right to seek any and all medical treatment available. As a matter of fact, they may have held Charlie Gard so closely because of the Ashya King case.

British doctors ended up with egg on their face over this one… They said he was incurable…with treatment he received in eastern Europe, he is now cancer free…But not before Britain issued an arrest warrant for his parents, lucky for the parents and the child, Spain told Britain NO.


#10

And Sarah Palin was skewered when she explained the concept of single payer death panels.


#11

Why do Americans think the UK medical system is so wonderful??


#12

Our government runs the VA and we barely seen all of the horror stories with our brave vets dying waiting for care they needed so desperately . We do NOT want our government involved in our healthcare system !


#13

The grass is always greener… My experience is interesting, at least to me. I do understand the allure of single payer. People don’t have the worry in their daily lives for most illness or injury that might enter their lives. It is most certainly a stress reliever. I do understand that but I also can objectively see that their is a world of care and medicine that is not offered on the NHS or for that matter on other European health services… without the US market in particular and medical tourism that brings paying customers to the US, those treatments would simply not exist.

In my interactions with the NHS over diabetes I can see that they use industry research far too much. The NHS itself does a lot of patient studies but virtually no real medical research, it is left to industry… industry that doesn’t necessarily put sales goals and health outcomes on an equal footing.

Probably my biggest dislike of singlepayer is the way it is used and abused. It becomes very easy for someone to go to the local clinic because one, it is free and the other is employers are overly forgiving when someone calls in sick… You don’t even need to prove anything for the first 7 days. Of course is the matter of using a medical procedure or medicine to fix a situation that is easily fixed by lifestyle. The diabetic nurse regularly pushes drugs on me even though I do just fine with diet and exercise… they find it strange, most people prefer to continue their bad behavior unabated and pop a pill instead. This of course sets up all kinds of government intervention, taxes and regulations into peoples personal behavior that unnecessarily impact the lives of people who try to take care of themselves… Of course this is no different than most dependency created state programs…