Charlie Gard died Friday, July 28, 2017 after his life support was turned off while in hospice care in Great Britain. Actually, Charlie was forced to die because the government of a once-good nation said he must.
A recent article appeared in Newsbusters which sheds some light upon the issues involved in the Charlie Gard case. The article referenced another piece by the U.K.Guardian. The Guardian piece agreed with the court rulings of the British High Court and the European Union that the parents should not be allowed to obtain alternative treatment for their son’s tragic condition. The reason the parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, were prohibited from trying to save their baby was explained by a British health professor:
UCL health professor, Ian Kennedy, expressed sympathy for the plight of Charlie, but ultimately justified it on the basis that “children do not belong to their parents.”
Charlie’s case made headlines worldwide. The facts are simple enough. The government controlled hospital treating Charlie, the Great Ormond Street Hospital. They decided after many months that Charlie’s condition was beyond hope. In the stated opinions of the doctors, his rare genetic disorder was incurable. Their declaration was that no treatment had any hope of extending Charlie’s life. He was going to die very soon.
However, Charlie’s parents decided they needed something which most in America take for granted. They needed a second opinion. They needed to be completely convinced, beyond any doubt, that absolutely nothing could be done to help their baby boy. That is a need parents everywhere can understand. They found a doctor in the United States who was using a new, experimental treatment which might offer a slight hope for Charlie. The biggest obstacle now was money. The treatment was very expensive.
They publicized Charlie’s plight on the internet and set up an online account for donations. This was successful beyond their wildest expectations. They raised more than 1.5 million dollars. They could now pursue their hope, slight though it was, to help save their baby. At least, that is how it should have been, and would have been, if not for the British government and European Union.
Hope Is Offered, Then Squashed
Publicizing Charlie’s dire straights captured the attention of President Donald Trump. He communicated his support and offered to help in any way he could, including asking the U.K. to allow the boy and his parents to come to America. The U.S. Congress passed legislation to designate them as temporary citizens in order to expedite the process. An American hospital offered their facilities for the treatment. Closer to their home, the Vatican also offered their hospital facilities as an alternative. It appeared that everything was in place and surely Charlie would get at least a chance at life. The light of hope was beginning to shine amid the darkness of death for this little one and those who loved him.
It was then that the most formidable obstacle of all reared its grotesque head. That obstacle was, you guessed it, the government. It was as if the powers-that-be could not allow a shred of hope that might present a challenge to their authority. It was technically two different governing powers manifested by the courts of Britain and the European Union. Despite the best efforts of Charlie’s parents and the Pope and President Trump and all the others who gave support, the courts determined that the hospital would not release Charlie to his parents to travel to the U.S. The ruling government body decided that even though it would cost them nothing, they would refuse to let Charlie go.
The State Will Decide When You Die
This was an exercise in raw government power. Great Britain has a single-payer, government-run health care system. “Single-payer” means there is only one option to cover the costs of health care, which is the state. Therefore, all health care facilities are controlled by the government. The hospitals and clinics are not independent private businesses, as they are in the United States.
The state had the legal authority to decide when and where Charlie would die. In fact, Charlie’s parents had given up their fight for the experimental treatment on July 24th. Full of sorrow, they asked to take Charlie home to pass on surrounded by his loved ones. The court said no to the pleading parents. In essence, they declared that “We will decide the place he can die, and we don’t think your home is the right place.” Short of giving Charlie a lethal injection, this was as close to an execution as it could be. And, short of a physical swift kick in the posterior, this was also a wake-up call to the supporters of single-payer care in the U.S.
The current debaters over “repeal and replacement” of Obamacare in Congress would do well to heed this warning… once doctors and patients are beholden to government for providing payment, the government will dictate which lives are worth saving and caring for, and which are not.
Objectors to this assertion will cry, “That is ridiculous! We are never going to have anything like that in America!” Really? Are these objectors truly ready to stake their life, or the lives of their loved ones, on even a slight chance that Obamacare (or some newer version that “fixes” it) will not become single-payer? If one thinks this is not a real possibility, listen to Barack Obama speaking as a state senator in Illinois:
In 2003, as a state Senator in Illinois, Obama publicly supported single payer. “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program,” Obama said at the time.
Single-payer Will Be Considered in the U.S.
At that time, such a system was not likely to appeal to many people in the U.S. However, in recent years single-payer has been gaining more support around the nation, and in Washington D.C. The Senate debate and vote to pass a “skinny-repeal” bill (Seriously, can’t we have a less silly nickname?) contained a revealing component mentioned by Senator Mitch McConnell. He remarks that the Democrats were probably celebrating the defeat of the bill on early Friday morning, July 28th. That being so, it is right to ask of the Democrats:
“What are their ideas? It will be interesting to see what they suggest as the way forward. …Quadrupling down on the failures of Obamacare with a single-payer system? We had that vote a little earlier …almost everybody voted present. Apparently they didn’t want to make a decision whether they were for or against socialized medicine.”
Think single-payer is not a possibility now? If almost every Democrat in the Senate will not declare if they are for or against single-payer, it is almost certain single-payer is going to be pushed by the Democrats, and fairly soon.
In Europe, Charlie Gard did not stand a chance under the crushing thumb of government-run health care. The U.S. must avoid the tyranny of this kind of solution to heath care problems. Those problems will only get far worse with any kind of single-payer system.
By D.T. Osborn
COUNTERPUNCH: Obamacare and Single Payer
LifeNews.com: Charlie Gard Dies After Life Support is Switched Off: Mother Says “Our Beautiful Boy is Gone”
MRC: Newsbusters: UK Guardian: Charlie Gard Case Justified As ‘Children Do Not Belong To Their Parents’
TILJournal: Charlie Gard Should Be Saved [Video]
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of ECohen’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License