Episode 186: Death by Socialized Medicine: Charlie Gard vs the NHS

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Charlie Gard gets the death penalty

If you’ve heard about the situation in the UK regarding Charlie Gard, you may be one of a minority in the US. Seems there are bigger stories here, like the dissecting of the handshake Trump and Putin had at the recent G20 meeting. (Gotta’ have your priorities.)

Just a few months old, Charlie Gard has a very rare medical condition that there is no known cure for, so doctors in the UK have said that Charlie must die. They’ve even prevented the parents from taking Charlie to the US for an experimental treatment at their own expense. Socialized medicine often decides who lives or dies based on the cost to taxpayers, but clearly money is not the issue here. It’s all about control.

This episode has my thoughts on the matter. Things have gone upside down.

Mentioned links:

MP GRAPHICS blog

MP Graphics Facebook page

Timeline: Parents battle to save Charlie Gard

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Show transcript

I got 2 bits of feedback after episode 184, regarding how the city of Seattle’s employment picture got worse after the recent rise in the minimum wage. DocH said, “Wow. I was not aware of the Seattle thing. Is the left-wing liberal lunacy Juggernaut getting a ‘timeout’?” No, they’re not getting a timeout. When the Seattle city council heard what the study (that they commissioned!) was going to show, they cut it off at the knees and started another study with a “friendlier” group to try to discredit it. This is not about economics or concern for the worker; it’s all about politics.

Also, my cousin Mark wrote me to explain how this same situation has affected his wife in the left-leaning state of New York. He said that while she works retail and never got anywhere near full time, when the State raised the minimum wage there, her hours dropped by a day’s work. “I have been watching businesses trying to keep ahead of the wage increase issues here with increasing automation and fewer hours to those that are working. It is exactly what every conservative politician said would happen. Darn it if they actually said something true.” Yup, darn it. Those conservatives were actually right. But the fact that this keeps happening doesn’t seem like it’ll change minds. “Don’t confuse me with the facts” seems like it ought to be on a sign advocating for a higher minimum wage.

By the way, Mark has an incredible give for graphic design, in many different styles, and has won a few awards for it. He does commissioned work, and if you want to see examples of what he’s done, check out the show notes for his blog or search for MP Graphics on Facebook. He also did a possible new logo for the podcast which I’m putting in the show notes.

If you haven’t heard about the case of Charlie Gard, you need to. A more cautionary tale of the problems with state-controlled medical care you aren’t likely to hear.

Charlie was born on August 4th, 2016, apparently perfectly healthy. Very soon, however, he was diagnosed with Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome, which inhibits his cells from processing food. He’s only the 16th person ever to be diagnosed with this.

Charlie has spent most of his life in the Great Ormond Street Hospital (or GOSH) in Bedfont, in West London, England. There is no known cure for his condition, but the parents, Chris and Connie, heard of an American doctor who had an experimental treatment. It was very expensive, so they created a GoFundMe page and raised, on their own, 1.3 million pounds; about $1.6 million. That was on April 2nd.

On April 3rd, a High Court judge began to consider whether Charlie’s life support machines should be turned off in his best interests, or whether the parents should be allowed to take their son to America for experimental treatment. OK, did you catch that? A British court was going to determine whether the National Health Service was going to let Charlie die, or whether the child’s parents were going to be allowed, with their own money and money donated to them, take Charlie to the States to try to save him, as remote as that possibility might be.

First off, how in the world is this the court’s business? This is not some case about faith healers who want to prohibit medical treatment against a doctor’s orders. In this case, the parents want treatment, and the socialized NHS wants to stop it. Secondly, this is not a case of the parents wanting extraordinary measures takes on the government’s dime; they want to pay for it themselves! So the use or misuse of taxpayer money is not even an issue. And I do understand that parental rights laws are a bit different in England, but that’s one more reason I don’t want us to be more like Europe.

Eight days later, the court rules against the parents, which will allow GOSH to stop life support, but not allow the parents to even bring the boy home to die. Apparently, the court thinks they’re a flight risk, and we can’t have anyone trying to save a life against a court order. Again, this is not about parents who can’t let go and want to keep their child on life support indefinitely. They just want to exhaust all options, at their own expense.

Appeals to higher courts were fruitless. Even an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights was turned down; talk about irony. Recently, the Great Ormond Street Hospital said it has “applied to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition”. This is most likely because of the bad PR this is generating, but if the original plan had been followed, Charlie would have been dead by now, and this new evidence would have just been salt in the parents’ fresh wound.

Folks, this is the problem with state-run, single-payer health care. Well, one of many, but certainly one that needs more exposure.

If the UK’s NHS was a private insurer, they couldn’t forbid the parents to seek options elsewhere. But in this case, the insurer also makes law. When could an insurance company prevent you from leaving the country, or insist that you cannot use your own money to pay for the care that you want?

I think this demonstrates that state-run health care is not only about money but also about control, even when money is not an issue at all. Some people say that there is no difference between an insurance company and the government paying for your health care, because both will make decisions about your health care based on economics rather than what you want or what’s best for you. I have always said that, while that may be true, at least you can change insurance companies. You can’t easily change your government, and your government can make and enforce laws while your insurance company can’t.

At this point, whether or not the parents finally get their wish is not the long-term issue. It should have never gotten this far. But the truth is that the more control someone else has over how your health care is paid for, the more control they have over you. And if that someone else has absolute control, they have absolute control over you.

And one more thing to consider; how is this different from abortion? What did Charlie do to deserve the death penalty? What did those million-plus children that are terminated every year in the US ever do to deserve snuffing out their lives? How does a child, mere moments before birth, get subjected to a partial-birth abortion while the Left cheers it, and calls it “liberating”? They apparently believe, as Archie Bunker once said, that position is nine-tenths of the law; inside or outside the mother’s body. Or perhaps more to the point; out of sight, out of mind.

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