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The Perils of Single Payer Healthcare; Saving Charlie Gard

7/8/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
7/7/17:

Why should technical expertise be elevated over parental love?

Charlie Gard, an 11-month old British child with a rare genetic disease, is today the most famous baby in the world. For all the wrong reasons. Even as he remains on life support at a British hospital, he has attracted the attention of the President of the United States, the pope, the British courts and the European Court of Human Rights. All because his government has backed medical experts who say the experimental treatment offered by hospitals abroad—treatments his family hopes to try and is willing to pay for themselves—would only prolong his suffering. On Friday came news that the hospital asked for a new court hearing after researchers at two hospitals abroad offered “fresh evidence” on experimental treatments for the baby’s condition. It may be that the experts the British and European courts invoke are right, that even with treatment Charlie won’t live much longer than he might with new interventions. But it’s not their decision to make. Or shouldn’t be. Charlie’s mother says the hospital won’t allow her and her husband to bring their boy home, meaning that if he is to die, it will be with the hospital and not at home with those who love him. Which raises a question: Whose baby is Charlie, anyway—his parents’ or the state’s? In this delicate case, Britain’s national care system has elevated technical expertise over parental love. Europe is much further along than America in its aggressive secularization and single-payer health-care control. Those values and priorities are on prominent display here, with an infant’s court-ordered guardian invoking “quality of life” as a reason for not allowing his parents to try experimental treatment. Precedents matter when a society is confronted with these dilemmas. If the courts prevail in Charlie’s case, it isn’t so difficult to imagine another court ruling that a child with severe Down Syndrome or some other genetic disease also doesn’t have the right quality of life. Who decides? Our vote remains with the parents.

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