On Gard against Rationing

On Gard against Rationing

July 11, 2017

The best argument against Obamacare may be lying quietly in a London hospital. Not even a year old, tiny Charlie Gard rests peacefully, completely unaware of the global crusade to keep him alive. The hum of the room's machines is nothing compared to the commotion outside, where doctors, lawyers, judges, and world leaders all fight for the right to decide Charlie's fate.

At the center of the storm are Connie Yates and Chris Gard, the 11-month-old's parents, who can't understand why the hospital is demanding that they let him die instead of taking him to the U.S. for potentially life-saving treatment. It isn't a matter of money; the couple has raised more than $1.6 million for the trip. It isn't a matter of care; doctors at the Vatican and neurologists in America have already offered their services. It isn't even a matter of transport; the parents can make all of the necessary arrangements. This is about a hospital, under a system of socialized medicine, determined to decide who deserves care. And according to the bureaucracy at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Charlie doesn't. But if their son is still fighting, Charlie's parents said, "we're still fighting." Thursday, the family will take as much evidence as they can to the High Court to plead for his release.

In the meantime, an ocean away, Americans are getting a frightening preview of their future if the Senate doesn't repeal Obamacare. "Congress... ought to hang a photo of little Charlie right in the House and Senate as a reminder -- amid all the Obamacare fate debates -- why government has no business in health care," Cheryl Chumley argued in the Washington Times. Like us, she shudders to think of a world where unelected bureaucrats have the power to limit which specialists you see, what treatments are available, and in some cases, whether you're eligible for care at all.

This is the same rationing threat FRC raised when Obamacare was fiercely debated seven years ago. No one wants a board of strangers sitting at the controls in Washington making health decisions for Americans -- especially not when innocent lives hang in the balance. But the reality is this: the more control the government has, the more power it has over the application of that care. As Obama's former Medicare boss famously said, "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."

Vice President Mike Pence understands that Charlie's case won't be the exception if America continues down this path. "We hope and pray that little Charlie Gard gets every chance, but the American people ought to reflect on the fact that, for all the talk on the left about single-payer, that's where it takes us," he told Rush Limbaugh. "We breathe a prayer and the hope that the single-payer system in England will see its way clear to allow the family -- the mother and the father -- to be able to choose the greatest extent of life-saving treatment that's available to their child." If not, he said soberly, they'll be "submitted to a government program that says, 'No, we're going to remove life support from your precious 11-month-old child' because the government has decided that the prospects of their life are such that they no longer warrant an investment in health services."

More than 3,000 miles away, America is at its own health care crossroads. While the Senate tries desperately to find consensus on a health care bill, surely they have it on the most important piece: the need to repeal Obamacare. If anything can light a fire under the GOP to act, the image of these two heartbroken parents should. Their agonized faces are the future of Obamacare. As Paul Diamond warns, "This arrogance of the elites, who presume to know what is the best for a child over those parents who are deemed too emotive, too uneducated, or who have the wrong religious views, is not a peculiar British problem. This problem is alive and well in the U.S. [too] and must be countered wherever it is found." Help save other families from Connie and Chris's nightmare. Contact your senators and tell them to repeal Obamacare!

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Also in the July 11 Washington Update:

Clarity on Charity: ECFA Calls GuideStar to Account

Faith in the White House

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