Charlie Gard’s Death Sets a Dangerous Precedent

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Absent some extraordinary intervention, Charlie Gard, aged 10 months, will be killed tomorrow by the doctors charged with his care, who claim that because his condition has no known cure, any effort to prolong his life will cause him harm and thus, they have decided that he must “die with dignity” even though neither he nor his parents have any say in the matter. Indeed, Charlie’s parents have been fighting for him, and raised over £1 million to try an experimental treatment here in America. Given time, perhaps Charlie might have become a medical miracle, but instead, his time will be cut short. This chilling precedent should give us pause, because we have been here before.

In some ways, Charlie Gard’s case is eerily similar to that of Gerhard Kretschmar who was killed in 1939 at the age of 5 months–although not over the objections of his parents, but rather their instigation, as ardent Nazis–because he suffered from severe congenital birth defects. His “mercy killing” was the first of millions who would eventually be murdered by the Nazi regime in their diabolical program of mental, physical, and racial purity. The language authorizing “Aktion T4,” which was the precursor to the Holocaust is chillingly similar to the words of the European Court of Human Rights:

Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. Brandt are entrusted with the responsibility of extending the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, so that patients who, after a most critical diagnosis, on the basis of human judgment, are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death.
— Adolf Hitler

The European judges said it was “not for the court to substitute itself for the competent domestic authorities”. British court judgments in the case had been “meticulous.” Their opinion went on to say:

The domestic courts had concluded, on the basis of extensive, high-quality expert evidence, that it was most likely Charlie was being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress and that undergoing experimental treatment with no prospects of success would offer no benefit, and continue to cause him significant harm.

Mindful of Godwin’s Law, this comparison is not to suggest that Charlie Gard’s murder is wrong because the Nazis did it, but rather, we can observe that we fought the Nazis because murdering disabled children and ethnic minorities is objectively wrong. Further, we should take careful note that, just as with Hitler’s order, the European Court of Human Rights (an Orwellian name, if there ever was one) does not say whether it is right or wrong to murder a child, but only observes that the “experts” had been “meticulous” in their determination to do so. Like the plague doctor of medieval times, instead of offering a cure, the British physicians can only offer sophistry.

It is a tragedy that in Europe today, the British who fought so bravely and at such great cost to liberate the continent from the murderous Nazis are now creeping down the slippery slope towards the Belgians and the Dutch who are infamous for their enthusiasm for euthanasia. A doctor in the Netherlands was recently cleared of wrongdoing after killing a patient who struggled for her life as her own family restrained her. Killing patients against their will is also commonplace in Belgium. The crimes against humanity which Hitler accomplished by force are now a mundane bureaucratic function that can be carried out with the stroke of a pen. Under the guise of compassion and robed in legality, Europe is now descending into barbarism.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Joshua Bowman joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved back to his beloved native Virginia from Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities.

72 Comments

  1. EUGENE P DEVANY on

    Suicide, assisted suicide, abortion, and mercy death for the disabled who burden society is to be expected in the throw-away society.

    • Mary Grace Farrell on

      I can’t believe the we are in the early stages of NAZI GERMANY. How could the happen when we still have survivors around personally warning us. God please help us.

  2. Randal Agostini on

    Thank you for this article. We see such little news that challenges our spirituality and humanity. What we are witnessing is the withdrawal of God from society and thus all morality, which now becomes subjective. We are not forced to believe in our God and Creator, but we should recognize the consequences of ignoring his commandments, which inevitably lead to chaos. Nature has a habit of hiding it’s ills, until it is both too late and catastrophic, rather like the bursting of a dam. We sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.
    This philosophy can be given and used with confidence for history has the ability to teach – only if we pay attention.

  3. What a repulsive article. Not a thought for the doctors and nurses involved who have probably come to love Charlie as much as anyone in the short time and strong bonds they have been forced to forge through endless caregiving. What dignity would Charlie receive at home without the slow, gentle and pain-free exit the hospital can provide?

    For me, the parents have made this all about them.

    Dear little Charlie cannot tell anyone he is in pain and the doctors have to work on the assumption that he is suffering and help with that in whatever way they can. What is more, they are not afforded the endless publicity that the parents have been given. Instead, they have been lambasted and pilloried and my personal thoughts are that what was a tragic difficulty for them, has made it into a hell for them to try and manage. I would not want to say any baby of mine suffer unnecessarily for a moment more than they had to and if there were dedicated people around consciously fighting to ease his/her suffering, I would be only too grateful.

    Hitler was a Catholic. Not mentioned. Of course not.

    • “Hitler was a Catholic. Not mentioned. Of course not.”

      I don’t think you’ve done much reading on Hitler’s views of Christianity, or religion in general.

      ” Not a thought for the doctors and nurses involved who have probably come to love Charlie as much as anyone”

      It is highly unlikely that a doctor or nurse could ever love a child as much as the child’s own parents.

      “Dear little Charlie cannot tell anyone he is in pain and the doctors have to work on the assumption that he is suffering and help with that in whatever way they can.”

      Why must the doctors work on the assumption that he is suffering? To be conservative? How is killing a child against the wishes of his parents the conservative route?

      “I would not want to say any baby of mine suffer unnecessarily for a moment more than they had to”

      Fair, but I also wouldn’t agree to let doctors end the life of my child because they’re in suffering when there’s hope that the suffering could be ended AND his life could be saved. It’s preposterous that the parents, having raised so much money for an experimental procedure, should be shut out of the decision of keeping their child alive because the doctors have no known cure.

      If we stopped working because there was no known solution to a problem, where would we be as a race? Probably would have never gone to the moon. Hell, probably would have never sailed across the ocean because we’d be living in fear of falling off the face of our flat earth. We wouldn’t have calculus. We wouldn’t have vaccinations. We wouldn’t . Get my point?

      • Hitler was not Catholic. There is great evidence of his rejection of the tenets of Christianity as an adolescent, and his strenuous efforts to reduce the influence and independence of Christianity in Germany after he came to power. Hitler’s major academic biographers concluded that he was an opponent of Christianity.

    • Florence Zuber on

      Roaie Adams..We were never told that we would not suffer, exactly the opposite. Where would we be if Jesus had chosen not to suffer. I’m not sure if you have children but you said you would not want your child to suffer- of course, no parent wants their child to suffer BUT how would you feel if someone decided that your child had to be murdered for whatever reason they thought was ratiional no matter how you felt about the matter? That’s where we are headed. Yes Hitler was at some point a Catholic but he certainly was NOT following the teachings of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust!

    • No one wants to see a child suffer, but Rosie that is your solution to a patient experiencing pain and suffering? Death? A little extreme, don’t you think? And not giving much credit to modern medicine. If the doctors and nurses choose to stop providing basic care – nutrition, hydration – to ANY patient, well – that is not love. Charlie does not need to “receive” dignity – at home or in the hospital – he was born with it.

      • Removing someone from life support is NOT Euthanasia. We know have the means to pro long life artificially. Just because we can do this does not mean we always should.

        In this particular case in the Doctor in the United States does not think he can cure the little one. Since he cannot speak, move, see. And is brain dead it is absolutely cruel to keep the little one on life support.

        • Mary Wickes on

          Removing someone’s feeding tube IS both euthanasia and murder. Even the most robust life can’t continue without nourishment.

    • What of the doctors here in the US who believe they can help Charlie? What about the love the boy’s parents have for him?

      And…really? Hitlr was not Cathokic. Evidenceof his rejection of the tenets of Christianity as an adolescent, and his strenuous efforts to reduce the influence and independence of Christianity in Germany after he came to power, lead his major academic biographers to conclude that he was an opponent of Christianity.

      • The doctor in the United States is clear. He does not believe the treatment will save Charlie’s life or ease any pain. It may pro long it. The young boy is brain dead. He cannot see. He cannot move, etc. He is on a ventilator which is not natural.

        • And the point I am Saying not natural is just the fact that Church teaching is not that all means most always be used. The Church does not consider venilators basic care.

    • Hitler may have been born into a Catholic family but he was NOT Catholic. He removed himself from the Body of Christ, the Church and Christianity in general.

      You can’t be Catholic and Christian if you don’t worship Jesus Christ. You can’t be Catholic and obsessed with the occult like Hitler was.

      Finally, the idea that a doctor can kill a person against the patient’s wishes or the parent’s wishes (when a minor) is HORRIFIC.

      Euthanasia is evil enough when the patient/parents want it; but to kill a baby against his/her parent’s wishes is satanic.

    • These doctors and nurses do not love Charlie like his parents. Their future, hopes and dreams are not with this little boy. These doctors went to the courts to strip Charlie’s parents of their God given right to make decisions for their child. These are loving, dedicated parents. The doctors and hospital administrators involved in this case do not respect the dignity of human life.

    • The ends do not justify the means. You have a great deal more confidence in mankind’s ability to play God, even though this article provides evidence that people CANNOT handle this responsibility, it will always end in people being killed just because someone thought they should die. You can’t speak for that baby. Today we have methods of pain management we didn’t have in days past, palliative care.
      We’ve no right. No, right.

  4. Daniel Marsh on

    What’s with the image of a plague doctor?

    I presume that’s what the image is intended to be. Plague doctors wore masks which wrapped around their heads, so as to not breathe the “bad air” — now known to be germs — of the plague. They also breathed through a long filter, resembling a bird’s beak, filled with flowers which both helped make the stench of death tolerable and, they believed, might somehow cleanse the “bad air,” know understood to be germs.

  5. These doctors and nurses do not love Charlie like his parents. Their future, hopes and dreams are not with this little boy. These doctors went to the courts to strip Charlie’s parents of their God given right to make decisions for their child. These are loving, dedicated parents. The doctors and hospital administrators involved in this case do not respect the dignity of human life.

  6. Pingback: Mercy Killing? | Living Apologetics

  7. I appreciate the concern of this article, but there is a dangerous inaccuracy in it. To remove someone from a ventilator is not murder according to our own Church’s teaching.

    Is the government wrong to force the parents to remove the ventilator? Yes
    Is this a sign of a dangerous trend? Yes
    Is this actual murder? No

    To say that removing a ventilator is murder puts an unfair burden on all those who face tough end of life decisions. The Church distinguishes between ordinary and extraordinary means of medical treatment. Food and water (even through tubes), and other basic care are all ordinary and cannot be denied to a person no matter how sick. Special machines to artificially sustain the heart and lungs (like a ventilator) are extraordinary. We are allowed, but *not required* to use extraordinary means. It is morally permissible to decide to stop extraordinary treatment and let nature takes its course. We seek to treat illness, not postpone death indefinitely. The devil is in the details and stopping a ventilator is not the same as a gun or a gas chamber.

    That being said, it shouldn’t be the government’s decision, but the family and, if possible, the person himself.

  8. Rosie Adams on

    Hitler held mixed views on religion. He was still a Catholic at the time of the Third Reich and – incidentally – was never excommunicated. Perhaps he went to confess his mortal sins and got forgiven for the six million Jews and others he had killed. Many were Catholics who could not support his terrible ideology but whatever the case to come in quoting him in the context of Charlie Gard is as disgusting as it is totally unchristian. How this is meant to console parents God in his Heaven, only knows.

    • I hope you aren’t implying that the Nazi analogy is flawed, particularly whilst treating us all to your theses on Hitler’s religious views.

      Hitler’s views on religion were effectively-co-opt Luther’s anti-Semitic writings and use same to bolster public sentiment for the Regime’s anti-Semitic efforts.

      The rest he had no use for, and said so many times in writing.

  9. For Americans with disabilities, Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance are the lifelines that allow them to live fully-functioning lives in communities rather than institutions.

    40% of Medicaid spending is spent to cover the disabled, who obviously can’t afford insurance on the private market.

    http://www.kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/medicaid-spending-by-enrollment-group/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedDistributions=total&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

    The Trump administration proposes cutting SSDI by $64 billion.  The House and Senate health care bills both drastically cut Medicaid funding (see the CBO scores).  You have either not mentioned the SSDI cuts or cheerleaded the health care cuts.

    And yet, you claim that you’re the one looking out for the lives of the disabled.  You have a very, very odd way of doing so.

  10. There are many “disabled” who still lead fully functional lives-say, at their weekly bowling leagues, etc., while receiving SSDI payments.

    I admit to having trouble understanding people who insist that there’s a limitless supply of other people’s money to use as they see fit.

    • Given that insurance for someone like Gard would be nearly impossible to purchase, how do you propose his care be funded?

      • The Gard child is not “disabled” per the SSA. The case IS illustrative of the vagaries/potential hazards of the single payer system. Are you a proponent of that setup?

        • If it’s the most efficient, then definitely.

          But you haven’t answered the question. Since Gard is an extremely unprofitable insurance customer, what is the answer?

          • If “efficient” is what you want, you make no attempt to treat the child further, as is the case here.

            The answer is what it is always. The parents either have insurance before the pregnancy and the policy covers what it covers, or they pay themselves, or the child receives care at the decision of the medical service providers (akin to emergency services, etc. where the customer is not billed directly).

            Now, in this case, the guarantor (the state) is making he medical decisions here for the family. Quiet “efficient”, you’d doubtless agree.

  11. Ram: I would appreciate if you wouldn’t put words in my mouth. I don’t regard efficiency as solely a financial matter, nor have I claimed to anywhere. Quote me where I have. Efficiency would cover cost and care and a host of other factors.
    Your response, though, is exactly why I take issue with this website. No, single payer isn’t perfect, but neither is the roulette you describe: have the right insurance beforehand, be insanely rich or hope someone else will take care of it for you.
    I don’t see how one can make a pro life argument in this case while not supporting universal health care adamantly.
    This website routinely argues against universal health care. It supports the end of the individual mandate, which concentrated, rather than balances, risk in the market. It supports no longer making essential health benefits mandatory, again making those who need them have to pay way more without healthy people in the market to offset the risk.
    Combined with the support for cutting Medicaid, a family with a child like Gard in America would be utterly screwed if the health model supported by this website comes to fruition.
    And yet, any one who ever brings up single payer is the one seeking, apparently, to limit the availability of care. The irony is painful.

    • You used the word, not I. You said you’d be in favor of single-payer if “it’s the most efficient, then definitely”.

      Here’s your case study. The Gards are under a single payer system-the treatment they want is denied and the guarantor is now trying to enforce their own decisions on the family for their child.

      Care not available, plus the state now seeks to enact decisions in loco parentis.

      • Yes, and you decided for me what the definition of efficiency is. Don’t be ridiculous. Perhaps you can quote me where I defined efficiency, again, as being in financial. Well, I tried writing that once and apparently you don’t care. So again, please quote me where I defined efficiency as only financial.
        How is this situation any different from an insurance company saying “We won’t cover it, sorry.” An insurance company has decided for the parents what medical care their child should have. This literally would happen all the time under the Republicans’ two plans. The CBO has told us exactly that. It’s not hard to understand how insurance works.

        • Insurance companies do not declare course of action i.e. pulling the plug on a patient and where.

          They either pay for covered care or do not pay for care that is not covered.

          In the Gard case, a single-payer (i.e. government run) health care system is now making decisions on the child’s care that go beyond that of a typical insurer.

          In what sense do you find an efficiency here?

          • You’re really having a tough time here. Again, quote me stating a single payer system is more, less or equally efficient than any other health care delivery system. You can’t, you won’t, but you will continue, apparently, to putting words in my mouth.
            Why is a system in which universal health care is not attainable desirable?

          • You said you’d be in favor of single-payer if “it’s the most efficient, then definitely”.

            Again, you, not I, injected “efficiency” into this discussion. I don’t know why you’re beating me about the head for taking note. If you post it, I have to presume you did so intentionally in service to an argument.

            Universal healthcare, evidently, leads to situations like the Gard matter here. Is the Gard matter not objectionable to you?

        • Incidentally, insurers deciding what amount of care they’d pay for happens all the time under the ACA as well. Personally, my coverage went down while my premiums went up.

  12. Your exact words were: ”Now, in this case, the guarantor (the state) is making he medical decisions here for the family. Quiet “efficient”, you’d doubtless agree.”
    But I never made such a claim. YOU did for me.
    Universal health care and a single payer system are not the same thing. Nice try. Universal health care is…wait for it, a Catholic principle, stating that all people should have access to cover 100 percent of their health needs. I know, I know, I’m a liberal communist. But achieving universal health care could be done many ways, obviously, including BUT NOT LIMITED TO a single payer system OR many other systems. Surely, the Vatican with it’s single payer system understands Catholic teaching on health care?

    Now, let’s see. Did I claim the NHS is universal health care? No. Did I claim I support the various legally decisions in the Garden case? No. You just keep making up my opinions for me.

    If you’re opposed to universal health care or think it leads to negative outcomes, we can make this quite simple: plainly state the people who should not have their health care needs addressed.

    • It’s “Gard”.

      What does “access to cover 100 of their health needs” mean?

      Does that mean free, cheaper, what?

      • Are we having a discussion on a Catholic website? Universal health care means there is no barrier ever to preventing anyone, under any circumstances, from having their health needs attended to. 100 percent of needs are covered 100 percent of the time. Universal… Honestly, is this really that difficult? Rather than answering the question, again you are trying to put words in my mouth, like free health care. This is a tired talking point. Services like Medicaid or the NHS aren’t free, which is a basic and obvious fact. Stop making claims for me.

        Apologies for typing on a mobile device that auto corrects. Thank you for clarifying the name of the child, rather than answering the question.

        • “covered” as in-free or covered via insurance? Every possible health care need should be covered under insurance? I’m asking simply to define your terms.

          I know the Bishops are in favor of “Universal Health Care”. They live on handouts. The rest of us, alack, do not.

        • “Universal health care means there is no barrier ever to preventing anyone, under any circumstances, from having their health needs attended to. 100 percent of needs are covered 100 percent of the time.”

          A laudable sentiment. Were that it were possible for this to be true of food, water, shelter, etc.-other human needs. I’m sure the Bishops want these things also. They also want the schools in their diocese to stay open, for the church buildings to be maintained, for the Capital Campaign to be funded. Lots of things that all cost money.

          • It seems very unlikely that universal health care could be achieved solely via private insurance, since for-profit insurance companies have no financial incentive to insure the permanently disabled, the very sick, etc. But the Catholic call for universal health care doesn’t stipulate, or ban, any system.

            How is a system like Medicaid or the NHS a “hand-out,” since virtually all citizens pay into the systems? Do you consider deductible-free care via insurance to be a handout? If no, why not?

            So again, who are the people who you think shouldn’t have their health care needs met, since you are apparently opposed to universal health care? Do you believe all your needs sound be met?

          • “So again, who are the people who you think shouldn’t have their health care needs met, since you are apparently opposed to universal health care? Do you believe all your needs sound be met?”

            I’d like it if everyone had what they needed it when they needed it. It would be nice if all my needs were met. I have found in my life that I am responsible for seeing to it as to which of my needs are met and how they are met. That’s not some philosophical declaration-it’s they way it is for me and my dependents.

            Opportunity cost is a real thing, Anna. Resources are finite.

            How in the world would you establish a system hat would provide

  13. Ram: a system that better shares risk to protect the sick. A system that mandates insurance ownership and a minimum level of coverage. Right off the bat, that strengthens the risk pool. A public option would be valuable to protect those whom private insurance don’t want. An incentive to get young healthy people into the public option. Set up a non-profit health insurance company sponsored by the government.
    Do you really think it’s impossible? How do other countries do it?

      • LOL. You just got done telling me about how you’re fine with the fact that not everyone in the US gets their health care needs met. “Opportunity cost is a real thing, Anna. Resources are finite.”
        And now your criticism is that in other countries, there is a reduction in level of care? You don’t consider “don’t get care” to be a reduction in care? That makes no sense, and it ignores basic Catholic social teaching. Your needs are being taken care of, who cares about everyone else.
        Also, your argument about cost of care is factually wrong. The US consistently spends the most per capita on health care. Somehow to you, spending less is onerous.
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_per_capita

        • I didn’t say it was “fine”.

          Everyone everywhere does not have all their needs met-for anything-health care included.

          There is a lesser level of care in many if not all places that have single-payer UHC. That’s a fact.

          People in the U.S. receive medical care.

          People spend more in the U S. per capita since it isn’t taken out of income taxes (yet).

          I don’t think it’s an intrinsic evil to pay for things you want or need. I do this every day RE: food, clothing, shelter, etc.

  14. Ram: seriously, that article contains no citations and NO FINANCIAL FIGURES. It simply makes claims: Americans don’t want single payer. The claim is not supported by any data, and it obviously doesn’t compare system types.

    • It seems to speak to shortcomings in single payer systems.

      I responded to your query RE: level of care and it speaks to that. Waiting for services and a dearth of the latest equipment (i.e. more MRI equipment in a major US city than in all of Canada).

      It’s Newsweek, so I avoided some blog site.

      Do you deny the oft-repeated issues of waiting for services, rationing of services, etc? That isn’t in question, is it?

        • I don’t wait for routine services, etc. I can get an MRI anytime, etc.

          That’s different than Canada, at least, isn’t it?

          • You’re not aware that prior to the ACA, Americans without insurance skipped treatments to only pay for those absolutely needed and passed on care they couldn’t afford? Did you not read the CBO analyses of the House and Senate health care bills, which confirms this very fact?

          • I can’t get them in Canada if I wanted them-that was my point.

            People who didn’t buy health insurance declined to purchase health care services other than essentials since some of the services they wanted were cost-prohibitive.

            Well, yeah. Duh.

            Things cost money. Think I’ve been saying that. These people you speak of know this-they buy food, clothing and shelter.

            Do you think they should not pay for services from those who provide them? I’ve asked you this a few times, and you don’t seem inclined to answer.

  15. I do not think this piece reflects an accurate understanding of Catholic teaching. We are not required to undergo every possible experimental procedure on the one in a million chance that it might help someone who is actively dying. To choose not to do so is not the same as euthanasia. This is a critical distinction; especially for any faithful Catholic dealing with the painful suffering of accompanying a dying loved one in their last days and hours. If one does not understand this, these situations can become all the more traumatic and confusing.

    Pope St. John Paul II says in Evangelium Vitae, “Euthanasia must be distinguished from the decision to forego so-called ‘aggressive medical treatment’, in other words, medical procedures which no longer correspond to the real situation of the patient, either because they are by now disproportionate to any expected results or because they impose an excessive burden on the patient and his family. In such situations, when death is clearly imminent and inevitable, one can in conscience ‘refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted.’ Certainly there is a moral obligation to care for oneself and to allow oneself to be cared for, but this duty must take account of concrete circumstances. It needs to be determined whether the means of treatment available are objectively proportionate to the prospects for improvement. To forego extraordinary or disproportionate means is not the equivalent of suicide or euthanasia; it rather expresses acceptance of the human condition in the face of death

    Whether the courts or the parents should be able to decide this is a separate matter, and worth discussing. But no one is murdering Charlie Gard.

  16. Ram: if people cannot afford to buy health care, just explain to me how that is not a form of rationing. Plain and simple.

    • It’s available.

      Things that are “rationed” are made “less available”. People are allowed to have only a fixed amount of a particular commodity when things are “rationed”.

      That isn’t the case with heath care services. They are not rationed. Same as cars, houses, food, etc.

      • Actually there are many types of rationing. Price and first come first serve rationing are two types. We ration Medicaid based on income, not on the availability of care.
        Insurance companies have notoriously cancelled plans rather than pay out huge sums. They themselves are rationing who can have access to the market.
        If your theory that there is no rationing in the US, then patients would be triaged based on need. They aren’t, obviously.
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_rationing_in_the_United_States

        • It’s not a theory. Health care isn’t being parceled out as a means of controlling supply of it, a la rationing.

          Insurance companies are not health care providers. They exist to mitigate risk for policy holders who pay them premiums for that service. The are for-profit operations, and will not pay claims that they are not obligated to pay. They cannot take in less than they pay out. If they do that, they will go broke-after they cease issuing policies, as they have done en masse with the ACA exchanges.

          I read your link and the logic is, frankly, sophomoric. Everything that has a price is “rationed” as to ability to pay as they say health care is. Dr. Arthur Kellermann himself isn’t running a free clinic.

          • Right. Insurance companies offer a limited number of enrollments. Before the ACA, more people applied than enrollments were available. This is literally the scarcity you described. Yet somehow, this is not rationing to declare that only certain people can participate in the market.

          • Odd comment-

            Most understand that one applies for insurance coverage. Perhaps you have not had to do so in your lifetime. Prior to the ACA, insurers would actually employ underwriting via actuarial tables and approve or deny the health insurance application. (as an aside, this “underwriting” phenomenon can be evidenced when your auto insurance premium is higher when you have teenaged drivers on your policy, for instance)

            In any event, a denial of policy issuance does not “ration” health care, since insurance policies do not provide health care.

  17. Ram: yes, most Americans, without the benefit of insurance, can pay for their health care needs out of pocket. This is evidence by…nothing.

    • Insurance does not provide health care. That’s assuredly evidenced. Stop at your nearest health insurance company, go into the lobby and tell them you’re there for your annual flu shot and see what happens.

      Insurance has always been available for people, just as any service has been.

      People either buy it or they do not.

    • I didn’t say they could.

      You want everyone to have insurance, and you want someone else to pay for that insurance if the prospective insured cannot afford insurance.

      That’s was the objective of the ACA, and it has failed. The economics didn’t work.

    • No one presumes that people can or want to pay out of pocket for health care costs-that’s why health insurance exists.

      The problem starts when you attempt to remake insurance into something it isn’t-namely, a federal grant program.

      That’s my whole point. Easy enough to say that “everyone should have health insurance”. You cannot subvert the function of insurance to accomplish this and expect it to work as it is designed to work.

    • Anna-

      Here’s where this always lands.

      Person A who could not afford health insurance before ACA now has it. Said person now says I can’t afford the co-pay, the prescriptions, the wheelchair rental, whatever-even though I cobble up enough change to pay the premiums.

      So they’re in the same boat they were before ACA. The solution that that is a single-payer system run by the government that requires a lot of tax money and reduces overall levels of care that people who did have insurance were accustomed to receiving.

      People don’t want that here.

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