Saturday, July 1, 2017

Charlie Gard

I can't figure out why this Charlie Gard case is such a trigger issue for me. I seem to be just as upset as everyone else, but it's not over any of the proper talking points.

1. I'm supposed to be upset that the government is making decisions for a baby's care.

2. I'm supposed to be upset that socialist healthcare has decided he's no longer worth keeping alive, and so he must die.

3. I'm supposed to be upset that his parents' wishes are different than the state's wishes, but their evil single-payer system is essentially one giant uncompromising death panel.

4. I'm supposed to be upset because his parents raised the money themselves to pay for alternative care, and were still turned down!

But mostly, I'm upset because everyone who seems most upset about these talking points doesn't seem to realize that this stuff is every day normal healthcare in America -- except for the part about it happening to someone with money.

1. We believe parents should have the final say in their children's healthcare, no matter what -- except for the parents with whom we disagree. We legislate waiting periods and mandatory sonograms before abortions, no therapeutic euthanasia, free sterilization following Medicaid pregnancies, because it's our community responsibility to choose in the best interests of a child, when we deem their parents too morally compromised to make an acceptable decision. (Our united moral front is less united on whether parents should be given the final say to refuse blood transfusions, chemo, scoliosis screenings, vision and hearing tests, or vaccinations, on behalf of their children. All this to illustrate, our stance on uncompromising parental rights is a little more gray than we like to admit.)

2. We use our capitalistic healthcare to decide who's worth saving just as much as countries with socialist healthcare. It's a simple equation: if you don't have money, you're not worth saving. (Don't blame us. You did this to yourself. Get a better job. Get better health insurance. Don't get sick. It's not hard.)

3. We have death panels in our country. They're not run by the government; they're run by for-profit health insurance companies who shamelessly lobby the government and ultimately decide who receives healthcare and how much they receive. They're run by a system wherein it's impossible to schedule an appointment with a specialist or a procedure at an outpatient surgery center without full cash payment up-front. They're run by a system that might get you charity care for a doctor, if you're well-connected, might get you charity care for a surgery, but can't seem to do a thing about affordable prescriptions.

4. We truly cannot fathom a healthcare system that doesn't work in the favor of the wealthy. If all else fails in our list of travesties in the Charlie Gard case, we are irate that regardless of ethical concerns, health outcomes, or parental right issues, they have the money. If a for-profit air ambulance company wants to take a million dollars cash to transport a live cadaver across the ocean, then why not? If a grant-starved researcher can get some extra cash with empty promises for desperate parents, then why the heck not? How dare our Church mention words like "extraordinary care," "natural death," or "dignity." This impostor pope is obviously in favor of euthanasia.

So yes, I'm upset that poor Charlie is not allowed to die peacefully in his parents' arms, on their timeline, at their home, or at the hospital, or en route to America, with or without whatever treatments they decide are right for him.

But what really saddens me is how many people express such horror that this situation could even occur in a civilized country, without recognizing it happens all the time here in the U.S.

We're saying that we're scandalized because someone couldn't get access to possible life-saving healthcare, but it seems like we're more shocked and upset that it happened to people with money. Because that is definitely not how we do healthcare in America.