“Medicare for all” is a clever re-branding of government run, single payer health care that Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont has taken on as one of his signature issues.
The term is less scary than socialized medicine since many senior citizens have depended on the current Medicare system for their health needs and are familiar with the system.
The way Bernie presents that idea, all one must do is to present your Medicare for all card to a health care provider and one would get medical attention.
There will no hassles of private insurance. Sanders goes on to say that hefty taxes will be needed to pay for the system and not just from the rich.
Also, private insurance will be abolished whether one likes it or not.
Bernie at least respects his audience not to lie about “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” as President Barack Obama did.
Sanders presents Medicare for all as being cheaper and more efficient than the current health insurance system, a quaint notion to be sure.
Bernie does not say that, at least when practiced in other countries, government health care can be unimaginably cruel. The story of a British infant named Charlie Gard is a case in point.
CNN tells the story of how a sick little boy ran into the bureaucracy of the British National Health Service.
Charlie was born in August 2016. He appeared to be healthy at first, but then his parents noticed a marked decline in his health. They took Charlie to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to try to determine what was making their baby sick.
Charlie had a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome which causes progressive loss of motor function.
The condition would eventually kill the little boy. The British doctors advised that Charlie should be placed on palliative care and be allowed to “die with dignity.”
Charlie parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, refused to accept the death sentence for their son.
They found a doctor, Michio Hirano who practiced at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center and specialized in myopathies and other neuromuscular diseases. Dr. Hirano had developed an experimental treatment called nucleoside bypass that had shown promising results on two other children who had conditions similar but less severe to Charlie’s.
Hirano was willing to see the little boy and treat him.
Charlie’s parents started a GoFundMe campaign and quickly raised the $1.65 million that was required to transport their son to the United States and have him treated. Then the hospital stepped in and opposed the alternate treatment.
It would not be, so stated the NHS bureaucrats, in the best interests of the child.
In an American hospital, a second opinion for a deadly disease is not only permitted but often encouraged. If Charlie had been in any hospital in the United States, his doctors would have cooperated with the alternate treatment plan.
There followed a Kafkaesque drama in which Charlie’s parents trudged from court to court attempting to free their child, to be turned away every time.
The case became an international cause celeb-re, with protests and representations from Pope Francis and President Donald Trump.
Finally, after stating that there was an 11 percent to 56 chance that Charlie might have show some improvement with the proposed treatment, Dr. Hirano could travel to London and examine the little boy and consult with his doctors.
But, since months of court battles had ensued, it was too late. Charlie was too far gone for Hirano’s treatment to be of benefit. So, his parents finally gave up their fight to save their son’s life.
The awful question still lingers. What if the hospital had allowed Charlie’s parents to take him to America from the start? Might he not have died so soon?
In an act that added insult to injury, the NHS bureaucrats refused permission for Charlie to be taken home to die. He passed in late July 2017.
The idea that allowing Charlie to die instead of getting treatment that might have saved him was om his best interests is a crock.
The British National Health service was sparing itself from the possible embarrassment of an American doctor saving the little boy’s life when it could not.
The very idea of having government run health care might have been called into question.
Every parent should consider the case of Charlie Gard when Bernie Sanders gives his siren call of Medicare for all.