Americans are gradually processing and internalizing the implications of the death of young Alfie Evans in Britain last weekend. This is the small child who was denied medical care by the British government despite numerous attempts at outside intervention.
Because medicine is socialized in that country, the government is placed in the position of making life-and-death decisions about its own citizens. In this particular case, the government usurped the control that Alfie's parents ought to have had over his medical care.
This is the ugly face of socialized medicine. The care Alfie's parents were seeking might have been entirely futile. But it needed to be their decision-- not the government's. And they needed to bear responsibility for the financial implications of their decision-- not the government. They needed to be free to purchase the type of insurance that suited them best instead of being forced to rely on a one-size-fits-all remedy.
This is the consequence of taking the free market and the private sector out of health care decisions.
The ubiquitous nature of third-party/first-dollar insurance years ago drove up the demand for health care and its costs. When patients and families are insulated from the cost of care, the sky literally becomes the limit. And the cost escalates to the point that many can no longer afford health care. The government then steps in, making the problem infinitely worse.
And thus we now have Accountable Care Organizations, Alternative Practice Models, and other risk-bearing private entities in the United States (and in North Carolina) that will be making all the decisions as to which Alfie's get care; and which Alfie's do not receive care. These private organizations act as proxies for the government; and often develop their own algorithms as to what types of care will be offered, and under what circumstances. The government uses such euphemistic catchwords as Value-Based Care and Quality Payment to give an appealing facade to an otherwise ugly reality.
And they enforce their protocols by requiring that electronic medical records float around cyberspace, to which many parties will have access-- including the government.
I suspect that we are about 15-20 years away from Alfie-type situations becoming commonplace in the United States. The Republican/Democratic duopoly has determined that the above vision for socialized care will be our nation's future. The Republicans and the democratic socialists, after all, have both passed legislation in this direction-- both in Washington and in Raleigh. And they refuse to repeal the messes they previously passed.
Right now, there is no prevailing voice for free markets and the private sector in health care to be found in either of the two major parties. They are both steeped in authoritarianism, progressivism and incremental socialism. Neither is particularly concerned that the spiral of massive debt is a major issue.
Alfie, in the meantime, is the face of our children or grandchildren being yanked from our protection by an overbearing government-- both in Raleigh and in Washington.