In February, Republicans used the awful budget deal to kill an Obamacare provision that was never implemented — the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

During the great Obamacare debates, then-Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin referred to IPAB as a ‘death panel.’ IPAB, if triggered, would’ve granted Medicare cutting authority to 15 unelected bureaucrats if spending exceeded certain thresholds. This board would’ve been able to prioritize cost-cutting measures over care. Hypothetically and in the worst case scenarios, a tiny group of oversight immune government employees would be able to decide someone’s fate if the price tag were deemed too hefty.

Republicans were mocked and accused of concocting a nefarious ‘death panel’ to fear monger their way into an electoral win.

But then you look at what’s happening in the U.K., first with Charlie Gard and now with Alfie Evans. In both cases, a court, not a doctor and caretaker, decided it was in the best interest of the baby to pull the plug.

I’ve read extensively about terminal illnesses and the ethical issues with pulling the plug on a body that is kept alive only by a machine. But it’s happened that even individuals pronounced dead but for a ventilator become responsive to certain stimuli under the right care and circumstances, begging the question, what does it mean to die?

With both Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans, guards were stationed outside of the room to prevent the baby’s parents from removing their child from the hospital.

In both cases, other hospitals volunteered to give these children a chance to live, even if that chance was minuscule.

Alfie Evans was granted Italian citizenship and the support of a Vatican-backed hospital in Rome. But he can’t leave. Not unless the court allows it. The Italian ambassador is working to convince the judge to let the child receive care elsewhere.

This attitude is not limited by age or geography. Our northern neighbors are warming to the idea of medically assisted death for those with chronic and debilitating illness.

And this is the ‘death panel’ we feared — government deciding when we die and why, deciding what’s more human — the chance to live or die due to the absence of care. More terrifying is that the power to judge life and death is allowed and even encouraged in a western culture often looked to by American progressives as the pinnacle of good governance and healthcare.

The normalization of abortion (it’s nothing more than a medical procedure, dontchaknow!) was the gateway drug. It’s how we ended up in this godawful and completely heartless acceptance of government-induced death.

This is the end result of a culture that worked diligently to devalue human life.


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