Intractably painful life-or-death medical and legal disputes will become even more gut-wrenching and perilous under Obamacare.
Granted, death defies easy definition in our world of advanced medical technology and moving moral guideposts. Yet we cannot escape Hamlet’s aching lament, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Here, at this most basic level of human existence, Obamacare moves us away from the liberty of individual healthcare freedom and towards heartless institutionalized decisionmaking.
Jahi McMath, a beautiful, shy, and friendly 13 year old awaited the emotionally and financially costly decision of judges, doctors, hospital administrators, and family of whether she will continue to be.
After a routine tonsillectomy for sleep apnea, things went terribly wrong for Jahi. She began to bleed profusely and suffered a heart attack. Medical personnel at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, shocked her heart to keep it beating, but later tests reported that she had no brain activity.
The hospital told Jahi’s family that she no longer lived and they would remove her life support. Jahi’s mother countered that, with the ventilator, “she lives, her heart beats, her kidneys produce urine, she is warm and soft.”
Doctors saw Jahi as dead. Hospital administrators saw Jahi as a drag on profitability. The hospital’s spin doctors saw Jahi and sought to create their own perceived reality.
One lawyer saw Jahi and fought for her survival. One lawyer saw Jahi as a problem to solve and fought for the hospital to win legal permission to pull the plug on a corpse.
One judge read pleadings, heard arguments, and decided to give Jahi’s family more time to find another facility willing to care for her. On Sunday, Jahi’s family moved her from Children’s to another location.
Obamacare makes these heart-breaking cases worse in three ways.
First, Obamacare denies our freedom to choose health insurance that fits our lifestyle and moral guideposts. The statute substitutes a patient’s wishes with that of uncaring, unconnected, and unelected administrators in Washington.