In England, the death panel of socialized medicine appears again

A British court has held that Britain’s National Health Service, which has long been the gold standard of socialized medicine, can stop treating a 19-year-old woman who is conscious and wants to live. This is the natural endpoint of the rationing that is inherent in socialized medicine.

Ostensibly, socialized medicine promises to give top-quality healthcare to everyone. And if you’re a national treasure like Stephen Hawking, you will get that type of care, because it looks really bad if the government lets a renowned physicist with a degenerative disease die because treating him sucks up too many government resources.

However, the reality of socialized medicine is that it revolves around rationing. The government has “X” dollars available for medical care, and it will allocate that money according to a political calculation that doesn’t necessarily involve actual healthcare. As Scott Atlas wrote in 2011, when the World Health Organization claimed America was a healthcare failure compared to other, socialized medicine nations, the devil was in the statistical details: In socialized medicine countries, you can see a doctor (although you may wait years to do so), but you won’t actually get medical care.

And speaking of those damned, lying statistics, another game that countries with socialized medicine play to prop up the appearance that they provide actual medical care is to lie about infant mortality data. The truth behind the claim that America lags in infant mortality compared to the world’s other, socialized-medicine countries is that different countries count “live births” differently. Countries other than America don’t count as live births those fragile infants that probably won’t survive. That way, it looks as if more of their infants survive after birth.

Image: Empty hospital bed by freepik.

Except for the air we breathe, everything in the world is rationed. There are two ways to ration things: market forces and brute force. The cool thing about market forces is that, if something is popular, you’ll get more of it, and it will eventually come at a lower price and, often, better quality. For example, flash drives used to have a small capacity and a high price, in the hundreds of dollars. Now, they have a huge capacity and are a dime a dozen. Competition drove quality up and prices down.

The government, however, neither creates nor innovates. If it wants more of something, it uses its police power to take money from its working citizens. And of course, it will never improve whatever service it provides. Because it cannot innovate, eventually, citizen money will diminish, and the government will start playing favorites, giving more of the finite product to those whom it favors and depriving those who aren’t on the list.

That gets us to 19-year-old ST, a British woman the National Health Service has condemned to death, thanks to a thumbs up from the British judiciary. Jonathan Turley has the details:

British doctors are seeking to take a 19-year-old critically ill female patient off the intensive care despite her objections and those of her parents. Unlike most such cases, the woman known only as “ST” is conscious and communicative. Yet, the doctors argue that she is not being realistic about her chances of survival from a rare disorder.  Now a British court has agreed and ordered that she can be placed on end-of-life care against her will.


ST has been in the ICU for the past year, requiring a ventilator and a feeding tube. She also requires regular dialysis due to chronic kidney damage from her disease. She wants to be allowed to travel to Canada for an experimental treatment but the doctors oppose the plan and say that she is not accepting the realities of her terminal illness. They say that she is “actively dying” without any hope of resuming life outside of intensive care.

Remember: This would not happen if ST, a religious woman, were Stephen Hawking, a famous atheist physicist. The government knows who matters and who doesn’t, and ST doesn’t.

The government does not love you and, mostly, doesn’t even like you. You are a widget. This contradicts the Judeo-Christian ethic, which holds that every human life has value. Under the socialist ethic, only the government is paramount. You appear as a number in the balance books and, if you don’t offer the government an advantage (if you don’t shine a good light on it or vote for it), you have no value. And if you have no value, when the rationing starts, you’re done for.

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