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The Parthenon

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Editorial: Healthcare should be considered a human right

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A British infant is at the center of a global debate over what medical treatment, if any, he is entitled to receive, and who decides his fate — his family, his doctors or the courts.

Charlie Gard, who is 11 months old, was born with an extremely rare genetic disease. He is blind, deaf and cannot breathe or move on his own. He suffers from persistent epileptic seizures.

The London hospital treating Charlie has asked to remove him from life support, but his parents want to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment to extend their child’s life.

The story quickly spread across social media and news outlets all over the world, raising moral and ethical questions that even President Donald Trump weighed in on.

“If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so,” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday.

The media attention on this issue also comes at a time when questions of the right to healthcare are running rampant in the United States.

Republicans in both the House and Senate have been working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act since Trump took office in January.

Both Senators Joe Manchin and Shelly Moore Capito said they would not vote for the Senate’s healthcare plan, a second attempt from Republicans to pass a repeal bill after a failed attempt in May.

“In early May, the House of Representatives passed a healthcare bill that President Trump said had no heart and now Senate Republicans have proposed a bill that has no soul,” Manchin said in a press release. “Republicans wrote this bill behind closed doors, without input from their constituents, Democrats and even from members of their own party. Just like the House repeal bill, this Republican healthcare legislation is a bad deal for West Virginians.”

Multiple citizens voiced their concerns to Capito about the bill before she said she was opposed, including a minister whose comments about her daughter went viral on social media.

“I came to Washington to make the lives of West Virginians better,” Capito said in a press release. “Throughout this debate, I have said that I will only support a bill that provides access to affordable health care coverage for West Virginians, including those on Medicaid and those struggling with drug addiction… As drafted, this bill will not ensure access to affordable health care in West Virginia, does not do enough to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating my state, cuts traditional Medicaid too deeply, and harms rural health care providers.”

We are currently in a divided country. Democrats versus Republicans. Those who support repealing Obamacare versus those who want to keep it in place.

A healthcare issue grabbed the attention of our nation. The same people who are rallying against the right to healthcare here are calling out the hospital for its decision to not continue treatment of Charlie.

We cannot pick and choose who has a right to healthcare and who doesn’t. It should not matter if the person is 11 months old or 111 years old, what we believe is right for one should be right for all.

The Republican Party has pitted itself against the people by basically trying to choose who has the right to live and who should be left to die.

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