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After Granddaughter's Medical Ordeal, a Call to Fight Health Care Rationing

When a family member is sick, all we want to do is make them feel better. When it’s a child especially, nothing else matters in the whole world until they get well. We comfort them and seek medical help as quickly as possible.

My granddaughter, Haley, did not have a good day from the time she was 4 years old. She labored to breath, struggled to sit up for herself and could not swallow even one piece of candy like other girls her age. Haley had a progressive and undiagnosed neurological condition which finally ended her life at age 10 last year.

As the patriarch of our family, I tried desperately to find the answer to Haley’s medical condition. It was a rare month when Haley didn’t spend at least 10 days in the hospital.  Thankfully, we knew that we could take our baby in her distress to the hospital and know that she would be cared for and nurtured by the medical professionals there until she felt well enough to go home.

Her life was a joy and brought unspeakable blessings to us. Haley was the perfect picture of trust. She trusted that we would do everything we could to make her feel better. Sometimes that just meant holding her during a breathing treatment. There was no better feeling of gratitude than wheeling Haley in her little wheelchair out of the hospital to go home. We knew we’d be back but at the moment of discharge, there was gratitude for those who took care of her, gave her therapy, started her IVs, and made her smile by helping her feel better, even when it was for just a brief moment. 

That is why the announcement this week that many states are planning to limit inpatient hospital overnights to those covered by Medicare was not only frightening news but also discriminatory against the poor and disabled. It was by God’s grace that my family was able to sustain good medical care for Haley. Don’t all disabled and elderly patients deserve to have the ability to trust that the same awaits them in their hour of need? 

Trying to put a limit on illness is like trying to put a 24-hour limit on a sinus infection or a cold sore - it’s impossible. Every illness is unique. Every individual case deserves the care that measures its success on how well the patient is being cared for, not how quickly they can be sent home or denied access to the medical help that they need for as long as they need it. If we, individually or collectively, surrender this core belief to the bureaucrats of the Obama administration, it will only be a matter of time before the “death panels” of every hospital will be usurping our rights to medically provide for our loved ones.

It is already happening. But it is not too late to stop it.

The men and women of my generation should be able to trust that they will get the care that they gave to us over the years. Standing up to stop rationed health care for those who are the most vulnerable -  the elderly, infirmed and disabled adults and children - demands that we expose the lie that  euthanasia can no longer be packaged as “compassion.”

Every life is precious and has a right to live and be valued. No individual, hospital board, government agency or court has the right to interfere with and decide who lives and who dies. 

Our loudest voice can be heard in our vote. It’s time to change out the "change" we were told we could believe in.

Collin Raye is a country music star and the National Spokesperson for Terri’s Life and Hope Network.  For more information go to www.lifeandhope.com.