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EDITORIAL: Confiscating the baby

Sacramento parents preview the health care ahead

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Alex and Anna Nikolayev of Sacramento, Calif., want only the best for their five-month-old son, Sammy. They're particularly sensitive to the infant's health because he has a heart murmur and will likely need surgery. The couple's troubles began last month when they took Sammy to Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento with symptoms of flu.

Mrs. Nikolayev watched as her son received intravenous antibiotics. She didn't like what she saw, and asked questions. A nurse told her that she didn't know why the intravenous antibiotics were prescribed. The Nikolayevs then took the boy to another hospital, operated by Kaiser Permanente, where doctors said the infant was actually in good health. Doctors said they had no concerns about the parents taking the child home.

Someone, presumably someone at Sutter Memorial Hospital, didn't like losing a patient and prospective payment, and called the state Child Protective Services, which, accompanied by police, paid a warrantless visit to the family the next morning. "I'm going to grab your baby, and don't resist, and don't fight me, OK?" one of the policemen told Mrs. Nikolayev. The conversation was recorded on video.

A California judge enabled the parents to regain custody of the child last week, but he ordered them not to take the infant out of a hospital against medical advice. Sammy is due soon at Stanford University's children's hospital for tests and perhaps further treatment.

Many "child welfare" agencies in California and across the United States have acquired so much power that responsible parents are sometimes powerless before them. Once the Nikolayevs provided documents that the physicians at Kaiser Permanente were satisfied with how they were caring for Sammy, that should have been the end of the matter. But it was only the beginning.

Seeking a second opinion is often encouraged by doctors, or it was before Congress imposed the Affordable Care Act on the rest of us, exempting their friends, allies and perhaps soon even themselves from the harsh strictures of Obamacare.

Once the government pays for everyone's health care or provides insurance via an "exchange," it will start writing the rules about what is and isn't allowed. In a one-size-fits-all health care solution, seeking a second opinion has no place. Once a course of treatment begins, a patient may not be entitled to quit a doctor or hospital. Baby-snatching may become routine.

Perhaps the case of Sammy Nikolayev will awaken some of the millions of Americans — 42 percent, according to recent polls — who say they don't know that Obamacare is already taking hold, and that soon they're likely to lose a lot more than their ability to choose their own doctor and hospital.

The Washington Times

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