I told you so. I have said for almost as many years as I have engaged in anti assisted suicide advocacy that eventually killing (ending life) would come to be seen as a splendid way to save money in health care. I used to have HMOs in mind in making that argument. But now, it seems that single payer systems may be the greater danger.
Vermont has passed a single payer health plan—but hasn’t figured out how to pay for it, as I mentioned here previously. An editorial has come up with two “pragmatic” ways to cut costs. Yup, one is assisted suicide. The other is explicit health care rationing—which I have also written flows naturally from single payer systems in difficult economic times. From the Addison County (VT) Independent editorial:
Money must also be saved in services delivered to people with chronic diseases and those who frequently use emergency rooms, he said; two areas in which the community at large must help play an important role. Passing a law that allows physicians to help end a patient’s life under very controlled circumstances, known as “death with dignity,” is one such measure that could help (an effort was tried this pass session but postponed until next year). Another is approving some type of rationing measures, as Oregon has done, that help control health care costs.
Exactly. And you’ll end up with expensive care being denied in Oregon—but patients offered assisted suicide—as happened to cancer patients Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup under Oregon’s oh, so “compassionate” law. And the editorial ludicrously talks about restricting heart transplants for 92-year olds—as if all those near-centurions are getting all the organs. What a joke.
Some are willing to dismantle Hippocratic medicine by tossing the sickest out of the lifeboat and legalizing doctor-prescribed death as a way of saving money and promoting “pragmatism.” I am not. VT opponents of assisted suicide, raise this editorial as a battle flag and defeat the threatened culture of death.