NRL, AUL Point Out Rationing/Assisted Suicide HCR Concerns

ChelseaAssisted Suicide, Euthanasia, Health Care, LegislationLeave a Comment

A National Right to Life analysis of the Senate health care reform bill found that:

Senior citizens’ ability to use their own money, if they choose, to avoid involuntary denial of medical treatment under Medicare could be severely limited.

State commissioners of the new health insurance exchanges created by the bill would be given power to deny people who are trying to obtain policies in the exchange the option of choosing health plans less likely to deny treatment, by limiting what they would be allowed to pay for such policies.

In response to public reaction over the summer denouncing efforts to encourage patients to agree to reject treatment as a way of saving costs, the Senate avoided including the “advance care planning” provisions still in the House bill. Instead, it has sought to achieve a similar result under a different name, Under the title “Shared Decisionmaking,” the bill funds and promotes “patient decision aids” to “help” patients make treatment decisions.

A Medicare Advisory Board is established to force Medicare payments below the rate of medical inflation.

Read more

Life News has an article from American’s United for Life attorney Anna Franzonello who points out that: Despite Stupak, Rationing and Assisted Suicide Remain in House Health Care Bill. Pointing out the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) provisions, Franzonello says that an acceptable amendment managed to be added to the House health care bill to prevent CER from being used to deny or ration care. No word on whether that language is part of the Senate bill as well. I trust that AUL will be keeping an eye on that and I will make sure to share any information as soon as I see it. On AS:

H.R. 3962 does not contain any assurance that assisted suicide and euthanasia will not be funded. The bill affords no conscience protection for health care providers regarding end-of-life concerns. Moreover, it contains a provision that allows for the promotion of assisted suicide.

H.R. 3962 Sec. 240 requires every health insurance company participating in the Exchange to make advanced directives available. A serious concern with the mandate of advance directives is that they may be used for the promotion or encouragement of assisted suicide. As the bill stands now, these mandated directives can be used to promote what is commonly understood as “assisted suicide” in Oregon and Washington.

At first glance it might seem that H.R. 3962 guards against this. Sec. 240 (a)(3) & (b)(3) prohibit “promot[ing] suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.” And (d) adds that “suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing” shall not be listed as options on advance directives.

However, because the bill does not define “assisted suicide,” in Oregon and Washington that language would be ineffective. Both states have legalized what is commonly understood to be “assisted suicide.” But both states have explicitly defined in their “Death with Dignity” laws that what they allow is not assisted suicide.

Therefore, in Washington and Oregon – and any state that may similarly redefine assisted suicide – advanced directives can be used to promote assisted suicide.

An amendment to the original House health care bill, H.R. 3200, would have prevented this loophole. It clarified that these directives could not be used to promote “active hastening of death.” However, that clarifying language was not included in H.R. 3962.

This is similar to what Wesley Smith wrote about not too long ago.

Thanks to these folks for keeping an eye on the other pro-life concerns with health care reform. Let’s hope other pro-lifers are paying attention (ahem, U.S. Bishops and pro-life Democrats). The Senate is set to begin amendment debate on the health care bill after Thanksgiving.

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