Monday, December 7, 2009

Aid in Dying and Health Care Reform.

Dr. Joseph Kincaid contests that the health care bill, as being debated by the senate right now, lacks the usual "pro-life" suspects. In some ways he's right. His desire, I would gather, is to impose greater restrictions on legal health care services in excess of existing Hyde guidelines. He also worries that Christian or "pro-life" providers won't be able to refuse services to patients' based on their (unrestricted, religious) personal views.

He's got other beefs too. To be clear, Kincaid wants to prevent or limit the the utmost legal services, in effect further eroding patients' rights to legal, ethical, moral, scientific health care treatments and information because he personally believes these patients shouldn't have them.
Get that? He knows what's good for you; he and others will decide what your moral health care decisions should be.

But I want to mention the funding issue he has with aid in dying, or assisted suicide. He writes:

The last area of concern is end-of-life care. On page 364, section 1553, there is a conscience clause protecting medical professionals who do not participate in assisted suicide. Reading between the lines, this means that the Senate bill has no prohibition on promoting assisted suicide or having it paid for under the plan. Also, in section 1323, page 186, a community health insurance option is prohibited from limiting access to end-of-life care. However, in Oregon, Washington, and Montana, assisted suicide is legally considered a form of end-of-life care. So the Senate bill would cover assisted suicide in these three states. Why is the Senate bill involved in assisted suicide? What medical treatment for the seriously ill is cheaper than the $100 cost for the drug that can be used in assisted suicide?

The Death with Dignity laws already allow doctors to deny patients' requests for assisted suicide. And the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 not only prevents federal funds from being used for AS but it prevents federal funds from being used by advocates of AS. In other words, his problem is not with existing law and the proposals in the health care bill. He's proposes use of the bill to further restrict the rights of those who request aid in dying.

This is not about reforming health care, really. Without a doubt this is about "pro-life" groups holding health care hostage unless they get to further limit the health services they ideologically oppose.

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