We knew it would come to this when Oregon insisted on passing its assisted-suicide laws. It doesn’t take much for assisted suicide to go from a humane option to a cost-saving device, especially when the state pays for the medical care. One patient in Oregon got a letter that made this all too clear, when in the same letter rejecting her request for life-extending chemotherapy, Oregon offered her “physician-aid-in-dying”. In other words, Oregon offered their customer a heapin’ helping of death:
The doctor interviewed by the news station seems offended at the suggestion that Oregon would decide to save a few bucks by denying expensive health care and offering a case of hemlock in its place. However, saving money was the raison d’etre of single-payer systems, and the incentives all drive towards that decision. Single-payer systems have to handle medical services as a shortage market, rationing them by using “comparative effectiveness” paradigms to determine who gets medical attention, and who gets “physician-aid-in-dying” instead of it.
The woman who drew the short end of the stick in this case wonders who these people think they are. They think they know better than us who needs to live and die. Has that lesson still not been made clear?
Update: I got this link yesterday and the KATU page is undated, but this story is from 2008, which I didn’t realize until I got an e-mail about it. I wrote about this last June, and I simply didn’t recall it.