Insurance companies abusing assisted suicide laws (US)

Washington Times 7 June 2017
Family First Comment: A disturbing read from Tammy Bruce (who I have interviewed previously)
“With the passage of assisted-suicide laws, there are new reports that health insurance companies are refusing to cover lifesaving medical care and are offering to pay patients to kill themselves instead. It is, after all, cheaper…”

As we remain inundated with the news and chaos of terrorist attacks, a life-and-death struggle is emerging here at home, manifesting some of the same threats to Western values, and even to the core understanding of civilization itself and its value of life. With the passage of assisted-suicide laws, there are new reports that health insurance companies are refusing to cover lifesaving medical care and are offering to pay patients to kill themselves instead. It is, after all, cheaper. The debate surrounding legalizing assisted suicide is largely cast as one focusing on an individual who genuinely wants to end his or her life because of the pain and suffering they’re experiencing due to a terminal medical condition. But this issue is wholly different — the possible cold-blooded and brutal abuse of those laws by bureaucrats in insurance companies against patients whom they determine are too expensive to keep alive.

Last October, this newspaper reported the story of a terminally ill woman in California whose insurance company, she alleges, refused to cover more chemotherapy treatments once the state passed its End of Life Option Act, “which authorizes physicians to diagnose a life-ending dose of medication to patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live. “[Stephanie] Packer said her doctors have appealed the insurance company’s decision twice, to no avail. She said the assisted-suicide law creates an incentive for insurance companies to deny terminally ill patients coverage. ‘As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option,’ she said,” The Washington Times reported.

….And then there are the doctors. Healers who pledge to do no harm are now facing a system that will eventually expect them to do just that. In fact, according to Dr. Brian Callister, it’s happening now. He was shocked when two different insurance companies refused lifesaving treatment for his patients and suggested he help them kill themselves instead. Dr. Callister, a doctor in Nevada, “tried to transfer two patients to California and Oregon for procedures not performed at his hospital. Representatives from two different insurance companies denied those transfer requests by phone, he said. ‘And in both cases, the insurance medical director said to me, ‘Brian, we’re not going to cover that procedure or the transfer, but would you consider assisted suicide?’ ” he told The Times. Moreover, his patients were not terminal, but would become so without the treatment he sought for them.

….Yet in 2008, when Oregon had the only assisted-suicide law in the country, 64-year-old Barbara Wagner’s lung cancer returned and her doctor prescribed a $4,000-a-month medication to keep her alive. But it was not to be. Her insurance company sent her an unsigned treatment rejection letter, along with the suggestion she consider assisted suicide. In 2008, Ms. Wagner told ABCNews.com, “It was horrible. I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor, and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.”
READ MORE: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/7/assisted-suicide-laws-can-be-abused/

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