Monday, February 24, 2014

Death Panels in Oregon: Some issues for assisted suicide



planks length said...

The brute fact is, once doctor assisted suicide is made legal, we will start seeing both relatives and government bodies urging the elderly and/or seriously ill to kill themselves, because keeping them alive is "too expensive" or "inconvenient". Vulnerable people will be coerced into ending their lives prematurely.

Victor Reppert said...

That's the worry I have, though in this case I suspect the same letter would have been written in a state that disallows assisted suicide, but without offering the option of suicide, since it would be against the law.

im-skeptical said...


This has absolutely nothing to do with "death panels" or "Obamacare". This is Oregon's state insurance, which has been in place since the 1990s. They have been slow to update their list of approved drugs for new treatments, as have been many private insurance companies. This drug is covered by Medicare and Medicaid (ie. Obamacare), by the way. But it is extremely expensive, due to price gouging by the pharmaceutical industry.

BenYachov said...

The "right" to commit suicide will soon devolve into the obligation to commit suicide.

Victor Reppert said...

I do share the worry about assisted suicide giving insurance payment providers an opportunity to deny payment, I don't think in this instance the option of assisted suicide would have made any difference in whether the drug would have been paid for. And anyone who is given the job of paying for health care can function as a "death panel."

If "Obamacare" were adopted in most foreign countries, it would be a sharp turn to the right, not a turn to the left, as it is regarded here.

planks length said...


I don't think anyone here (other than you) has brought up "Obamacare". As Victor commented, so-called "death Panels" have been with us for a long, long time.

And I would wager that, no matter what health care system prevails, as long as there is more demand for care than there is either supply or funding for it, there will be some sort of rationing. It will just be called by different names. The recent Health Care Act did not introduce rationing into the system - it's always been there.

im-skeptical said...


The term 'death panel' came about during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, specifically by Sarah Palin's false accusations about the effects of the proposed law.

However, you are correct in noting that insurance providers have long been denying coverage of life-saving treatments in order to enhance their profits. But the pharmaceutical industry deserves credit as well, for pricing their drugs at unconscionable levels - just because they can.

Victor Reppert said...

My use of Palin's expression should not be taken as an endorsement of her claims concerning Obamacare.

Papalinton said...

Plank: "Vulnerable people will be coerced into ending their lives prematurely."

Certainly not in the manner that vulnerable people today are forced to prolong their lives enduring unimaginable agony beyond that which any ethical consideration about quality of life today now deems unconscionable as the people of the State of Oregon rightly do.

The slippery slope argument seems not to have manifested in the Oregon experience, nor in the Netherlands and Belgium experience and for very good reason as outlined in this cited feature.

And one need only visit a couple of terminal wards and hospices in other states to witness the unending dread, trepidation, consternation and the utter emasculation, stripping away control from those who seek the right to die, with dignity, at a moment of their choosing. One need only visit hospices to watch this horror being played out, the resultant consequence of self-absorbed and thoughtless reactions of the slippery-slopers, the dispossession of those rights from the very people that should be afforded the right to self-determine.