Assisted Suicide Laws: Cheap Substitute for Care

A white woman of advanced age holds a tissue to her eye to wipe up her tears. She has white hair, wears a nasal cannula and a white shirt with blue flowers on it.

Barbara Wagner

“They will pay to kill me, but they will not give me the medication to try and stop the growth of my cancer.”

Barbara Wagner was denied coverage for a cancer treatment that had measurable success in prolonging life and easing cancer-attendant pain. The denial letter from the State Oregon Health Plan stated it would not cover that medication, but it would cover end-of-life care including “physician aid-in-dying.”

Offering assisted suicide as an end-of-life care option while simultaneously denying coverage to patients that could be curative and palliative is abhorrent. This puts undue pressure on patients in already difficult circumstances and incentivizes for-profit insurance companies and budget-starved government insurers to deny coverage.

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