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The next step in health care rationing

Posted by Richard on August 4, 2008

I'm pro-choice on everything, including abortion and suicide. I think most of the "slippery slope" arguments of the pro-life people are specious. That said, I found this story disturbing. Oregon's state health care system does indeed seem to be on a slippery slope, and it looks like a double black diamond:

Opponents of physician-assisted suicide are fired up this summer, and rightfully so, over an ethically questionable provision of the Oregon Health Plan.

The conflict came to light in a recent report in The Register-Guard of Eugene. The newspaper described the sad plight of Barbara Wagner, a 64-year-old Springfield woman with lung cancer.

After her oncologist prescribed a cancer drug that would cost $4,000 a month, the newspaper reported, "Wagner was notified that the Oregon Health Plan wouldn't cover the treatment, but that it would cover palliative, or comfort, care, including, if she chose, doctor-assisted suicide."

Wow. How long will it be before the state health care system starts making these decisions for its "clients," especially those it deems incapable of deciding rationally for themselves? Will the State of Oregon, with its health care budget increasingly stressed, eventually behave like pet owners who decide that the cost of curing Fido just isn't worth it, and it's time to put him down?

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Remember that the next time you think you're lucky that your employer pays most of your health insurance costs. When the purchaser of a service and the consumer of that service are different people, which one do you think the service provider is most motivated to listen to? 

(HT: Billll's Idle Mind

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