Oregon Taxpayers To Cover Assisted Suicide

The Oregon Health Services Commission voted 10-1 that taxpayers should be forced to pay for assisted suicides. They decided that lethal doses of prescription drugs should be covered as a "medical service" for the state's 270,000 low-income residents covered under the state's health plan. Opposition to the policy was presented by several groups. "In rural communities, neither hospice care nor psychiatric care may be available for miles and miles," said Dr. Gregory Hamilton, president of Physicians for Compassionate Care. "To offer state-funded suicide while failing to offer adequate care is unconscionable." The new policy is scheduled to take effect in two months, but it must "withstand federal scrutiny" because Medicaid receives federal matching funds. Congress passed a law in April that forbids federal money from being used to cover assisted suicide. But that doesn't necessarily prevent coverage under the Oregon Health Plan. Abortions can't be funded with federal dollars, but Oregon covers abortions by using only state money. Most private insurers, with the exception of Catholic health plans, have said they would cover the cost of lethal prescriptions.
Source: [2/26/98 - The Pro-Life Infonet, infonet-mod@prolife.org]

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