Oregon: State to Pay for Assisted Suicide

SALEM, Ore. Nov. 1998-- Some low-income residents of Oregon will likely be able to have the costs of assisted suicides covered by the state's health plan beginning next month.

Officials with the Oregon Health Plan are currently reviewing testimony from a public meeting held Monday which focused on the rule that would implement the coverage. The rule requires the plan to pay for all medical and counseling appointments that are required under the assisted suicide law, as well as the medication for the procedure.

Among those testifying at the hearing were groups who fought the state's assisted suicide law, including the Oregon Catholic Conference and the national organization Not Dead Yet.

Ric Burger, with American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today, said "the fact that the state of Oregon will not properly fund our personal attendant services, yet will pay for us to die, amounts to nothing less than cultural genocide."

Officials say the state health plan would pay less than $45 for the lethal medication, between $9 and $81 for each visit to a doctor's office and $30 to $118 for each counseling session, depending on the extent of services.

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