Health Plans Forced to Provide Assisted Suicide Counseling

Another little gem found in H.R. 3962 Affordable Health Care for America Act involves the requirement for your health insurance plan to provide and pay for assisted suicide counseling.

Section 240 requires that all companies offering a qualified health benefits plan to “provide for the dissemination of information related to end-of-life planning to individuals seeking enrollment in Exchange-participating health benefits plans offered through the Exchange” [Sec. 240(a)(1)]. This section also explicitly states that the insurance company cannot promote suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing [Sec. 240(a)(3) and Sec. 240(d)(1)].

The problem is that this section does not “preempt or otherwise have any effect on State laws regarding advance care planning, palliative care, or end-of-life decision-making” [Sec. 240(d)(3)]. Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, does not consider their legislation to have allowed “suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.” Instead, they consider their legislation to have allowed patients to make a choice to face “death with dignity.” In fact, it is called the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, as is the Washington version passed into law last year.

Thus, your health insurance plan will now be required to promote and pay for “death with dignity” consultations in those states that have passed such legislation. Why is it that this bill is interested in promoting life-ending programs rather than life-saving or life-extending programs?

For more information on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, go to the Oregon Department of Human Services . For more information on Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, go to the Washington Department of Health.

H.R. 3962 is just plain wrong for America; it does not protect human life and our well-being at any age or any stage as it purports to do; instead it does exactly the opposite: it promotes death and the devaluation of human life.

It is imperative that you contact your senator or representative today via mail, phone calls, and emails. Go to the National Right to life for assistance with how to do this by clicking here.

[Corrected March 21, 2010]

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