Read the Vote Yes guest column.
Proponents of Proposition 106, legalizing doctor-assisted suicide, claim the law has worked well in Oregon and other states. It’s simply not true. If proponents told the truth, Proposition 106 would go down in flames. Here’s the truth, legalizing doctor-assisted suicide opens the door for insurance companies and the government to get involved with everyone’s end-of-life decisions. In fact, in states where doctor-assisted suicide is legal, insurance companies are already denying more expensive lifesaving medications on a regular basis, offering instead to cover the cost of a doctor-assisted suicide.
Consider Stephanie Packer of California, the 33 year-old mother of four, who was denied a life-extending chemotherapy drug, but was approved for the $1.20 co-pay for doctor-assisted suicide drugs. Or Barbara Wagner of Oregon who was denied lifesaving drugs prescribed by her doctor but received a letter encouraging her to explore doctor-assisted suicide by the Oregon Health Plan. Or physician Dr. William Toffler of Oregon who regularly sees more expensive life-extending drugs rejected by insurance companies but doctor-assisted suicide drugs always covered.
Proposition 106 has no protections against insurance companies or the government denying lifesaving treatment to patients who want nothing to do with doctor-assisted suicide. Similar laws in other states have given insurance companies and the government the power to choose who will live and who will die.
Insurance companies in Colorado have already raised health-insurance rates by an average of 20% for individual buyers for 2017. In rural parts of Colorado, premiums will jump by 40%. It is estimated that 92,000 people, nearly one in five Coloradans will have to shop for new insurance as insurance companies leave the Obamacare exchange. It’s clear that medical insurance costs are going up and coverage is going down. Now doctor-assisted suicide could be an option for insurance companies and the government to reduce coverage and cut costs.
Time and time again, people who want nothing to do with doctor-assisted suicide are forced to consider it because insurance companies deny the more expensive lifesaving drugs. What kind of choice is it for Coloradans when the option to live is removed? Doctor-assisted suicide removes the choice to live from too many people.
Coloradans should not support the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide. Bottom line, Proposition 106 gives insurance companies and the government more power over everyone’s end-of-life decisions. This is clear – we must reject Proposition 106.
Jeff Hunt is the Director of the Centennial Institute.