Pro-Life Group Concerned Congress Could Ration Lifesaving Treatment

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 31, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 31,

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life organization is concerned that the Senate could adopt amendments to a SCHIP reauthorization bill that could prevent older Americans from protecting themselves from health care rationing. The group says that such rationing can easily lead to the withdrawal of lifesaving medical treatment and euthanasia.

The National Right to Life Committee sent a letter to members of the Senate Thursday a forwarded a copy to

As reported from the Senate Finance Committee, the SCHIP reauthorization bill does not contain provisions similar to those reported from committees considering the companion bill on the House side.

NRLC says the House adopted language amending Medicare that would coerce rationing of lifesaving medical treatment.

The group urged no votes on any potential amendments that would ration lifesaving care and told lawmakers it would consider publishing the results of the votes in its annual legislative scorecard.

"Since its inception, the pro-life movement has been as concerned about the protection of older people and people with disabilities from euthanasia as of unborn children from abortion," NRLC told lawmakers about the potential votes.

"We have long deemed denial of lifesaving medical treatment against the will of the patient a form of involuntary euthanasia, and have worked vigorously against government rationing of health care as a core part of our single-issue pro-life mission," National Right to Life added.

NRLC objects to House language that would undermine the "premium support" approach that has government paying for some health care but allowing seniors to put their own money on the table to purchase health care that meets their needs.

Without being able to add their own money, patients may be forced to rely on plans that don’t cover al of their medical needs — putting their very lives at risk.

"It is this fundamental approach that is under assault in the House bill and may also be attacked by Senate floor amendment," NRLC explains.

"The economic reality is that in order to provide Medicare coverage for the baby boom generation as it retires without unrealistically massive tax increases, government payments per beneficiary will not be able to keep up with medical inflation. If the funds available for health care for senior citizens from all sources are so limited, the only possible result will be rationing," the group added in the letter.

"Since senior citizens are required to participate in Medicare, this would amount to government-imposed involuntary euthanasia," the group concludes.

That is why NRLC and other groups urged Congress to create the private fee-for-service escape valve adopted in 1997 and expanded in 2003.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –