Oregon Tells Patients State Will Pay for Assisted Suicide, Not Health Care

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oregon Tells Patients State Will Pay for Assisted Suicide, Not Health Care

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 30
, 2008

Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — It’s happened again — another Oregon resident has heard form state officials that it will happily pay for an assisted suicide but will not pay for the medical treatment he needs. For the second time in just over the last month, a patient has said the state health insurance plan has promoted death over medical care.

Randy Stroup is a 53-year-old Dexter, Oregon resident who faces a troubling bout of prostate cancer.

As an uninsured resident with a need for expensive chemotherapy he applied to the Oregon health insurance plan for help.

Lane Individual Practice Association administers the Oregon Health Plan in Stroup’s county and they responded to his request with a letter saying the state would not cover the treatment but would pay for an assisted suicide.
"It dropped my chin to the floor," Stroup told FOX News. "[How could they] not pay for medication that would help my life, and yet offer to pay to end my life?"

The letter has been sent to other terminal patients in the state and it follows state legislative guidelines saying the state will not cover life-prolonging treatment unless there is a better than five percent chance the patient will live for five or more years.

Dr. John Sattenspiel, LIPA’s senior medical director, defended the practice of promoting assisted suicide in comments to Fox News.

"I have had patients who would consider knowing that this is part of that range of comfort care or palliative care services that are still available to them, they would be comforted by that," Sattenspiel said. "It really depends on the individual patient."

But Dr. William Toffler, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, disagrees.

"It’s chilling when you think about it," he told Fox News. It absolutely conveys to the patient that continued living isn’t worthwhile. It corrupts the consistent medical ethic that has been in place for 2,000 years."

California-based attorney and author Wesley J. Smith agrees that the Oregon system is hypocritical.

"And now the oozing compassion of assisted suicide is revealed to all. And the same agenda is at the root of Futile Care Theory. When life gets tough, it is time for the ill to get going onto whatever comes next," he explained.


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