“The Facts Remain” Series: PAS and Healthcare Discrimination

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In our new blog series “The Facts Remain” we will explore the fundamental flaws in the Maryland physician-assisted suicide legislation and similar bills across the country.  The first installment covers healthcare discrimination.

One of the most insidious dangers in legalizing physician-assisted suicide is how it consummates the acceptance of deeply flawed end-of-life care in Maryland and across the country.  We simply do not do an honorable job for a huge swath of the population in providing them quality healthcare options in the face of terminal illness.

This harsh reality provides one of the starkest examples of how deep the damage can penetrate if we legalize assisted suicide: there is significant evidence of a disproportionate impact on those who already struggle with healthcare, and that manifests itself in end-of-life care as well.

We’ve said it before: as we can clearly and unequivocally confirm, the flaws in our healthcare system are not uniform in their impact.  The harm of bad healthcare options, and the negative impact on overall health, disproportionately hits African Americans as shown by this 2013 CDC report. 

We cannot ignore this fact in a debate that is fundamentally based in the development of healthcare policy.  If our concern that assisted suicide would cast patients aside is not grave enough, we sincerely hope that people recognize that the racial disparities in healthcare would stretch into the decision to stop providing meaningful end-of-life care altogether.

Those who are financially unstable will potentially see this impact as well.  Last year, The Daily Signal published a powerful piece titled “How California’s New Assisted Suicide Law Could Especially Hurt the Poor”.  We need to show people that this could have a dangerous snowball effect in terms of how the healthcare industry views end-of-life care.

Until we stop ignoring the systemic problems with American health care, this kind of convenient fix will be irresponsibly pushed.  The failures of our society in social and economic justice would be consecrated by accepting defeat in end-of-life care.  Make no mistake: not everyone bears an equal burden for our health care system’s flaws.

We could be entering a world in which pushing away those with the greatest need becomes the prevailing option in medicine.  Please share this information, because it represents one of the biggest tragedies to come from this assisted suicide push.

As physician-assisted suicide will certainly be pushed into the public debate again, we want everyone to know that the facts remain the same.

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