The Corner

Canada Illustrates Euthanasia Money Incentive

Euthanasia/assisted suicide opponents have warned for years that medicalized killing would eventually become seen as a way of saving medical resources. After all, many of those receiving lethal jabs or prescriptions are often the same people who require costly care.

Heck, not just opponents. The more candid advocates for euthanasia–such as Hemlock founder Derek Humphry–have admitted that cost control is the ”unstated argument” in favor of legalization. When the wolf howls, the wise lock their doors.

Now a study in Canada confirms the financial impetus in favor of death. From the National Post story:

Doctor-assisted suicide could save Canada tens of millions of dollars annually by avoiding costly “end-of-life” care, according to a provocative new analysis.

The savings — up to $139 million annually — will almost certainly dwarf the costs associated with helping dying patients kill themselves, University of Calgary researchers report.

The authors go to pains to state they aren’t suggesting people be voluntarily euthanized to save money. “Neither patients nor physicians should consider costs when making the very personal decision to request, or provide, this intervention,” they write in this week’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

However, their attempt to cost out the controversial practice is an issue many have avoided touching.

Euthanasia in Canada is NOT limited to the terminally ill, but also includes people with disabilities and serious chronic diseases–if death is “foreseeable”–a weak constraint under litigation as being unduly restrictive.

There are also serious proposals to include Alzheimer’s and mentally ill patients under the euthanasia license.

So, as high as the $139 million figure seems, it is probably dramatically under-estimated.

As the USA considers our own legalization efforts, this worry about normalizing suicide for the terminally ill (at first) should be front and center in the debate.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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