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Thursday, November 19, 2009


Rationing Issues with the Reid Senate Bill:
With the various concerns related to rationing and euthanasia, we will post a series of concerns - the following analysis being one among several.

Assisted Suicide?

On assisted suicide, the language agreed to unanimously by the Senate Finance Committee that specifically said that federal dollars “shall not pay for or reimburse” any health entity for assisted suicide does NOT appear in the Reid bill. The Reid bill only retains the provision preventing discrimination against those who refuse to participate in assisting suicide.[1]

Why was the prohibition on funding assisted suicide stripped? The argument may be it is “unnecessary” because the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 (ASFRA) bars such funding by any “funds appropriated by Congress for the purpose of paying (directly or indirectly) for the provision of health care services ,”[42 U.S.C. Sec. 14402(a)] and it states, “The provisions of this Act supersede other Federal laws (including laws enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act [enacted April 30, 1997]) except to the extent such laws specifically supersede the provisions of this Act.” [2]

However, the provision was adopted unanimously in the Finance committee, emphatically affirming federal policy of no funding for assisted suicide, and removes any danger that some administrator or court might say the broad benefit mandates in the health care bill repealed the ASFRA limits by implication. What possible purpose was served by stripping it out?

[1]Section 1553, p. 364.

[2] 42 U.S.C. Sec. 14408.

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