By Julie Farrar
As a New Yorker living with a disability, I have significant concerns regarding the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.
It is naïve to think that private health insurance companies and a struggling public health system will not take profit margin or taxpayer expense into consideration when approving expensive treatment options versus a one-time prescription costing far less. In the end, this will not be a private matter between patient and physician, this will be an experiment in cost-effectiveness, regulated by the for-profit health insurance industry and the government.
Our medical system has a history of institutional bias regarding disability and quality of life. The top reasons for seeking PAS are loss of “dignity,” loss of “control,” and not wanting to be a burden, reflecting a perception of quality of life that assumes a person who needs assistance is a burden.
Relying on personal assistance for bathing, dressing, toileting and other tasks is a way of life for many people living with disabilities, including seniors. There is no burden involved, in fact accessing these long-term care services allows us to live in our communities with dignity and autonomy. Those who needs support should be able to access them without becoming impoverished or giving up the right to remain in their own homes.
As a society, we must work to remove barriers to care, including adequate pain relief, access to in-home and community-based long-term care services, and easily accessible palliative and hospice care. We cannot condone a medically sanctioned lethal and irreversible legal “choice,” when we don’t have the political or legislative will to fix an already broken end-of-life health-care system.
Source: “In Your Opinion: Profit May Trump Life If Assisted Suicide Approved”, TheDailyStar.com