Last week The Washington Times posted an article about Stephanie Packer, a California woman suffering from a terminal form of scleroderma (a cancer).
The article reports:
Stephanie Packer, a wife and mother of four who was diagnosed with a terminal form of scleroderma, said her insurance company initially indicated it would pay for her to switch to a different chemotherapy drug at the recommendation of her doctors.
“For a while, five months or so, we’ve been trying to get me on a different chemotherapy drug for the infusions, because my doctor felt that it would be less toxic than some of the other drugs that we were going to be using,” Ms. Packer said in a video distributed by The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network on Monday.
“And I was going back and forth, and finally I had heard back from them, and they said, ‘Yes, we’re going to get it covered, we just have to fix a couple of things,’” she continued.
But shortly after California’s End of Life Option Act, which authorizes physicians to diagnose a life-ending dose of medication to patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live, went into effect, Ms. Packer’s insurance company had a change of heart.
“And when the law was passed, it was a week later I received a letter in the mail saying they were going to deny coverage for the chemotherapy that we were asking for,” Ms. Packer said.
The article goes on to explain that when Ms. Packer called the insurance company to ask about their decision, she asked if they would cover suicide pills. The representative explained that suicide pills would be covered under her plan.
The article further reports:
Her story comes as the D.C. Council considers permitting physician-assisted suicide. Modeled on Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, the District’s legislation would allow terminally ill patients to self-administer life-ending drugs at home.
The “Death With Dignity Act” will go before the D.C. Council for a final vote on Nov. 1.
After the right-to-die movement began garnering national attention, Ms. Packer said she noticed a change in tone at her support groups for terminally ill patients. While the meetings were formerly positive and encouraging, she said the specter of suicide now hangs above them like a dark cloud.
“And people, once they became depressed, it became negative, and it started consuming people,” she said in the video. “And then they said, ‘You know what? I wish I could just end it.’”
It is cheaper to kill someone than to treat their disease, so how do you make it acceptable? Simple, you paint the murder with nice words–it is compassionate to kill someone who is suffering, it is compassionate to save the family and the healthcare provider the cost of treatment, it is compassionate to protect the family from seeing their loved one suffer. No matter how you phrase it, you have decided to murder someone for the sake of convenience. We have reached the point where murder is only against the law when it does not apply to the unborn and the sick. We will soon reach the point where murder is only against the law when it does not apply to the elderly. Then it will be murder is not against the law when it applies to the handicapped. You get the picture.
I would like to say that a patient always has the option of refusing treatment if they chose not to go through the rigors of chemotherapy; however, that is different than taking suicide pills and ending your life. As people, we are not in charge of life and death–that is seriously above our pay grade. It is a mistake to think that insurance companies or the government have the right to determine who lives and who dies.