The editor of the Addison Independent has confirmed to one of our sources that Stephen Kimbell, the man who will administer the implementation of the health care reform plan recently adopted by the VT legislature , really did make the statement we wrote a couple of weeks ago that we simply could not believe he would speak aloud. After years of successfully hiding the cost-cutting agenda that is partially behind the move to legalize assisted suicide, he let it slip in an interview published online July 18, 2011 at http://www.addisonindependent.com/201107editorial-political-pragmatism-key-vts-health-care-reform. The editor says Kimbell told him that legalizing assisted suicide would be helpful in cutting health care costs in Vermont. As far as we know, Kimbell himself has not confirmed or denied his statement. Not for the first time, we invite him to do so, quickly.
In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, cost cutting by a state health plan severely impacted the freedom of choice of at least two people. Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup wanted to treat their cancers, but Oregon’s Medicaid program denied their requests for coverage for life-prolonging medication recommended by their doctors. The letters of denial, however, offered coverage for assisted suicide (http://www.pccef.org/articles/art67.htm). As the pro-assisted suicide blogger Ira Rosovsky wrote on May 22, 2011: “Suicide is the ultimate medical utilization cost saver (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/adventures-in-old-age/201105/assisted-suicide-in-the-united-states-go-west-old-man).
We wonder if our Vermont legislators know about Kimbell’s statement. Perhaps it is time to email our legislators making sure they do know and letting them know as well that cost pressures plus legal assisted suicide produce a very dangerous combination that threatens death with true dignity and destroys patient choices at the end of life. The emails of our representatives and senators can be found at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/legdirmain.cfm.