California should not abandon ‘guarantees’ in end-of-life options law – Orange County Register
Assisted suicide is already legal in California through the so-called End of Life Option Act, narrowly passed by the California legislature and signed by the government of the day. Jerry Brown in 2015. The bill received opposition from members of the Democratic and Republican Assembly and state senators, but was passed, many feel inappropriate, in a special legislative session focused on Medi-Cal financing.
Despite the bill’s limited passage, just a few years after the new law began, supporters of the bill want to remove the very “safeguards” they used as arguments for its passage. The new bill, Senator Susan Eggman’s Senate 380, will remove the scheduled 2025 review process that doctors, patient advocates and lawmakers have authorized for a review of California’s experience with the law controversial. This new bill will also eliminate the 15-day safety period for receiving deadly prescription drugs.
During the 2015 debate on the legalization of assisted suicide and the End of Life Options Act, former Senator Bill Monning (and author of the bill) noted in the Healthline publication that “the co-authors and co-sponsors of this project law … have endeavored to incorporate protections into this [measure] which are stronger than all the states where it has been practiced. Monning’s statement was far from the truth because the narrowness and limited data required by his bill on how assisted suicide was to be implemented, as well as how and where it was to be protected. of patients, constitute a large part of many of these problems today.
The Death with Dignity Center, supporters of the End of Life Option Act, contradicts this new effort to remove “guarantees” with this memo on their current website. … The patient must make two oral requests, at least 15 days apart. “
But in this new bill, these promoters want to eliminate the very “safeguard” they support.
This rush to erode the “guarantees” of assisted suicide included in the 2015 End-of-Life Options Act is not only reckless public policy, but there is simply no data or science to support the removal. of these “guarantees” so soon.
The annual End of Life Option Act reports required by the state of California do not contain any data regarding complications, reasons for the demand for lethal drugs and, for the limited data provided, much of it is listed as “unknown.” “. Over the past year, we have become all too aware of the importance of medical and scientific data in making informed public policy decisions; especially decisions involving life or death.
California’s latest annual report on the End of Life Option Act released in July 2020, reported that 10% of those requesting the lethal drugs had “unknown” insurance coverage, and it was “unknown” if 7 % had previously received information about palliative care or palliative care options.
In an interview with The New York Times in March 2021 with Dr. Diane E. Wright, longtime director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mount Sinai Hospital, said: “All sincere support for the restrictions advertised when you make the public vote for the first time in favor of this part in smoke once the practice has been validated.
Annual reports on measures relating to end-of-life options do not actually provide enough data to determine whether these restrictions or, as proponents called them “safeguards”, are being followed. And now, with the elimination of the “safeguards” from SB 380, those “safeguards” they touted were simply a ruse to get the original law passed.
Given the controversial history of the End-of-Life Options Act as well as the shattered patient health care infrastructure pushed to the limit by last year’s pandemic, it is neither wise nor appropriate to remove these so-called “backups”. The bill is expected to be reassessed in 2025 under the current law.
Additionally, any effort to expand this assisted suicide policy and the End-of-Life Options Act also comes amid the debate over systemic disparity and inequality in health care within ethnic, minority and ethnic communities. disabilities on access to palliative care, palliative care and other types of care. care for serious and terminal illnesses.
Now is just not the time to eliminate the few protections for patients that the sponsors themselves have included in the End-of-Life Option Act – the lack of guarantees will hurt patients more than good.
Matt Valliere is the Managing Director of the Patients Rights Action Fund, a national, non-partisan organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, the elderly and those with serious illnesses. Matt is an experienced caregiver of people with life-threatening disabilities.