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Euthanasia is supported by nearly 70% of the American population, but those who are asked to take a stance have not considered the issues that will follow after. Legalizing euthanasia will affect the values that society has over time and is unable to provide safeguards. It has been legalized in several states including Washington DC, California, Colorado, Oregon, but are each facing major issues in their health care due to the use of euthanasia. Modern medicine has developed immensely over the last few decades, but, by legalizing euthanasia these advances are set back and will lessen today’s medical doctors treatment to a cheaper alternative: suicide. There practically is no difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide which disregards the argument that euthanasia is ethical because it is not assisted suicide (CNA).
By definition, “euthanasia is the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit.” The most important word in this sentence is “intentional”. If the death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia. However, when comparing the definition of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the only difference is that euthanasia is when someone else takes another person’s life while during assisted suicide “Someone provides them with the information and guidance with the intention that they will be used for this purpose.” Along with this, there is a specific kind of euthanasia known as, “involuntary euthanasia” in which the person is unable to make their own decision due to their age, mental stability, or being comatose. Most will argue that voluntary euthanasia, when the person who is killed has requested to be killed, will not lead to involuntary euthanasia. Unfortunately, legalized euthanasia would most likely progress to the stage where people would be expected to volunteer to be killed. Think about this: in ten years from now, if a doctor told you your mother’s “quality of life” was not worth living for and asked you, as the closest family member, to approve a “quick, painless ending of her life” and you refused how would doctors, nurses and others, conditioned to accept euthanasia as normal and right, treat you and your family.
Another issue many people do not see eye to eye on is the financial issue that would develop if euthanasia was legalized. In the United States, 44 million people do not have health insurance, and 38 million others do not have adequate health insurance. Studies have shown that the impoverished and minorities generally are not given access to available pain control. Along with this managed-care facilities are said to be offering physicians cash bonuses if they don’t provide care for these “pro bono” patients (Cathleen). As shown in the cartoon below, the weak health care system the nation has in place now will become even more deprived once legalizing euthanasia becomes approved. By legalizing euthanasia, there becomes a rise for the potential of a profoundly dangerous situation in which doctors finding themselves financially better off if a terminally ill patient or disabled person “choose” to die rather than receive long-term care. Government saving may also become a consideration if governments cut back on paying for treatment and care by replacing them with the “treatment” of death. This was seen in Oregon when the state legalized euthanasia. Immediately after the passage of Measure 16, Oregon’s law permitting assisted suicide, the state’s Medicaid Director announced that physician-assisted suicide would be paid for as “comfort care” under the Oregon Health Plan which provides medical coverage for about 345,000 impoverished Oregonians (Ballotpedia).
Within eighteen months of Measure 16’s passage, the State of Oregon announced plans to cut back on health care coverage for poor state residents. Over in Canada, hospital stays are being shortened while, at the same time, funds have not been made available for home care for the sick and elderly. Registered nurses are being replaced with less expensive practical nurses. Patients are forced to endure long waits for many types of needed surgery (Cathleen). With a health care system already falling apart, there is no opportunity to attempt trying another “treatment” option that will cause yet another financial crisis.With this said, we as a nation must come together and figure out better ways to fix our crooked system to provide people with better, life-saving care instead of supplying them with the “cheaper” alternative (Odland). Every American deserves the right to affordable, high-quality health care. As shown in a recent study with cancer patients, it found that dying patients experiencing significant pain were more opposed to assisted suicide than the general public (Doerflinger).
Instead of trying to legalize euthanasia, more people should be interested in furthering research on cures for those with deadly diseases or trying to find the perfect balance of pain-killers for a senile patient to make them comfortable. Not only is it more ethical, it is what the majority of people want too. By trying to develop policy remedies to settle our health-care system that provides refundable taxes specifically on health care as well as mandatory plans that workers need to grant to their employers, the recent desire to legalize euthanasia will no longer be necessary. With the advances made throughout recent years and the developing cures being researched every day, the practice of euthanasia has never been a necessary course of action, and never should be. By legalizing euthanasia, many will not be fortunate enough to afford the right course of treatment and will feel obligated to choose suicide over getting better. By fixing health care across the nation, whether through policies or laws, treatment options will become an easier more affordable option.
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