Canada’s Euthanasia Culture Provides a Preview of What Americans Could Face
More than a dozen years ago, as Democrats began the process that led to Obamacare, Barack Obama noted that “the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out there.” He then called for doctors and ethicists to participate in “a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place” about all of this spending on vulnerable patients at the end of their lives.
Canada shows the end results of the type of “conversation” Obama sought. A recent lengthy Associated Press story demonstrates how Canada has normalized euthanasia and a culture of death, in some cases as a way for the health system to save on expensive medical care.
The country’s single-payer health system has destroyed the ethical boundaries that should require doctors to work their utmost to save patients’ lives, and instead now sees physicians broaching “death with dignity” as a way for the health care system to save a buck.
Obama’s ‘Difficult Conversations’ Come to Life
The AP obtained a recording from one patient with a degenerative brain condition, who recorded hospital personnel talking to him about his care. The recording shows the hospital’s director of ethics telling the patient his care could cost “north of $1,500 per day.” When the patient asked about the plan for his long-term care, the physician-ethicist replied, “My piece of this was to talk to you, [to see] if you had an interest in assisted dying.”
For a supposed “ethicist” to mention the fees needed to care for a vulnerable patient—and then, when the patient said he felt pressured by the discussion, to go further by broaching the topic of euthanasia—violates every principle of ethics, in the medical profession and otherwise.
The AP investigation makes clear this story does not present an aberration. For instance, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation previously reported on an incident in which a doctor mentioned euthanasia to the parent of a 25-year-old woman with spina bifida—within earshot of the young woman. When the mother complained about the doctor’s “suggestion,” the physician called the mother selfish.
Coming to the United States?
As most health policy-makers know, but few Americans outside Washington understand, Medicare faces severe financial pressures in the coming decades, as the Baby Boomers continue to retire. The program’s rapidly spiraling costs represent one of the main reasons the Congressional Budget Office and others are projecting federal deficits and debt to skyrocket in the years ahead.
Yet Democrats have demonstrated no particular desire to take action to stem Medicare’s shortfalls. On the contrary, in fact.
Democrats recently raided Medicare by nearly $300 billion to fund their Build Back Bankrupt system of Obamacare subsidies for the wealthy and green energy pork projects. And Joe Biden cheated on his taxes in a way that he avoided nearly $400,000 in payroll taxes that fund the Medicare program.
By contrast, Democrats have shown enthusiasm for enacting a single-payer system of socialized medicine. Biden’s vice president has endorsed it; his Health and Human Services secretary has endorsed it; and a majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives—including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., one of the potential successors to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.—have endorsed it.
So it’s worth asking: If Democrats don’t have a plan to fix Medicare—and they don’t—and they do support socialized medicine systems like those in Canada, do they also support the Canadian efforts that try to pressure people into taking their own lives to save money? Because, on our current fiscal and policy trajectory, we could end up there sooner than some might think, even if Democrats dare not say so publicly—at least not yet.
This post was originally published at The Federalist.