A doctor has spoken out after two separate insurance companies refused to pay for life-saving treatments for his patients but did offer to pay to end their lives.
Dr Brian Callister, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Nevada, shared how companies in neighbouring California and Oregon refused to help transfer and treat two of his patients who could not receive the necessary care in his hospital.
Assisted suicide is legal in both California and Oregon.
Dr Callister told The Washington Times, “in both cases, the insurance medical director said to me, ‘Brian, we’re not going to cover that procedure or the transfer, but would you consider assisted suicide?’”
He said the phone calls took place last year within the space of a month.
He also added that he had said nothing to prompt the suggestion.
The patients were not terminally ill but “would have become terminal without the procedures”.
“It was estimated that their chance for cure — cure, not just adding time — of about 50 per cent in one case and 70 per cent in the other case.”
Dr Callister went on to say: “As much as most insurance companies try to come across as your best friend, they want to do whatever the least costly thing is.
“It’s a lot cheaper to grab a couple of drugs to kill you, than it is to provide you with life-saving surgery.”
‘Gift from God’
Last month, a Bill to legalise assisted suicide was rejected in the state of Maine. The State House of Representatives voted 85-61 against the LD 347 Bill.
Speaking out against the Bill, Representative Roger Reed said: “Life is a gift from God regardless of its circumstances.”
Assisted suicide remains illegal in the UK.
Under the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a person who intentionally encourages or assists the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, commits an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
A Bill to legalise assisted suicide was resoundingly defeated in the House of Commons in 2015 by 330 votes to 118.