Belgium: Insurance boss backs euthanasia for elderly to save money

Allowing elderly people to die by lethal injection will save the Belgian Government money, the boss of an insurance firm has suggested.

Luc Van Gorp, President of CM health fund, claimed that extending the country’s euthanasia laws to include elderly people “tired of life” would avert a social funding crisis.

In Belgium, reported euthanasia cases have more than doubled in ten years, from 1,432 in 2012 to 2,966 in 2022.


Van Gorp told the Flemish newspaper Nieuwsblad: “We have to remove the stigma between life and death.”

The political debate, he claimed, needed to shift from “quantity of life” to “quality of life”, especially in light of a growing elderly population.

He asked: “How are we going to prepare for that? Not by building mass residential care centres if they won’t contribute to quality of life. If we are not going to be able to sustain the mass of people who need care, how are we going to engage in a talk with them?”

But he argued: “Even if there is no unbearable suffering or poor quality of life, people who are tired of life should have the freedom to end their lives.”


Lawyer and media commentator Rik Torfs responded: “The proposal is a ‘solution’ for the costs of aging. Yet it remains a terrible thought, all those ‘unnecessary’ people that no one will miss.”

Flemish Christian Democrats Leader Sammy Mahdi observed: “when someone is tired of life and feels like being a burden or is not getting any more visitors, aren’t we then simply failing as a society?”

He added: “So many elderly people say they feel like a ‘burden’ because they do not fit into the neoliberal model. The answer to that is not euthanasia for those who are tired of life. The answer is respect for our grandparents.”

No longer a last resort

In the Netherlands, a 28-year-old Dutch woman with mental health problems but no physical illness has been approved by medics for euthanasia.

Zoraya ter Beek, who has depression, autism and borderline personality disorder has planned to die by lethal injection in May after being told by a psychiatrist that “there’s nothing more we can do for you”.

Medical ethicist Professor Stef Groenewoud told the news outlet: “I’m seeing euthanasia as some sort of acceptable option brought to the table by physicians, by psychiatrists, when previously it was the ultimate last resort.”

The number of reported cases of euthanasia has increased dramatically since Dutch law was liberalised – from 1,882 in 2002 to 8,720 in 2022.

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