Despite not hearing about it often, assisted suicide is a major issue in the U.S. right now. In more than 20 states this year alone lawmakers have introduced bills to legalize assisted suicide, and almost every single one of them has been struck down — with bi-partisan support. A recent bi-partisan Sense of Congress bill introduced in Washington, D.C., has opened up the discussion at a national level, and paved the way for upcoming bills and debates in 2018. If 2017 was a busy year for assisted suicide legislation, 2018 will be even more so.
Though assisted suicide is promoted as freedom of choice, the economic forces that drive insurance companies, and subsequently patients’ coverage options, greatly restrict self-determination for already vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities. There is evidence that economic considerations limit choice when it comes to health insurance coverage. And the deadly combination of assisted suicide and our profit-driven health care system does in fact steer some patients toward lethal drugs, the cheapest form of “treatment.”