Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Federal Palliative Care Euthanasia Bill Moving

By Margaret Dore, Esq.

On January 17, 2019, the "Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act" was introduced in the 116th Congress as H.R. 647 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. No text was provided.

The Congressional website has since been updated with the posting of a complete bill, which is identical, or nearly identical, to last session's H.R. 1676, as amended. (The companion bill was S. 693).

If enacted, H.R. 647 will undermine the Office of the Inspector General's (OIG's) mission to combat Medicare and Medicaid fraud concerning the federal hospice benefit. See for example, this link concerning last session's bills  

H.R. 647 will likely also legalize euthanasia as that term is traditionally defined. I say this due to an active campaign currently being being run by euthanasia advocates to redefine "medical aid in dying" (euthanasia) as "palliative care. Consider also Delaware's current bill seeking to legalize euthanasia, which refers to "medical aid in dying" as an "additional palliative care option."[1]

The significance is this: If H.R. 647 is passed into law and the above promotion efforts are successful, medical aid in dying (euthanasia) will become part of palliative care and therefore part of the proposed "palliative care "Act. More to the point, the Act will legalize euthanasia in government funded centers throughout the US. 

I urge you contact your members of Congress and the US Senate to vote "No" on H.R. 647

[1] The Delaware bill states:
WHEREAS, the integration of medical aid in dying [euthanasia] into the standard for end-of-life care has improved quality of services by providing an additional palliative care option to terminally ill individuals.