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Euthanasia ‘Elephant In The Room’ - Healthcare Costs


21 March 2017

Euthanasia ‘Elephant In The Room’ - Healthcare Costs

Family First NZ says that the example of a cancer patient being turned away because of her potential healthcare costs is a disturbing development which will only be exacerbated by allowing euthanasia in to our laws. The woman with terminal cancer was told by medical staff the hospital would rather spend its money on people they could actually help.

“One of the disturbing underlying justifications for euthanasia is that euthanasia could result in valuable savings in public healthcare and geriatric services expenditure. A large amount of the public purse is spent on healthcare for the dying, those with dementia and the elderly. Euthanasia is cheap; good palliative care and hospice services expensive. Bureaucrats are always looking for the cheapest ways to spend health care budgets. This is a disturbing development, perhaps unintentional, but a real risk,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This harsh argument from economics is seldom, if ever, heard from advocates for euthanasia, but it is arguably the ‘elephant in the room’ in the debate.”

As stated in a 2013 paper in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, the cold, fiscal reality is that “End of life care is expensive and having citizens opt for an earlier death is associated with substantial government savings”.[1]

Dr Rex Ahdar, the author of Family First’s 2014 report “Killing Me Softly: Should Euthanasia Be Legalised?”, warned that;

..if assisted suicide or euthanasia were permitted, “many might resort to it to spare their families the substantial financial burden of end-of-life healthcare costs”. So wrote the US Supreme Court (Glucksberg at 732)[2]. But this point is just as valid in New Zealand and not just the hyper-expensive American healthcare system. Elderly and ailing patients are all too aware that their increasingly expensive rest home and geriatric care is steadily dissipating the inheritance that awaits their children. Sadly, the more unscrupulous and callous offspring would not be slow in pointing this out either.

“The case highlighted today proves that this risk is a real threat, and yet another reason to kill any euthanasia bill.”


[1] Mishara, Brian L and David N Weistubb (2013) “Premises and evidence in the rhetoric of assisted suicide and euthanasia”International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 26: 427-435

[2] Washington vs. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702

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