Wednesday, 9 August 2017
‘It doesn’t pay enough’: Doctors want more money for killing people in Canada
Canadian euthanasia doctors are lobbying to be paid more money to kill their patients.
Complaints from doctors that euthanasia doesn’t pay enough have been in the media lately, with the Toronto Globe and Mail publishing an article July 4 entitled “Canadian doctors turn away from assisted dying over fees,” and MacLean’s Magazine followed up with: “Should doctors be paid a premium for assisting deaths?” on July 10.
“It’s the euthanasia lobby getting their people in the media to print articles saying that one of the problems to access to ‘MAID’ [Medical Assistance in Dying] is the fact that it doesn’t pay enough,” says Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
“Now they’re pressuring to have it pay more.”
Dr. Tanja Daws is featured in both articles, with the Globe reporting she’s a family doctor from Courtenay, British Columbia, who has reportedly killed 23 people, and MacLean’s reporting she did so for free in the first six months after Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government legalized euthanasia in June 2016.
Daws and others euthanasia doctors were expecting reimbursement when the BC government finalized its fee schedule for euthanizing people, which it did in late June.
But euthanasia doctors and advocates are saying the fees are too low.
Jesse Pewarchuk, a Vancouver Island doctor who has reportedly killed 20 people, quit doing so because it doesn’t pay enough, the Globe reported.
As for Daws, “It struck me that I can’t keep doing this,” she told MacLean’s. “It’s not for lack of wanting, but it’s financial suicide.”
In fact, Daws is one of four euthanasia doctors bailed out by the Toronto-based Right to Die Society to the tune of $11,207.82, according to the Globe.
An ardent supporter of euthanasia, Daws is a member of the Canadian Association of MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) Assessors and Providers (CAMAP), an association of Canada’s euthanasia doctors that formed in May.
CAMAP held its first convention in June in Victoria on Vancouver Island, which, according to the Globe, has one of Canada’s highest euthanasia rates.
And it released a joint statement with Dying with Dignity on July 4, the day after the Globe article appeared, calling on the BC government to pay euthanasia doctors more.
BC pays up to $240 for the first assessment visit for euthanasia ($40 for 15 minutes up to 90 minutes) and a maximum of $200 for the second visit, which is capped at 75 minutes, the Globe reported.
The BC government pays a doctor $313.15 for killing the patient, which includes a base fee of $200 and $113.15 for a home visit.
By contrast, euthanasia doctors can bill a maximum of “$621.60 in Alberta, $600 in New Brunswick, $499.80 in Quebec, $480 in Manitoba and $465.60 in Saskatchewan,” reported the Globe.
Nova Scotia caps its payout at $292.20 to doctors for each patient they kill. Newfoundland and Ontario do not yet have an official fee schedule, according to MacLean’s.
The Ontario ministry of health and long-term care is in the midst of consultations with the OMA to set fees, reported the CBC.
“It’s no secret that fee codes influence the kind of care patients receive.” wrote MacLean’s Catherine McIntyre.
A 2015 University of Toronto study showed that “financial incentives changed doctors attitudes around cesarean sections.”
And in the Netherlands, doctors receive about $2,200 for each person they euthanize, wrote McIntyre. Doctors also get a day off with pay to cope with the emotional toll that comes with killing someone.
Moreover, with the government saving on healthcare costs by killing people, it should have funds available to pay doctors more to do it, argue euthanasia advocates.
As McIntyre noted, the Canadian Medical Association has calculated that Canada could save “at least $34.7 million and up to $138.8 million a year” by killing patients.
But paying doctors low fees to kill their patients is a “barrier to access” to euthanasia, Shanaaz Gokool, CEO of Dying with Dignity, told MacLean’s.
“[N]ow that [policy-makers] know, it’s their responsibility to make changes ASAP. If they don’t, then they are intentionally obstructing access with that decisions,” she added.
But as Wesley Smith, well-known American euthanasia opponent pointed out in the National Review. “Let’s be clear: ‘This work,’ is lethally injecting sick people.
“We live in very dark times.”