Euthanasia offers cost savings to governments, insurance companies

By Glen Argan

A grim irony exists in U.S. President Donald Trump’s cancellation of federal funding for pro-abortion organizations the same week that a Canadian study was published showing the low cost of euthanasia versus that entailed in the aggressive treatment of terminal diseases.

Trump, we have good reason to believe, is a megalomaniac who represents a threat to all forms of truth and justice, to say nothing of the survival of humanity itself. Yet, here he is taking action to save the lives of the most defenceless of all humans – those who live in the womb.

Canada, meanwhile, is the peaceable kingdom, the place where multiculturalism thrives and respect for all people is enshrined, not only in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but in the very hearts of the populace. Of course, those who know something of the history of the First Nations in Canada might have pause over such a caricature or even reject it outright.

Still, we are puffed up over our Canadian moral superiority at the moment and oblivious to the reality that if fascism has a toehold in the United States, it also is not out of the picture in our homeland.

“Fascism” is a powerful word, not one that should be thrown about with abandon lest its overuse prevent us from recognizing it when it does arrive.

The late Canadian political philosopher George Grant once wrote that the core of fascism is “a belief in the triumph of the will. . . . ‘Will’ comes to mean in modernity that power over ourselves and everything else which is itself the very enhancement of life, or, call it if you will, ‘quality of life.’ Truth, beauty and goodness have become simply subservient to it.”

The triumph of the will can be seen in the ever-present word “choice,” which has become the ultimate legitimizer for both abortion and euthanasia. It is as if one need say no more, that the mantra “choice” is such a charged word in the dominant secular religion that merely invoking it turns sadness into joy.

However, as Grant noted, the will now trumps goodness, sending morality out to sea in a leaky boat with no provisions.

[The story of a California woman whose insurance company would not pay for chemotherapy, but said it would pay her to die:]

[Here’s another about a Quebec bishop who fears euthanasia will soon be seen as a moral duty:]

The authors of the euthanasia funding study went to great lengths to point out that they were not recommending people be killed in order to save money. They hardly need to make such a recommendation; anyone who can breathe and think understands that it is cheaper to kill dying people than to look after them.

Tellingly, however, their study did not compute the cost of palliative care, a much less costly alternative than aggressive treatment. It simply put a price tag on the costs of the most extreme alternatives.

Physicians – most of whom chose their vocations in order to save lives and bring healing – should not have to make life-and-death decisions for economic reasons. Governments may not want to force the economic issue either. But facing constant pressure to lower taxes, they may well cut health-care funding and leave the deadly decisions about how to use resources to health care institutions.

It is a tidy solution. No one will be responsible for deciding to replace active treatment with a death-dealing needle; all the complicity will be at arms length.

Grant notes the dictum of the Louisiana populist reformer Huey Long who stated, “When fascism comes to America, it will come in the name of democracy.”

Are Canada and the United States becoming fascist nations when they replace truth and goodness with the glorification of the autonomy of the will? It’s not an easy question to answer definitively, but it is nevertheless one that we do well to ask.


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