Colorado’s Assisted-Suicide Bill: Death with Dignity or Something Else?

colorado suicide bill off a cliff

Correction: Post originally referred to HB15-1035, the “Death with Dignity” bill is actually HB15-1135.

On Friday February 6, 2015, the State of Colorado will debate within the House Committee on Public Health Care and Human Services the merits of state approved suicide. HB15-1035 HB15-1135 is titled, “Death with Dignity”, but is it really is a phrase to hide a darker reality.

Legislators will hear testimony solicited by the proponents of state sanctioned suicide, heart wrenching stories of loved ones who suffered horribly until death eased their pain. The bill’s proponents will argue for Colorado to be compassionate in allowing a terminally ill person to end their life so their suffering, along with the burden on families left to care for the their family member, may be eased by the state providing the means of death.

On the other side, we will hear equally heart wrenching testimony, but at the same time inspiring  stories of loved ones who have suffered and endured unimaginable pain, but who have also received the miracle of either recovery or  revelations at the very end which changed their lives and the lives of those left behind forever.

Many will argue it is an individual choice to take their own lives.  Others will show our lives are not our own to take.

On Friday, members of the committee will take the first steps in deciding whether or not it is the function of Colorado government to provide a path to death. If they agree that the government’s role is sanctioning a means to suicide, they will likely make those decisions without hearing the truth of what is really behind this effort:  money and the new paradigm shift in American healthcare from quality of care to that of cutting the cost of care.

Is this bill a concerted, multi-state effort?

If this really is just a “Colorado” effort brought forward by our legislators at the behest of Colorado families (as we are a compassionate people), then how is it that just two weeks ago nine Democrat members of the Iowa legislature introduced an identical bill HF 65?  Other than the formatting differences between the two states’ legislatures, Iowa’s HF65 is a bill legalizing Physician-assisted Suicide with wording identical to Colorado HB15-1035.  It is pure “cut and paste”.

All across the country we see the same bills advocating for exactly the same thing. How can different states have exactly the same language in state bills and laws on an issue supposedly based on individual states versions of “compassion”?  The reality is darker, and if we are willing to be honest, compassion has little to do with it.

The designers of government health care must incorporate state-assisted suicide to keep costs manageable.

In 2010, soon after the now proven less-than-Affordable Care Act was forced upon America, Dr. Elizabeth Wickham, Ph.D. wrote in “Repackaging Death as Life-The Third Path To Imposed Death”:

We are at a critical juncture in health care as funding moves from private to public sources. For “third path” proponents, end-of-life care has always included making ends meet within a nationalized health care system. It would appear that this new version of palliative care may be emerging as the “glue” that holds our reformed health care together.”

Upon what basis is Wickham drawing this critical junction between healthcare and state-approved suicide?  She continues:

Prior to the passage of the national health care legislation, the unanswered question for the “third path” people had been, “If we build a field of palliative care, will anyone come?” How to convince the American public to accept the curtailment of services? Listen carefully now as they use the marketing technique of selling value. But it will be value based on quality, and quality measured in cost containment.

When Obamacare passed and changed the meaning of healthcare in America forever, Dr. Wickham named the “leaders” in the government’s drive to contain cost in government controlled healthcare.  One of them was Don Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), who was famous for saying that we will go into “rationing with our eyes open.”

Prior to being tapped to head CMS, Berwick was the president and CEO of the International Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Dr. Wickham explains the goals of IHI:

“IHI focused on end-of-life care from the start. It specializes in bringing together health care organizations to produce guidelines. Their Collaborative on End-of-Life Care which set forth three objectives:

1) Institute advance care planning discussions within 24 hours of hospital admission and document the plan in a patient’s chart.

2) Reduce the number of transfers to the hospital in the last 2 weeks of life and reduce emergency room utilization.

3) Begin bereavement assistance and support for the family and friends before a patient’s death.

Mr. Berwick was also co-chair of the National Priorities Partnership. Its mission? To identify palliative care and end-of-life care as one of the top five priorities for “improvement” in nationalized healthcare.

Mr. Berwick tapped Joanne Lynn head his IHI End of Life Care effort. Lynn stated in 2008:

“We need to build a social consensus drawing on a new paradigm that tailors care to the new reality of dying—which is after a long, chronic illness. Not only is it the right thing to do, it makes good business sense.

Where will this go if Colorado consents to state sponsored killing of “terminally ill” adults?

Look no further than Belgium which now, in the name of “compassion,” allows doctors to euthanize ill children. This is not a slippery slope; it is off a cliff.  Like Iowa’s bill, and like other bills and laws providing for state approved suicide around the country, insurance companies are forced to pay life insurance payouts to surviving beneficiaries.

Fair, some will argue, as the death of the individual is likely;  however, it is not for certain. Miracles occur. Who will say with certainty that people will not be pressured to see their life end before they are ready, by a system which offers a way to end the burden on their family? Families will now be provided for financially.

Berwick was a key player during Obamacare’s implementation.  Notice his stated #1 goal, from above:  “Institute advance care planning discussions within 24 hours of hospital admission and document the plan in a patient’s chart”. 

Remember the outrage as the Veterans Administration instituted mandatory end of life counseling in 2010, and then the horror as hundreds of American died while the VA withheld care through secret “waiting lists.”  Money saved.

Don’t be fooled by the compassion ploy.  State-assisted suicide is about money.  

In reality, it is the cost of treating the terminally or long term care patients which is really driving this effort, not compassion and not the dignity of the patient.  It is about “good business sense.”

Colorado legislators will hear many heart wrenching stories on Friday, but they will likely hear very little about the darker side of this pathway to state-approved death.


Don Rodgers has been an influential political activist and leader in Colorado for 8 years.   He is the founder, leader, and organizer of the local 9-12 Project Pikes Peak Patriots, and a military veteran.  Find Don on Twitter and Facebook

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