Dear Medicaid: Here’s how to help patients even if the state doesn’t recognize your wishes

For Terminal Patients, the Barrier to Aid in Dying Can Be a State Line 1. EDUCATION

Parents often want to know that state lines do not stop them from seeking help for a terminally ill child or relative. In late 2016, Washington state’s legislature passed House Bill 1236, a law that “will help family members of terminal patients make the case to state authorities that they are capable of determining a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan for their loved one.” But such an action, like most others, goes far beyond a simple intercession.

As the language of House Bill 1236 notes, “this section shall not apply to the deliberate withholding or withdrawal of medical care from a terminally ill patient,” which, even if accurate, makes a whole lot of sense. A person should not be deprived of life-sustaining treatment simply because the physician believes she should suffer pain more tolerable, and not all states recognize that there are legally viable and reputable alternatives.

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