ASSISTED SUICIDE: Feds Say Oregon Violated Funding Ban
HCFA says Oregon has "mistakenly spent $1,167 in federal money on assisted suicide, not just $60 as the state first reported," the AP/Portland Oregonian reports. HCFA has been monitoring the way Oregon administers its Death with Dignity Act to ensure it does not violate a congressional ban on using federal funds for assisted suicide. In March, the state returned $60 in federal money that officials found had helped to fund two suicides. But last Friday, HCFA "told a congressional committee that Oregon apparently violated the ban by spending $2,334 in Medicaid money to administer the Death with Dignity Act." Federal officials directed the state to refund $1,167 -- the portion paid by the federal government. HCFA Director Nancy-Ann Min DeParle said, "The president and Congress have been clear that no federal funds should be used to pay for physician- assisted suicide. I am committed to ensuring that this direction is carried out." Hersh Crawford, Oregon's Medicaid director, said, "We recognize that Congress and President Clinton have taken a very strong line. We are trying to be as careful as possible not to spend federal dollars on Death with Dignity services" (6/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.