My remarks have been cited in three new articles from The Heartland Institute regarding health policy issues.
* FDA Moves to Regulate E-Cigarettes – Article by Matthew Glans
As a nonsmoker, I do not have any attraction to e-cigarettes, but I am opposed, on both moral and practical grounds, to any attempts to restrict them. This article by Matthew Glans cites my remarks with regard to recent FDA attempts to limit the availability of e-cigarettes to young people.
FDA’s push to regulate e-cigarettes may invite unintended health consequences, says Gennady Stolyarov, editor-in-chief of The Rational Argumentator. Although many nonsmokers have absolutely no attraction to e-cigs or tobacco products of any sort, for some individuals, e-cigs may work as a substitute for traditional tobacco products or as a part of a transitional approach toward the cessation of smoking.
E-cigs lack the high levels of more than 40 carcinogenic byproducts found in traditional tobacco smoke, and they also minimize the harm caused by secondhand smoke, says Stolyarov. If somebody wishes to smoke, it is better for that person’s health and the health of others if the person smokes an e-cigarette.
* California Seizes Estates of Deceased Medicaid Patients – Article by Kenneth Artz
This article by Kenneth Artz cites my remarks in opposition to the Medi-Cal “estate recovery” program, whereby California Medicaid recipients’ homes can be expropriated from them upon their deaths.
Stolyarov says the estate recovery program is an example of an extremely hardhearted government program that forces people to suffer because of family members’ prior debts or health care needs.
“A person should not lose the family home because one of his or her deceased parents had little or no income and took recourse to Medicaid to pay for treatments for terminal cancer or another terrible disease,” Stolyarov said. “This is especially true given the fact most Medicaid recipients have no easy way of knowing their estates are put in jeopardy when they sign up for the program.”
This situation also sends a cautionary message about socialized health care arrangements purporting to provide “free” medical care, Stolyarov says.
“There is always a cost, and there are always strings attached when any aspect of health care is centrally planned,” said Stolyarov.
* Dutch Doctors Withholding and Withdrawing Treatment from the Elderly – Article by Kenneth Artz
It is essential to treat all medical patients as human beings with decision-making autonomy, whose lives are worth living. In particular, a decision to shorten life by forgoing medical treatment should never be made by anyone except the patient him/herself. This article by Kenneth Artz cites my remarks regarding a recent study in the Journal of Medical Ethics is that withholding treatment from certain patients (particularly the elderly) appears to be becoming a default decision by doctors in the Netherlands in many cases – rather than a decision deliberately opted into by patients.
While people ought to have a right to voluntarily refuse medical treatment, it is also the case that they should have the right to insist on any and every measure that could possibly prolong their lives, even if their chances are remote. If a patient wishes to try a treatment that has a remote chance of succeeding, but where the alternative is a certain death, that patient’s desires should not be overridden by a central authority or even a medical expert.
It is extremely important to respect the liberty of patients to make choices regarding their medical care and the aggressiveness with which they want to fight for their lives, says Gennady Stolyarov, editor-in-chief of The Rational Argumentator.
“What is disturbing about the findings of this study is that withholding treatment from certain patients—particularly the elderly—appears to be becoming a default decision by doctors in many cases, rather than a decision deliberately opted into by patients,” Stolyarov said. “The culture of medicine should always be guided by the premise that taking action to save life is the default, and only the patient should be able to make a different decision.”