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1999 Ron Paul Chapter 112

Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999.

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27 October 1999

Mrs. JOHNSON of Connecticut. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1½ minutes to my colleague, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL).

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

1999 Ron Paul 112:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me the time.

1999 Ron Paul 112:2
Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment. This will improve the bill. I am very concerned, as a physician, that this bill will do great harm to the practice of medicine. This is micromanaging the palliative care of the dying.

1999 Ron Paul 112:3
So I strongly support this amendment because it will remove the severe penalties and the threats. Physicians are accustomed to practicing with lawyers over their shoulders. Now we are going to add another DEA agent over our shoulders to watch what we do.

1999 Ron Paul 112:4
It is said, well, there is not going to be any change in law. Well, if there is not, why the bill? Certainly there is a change in law. This bill does not state that it is dealing with euthanasis. It says it is a pain relief promotion act.

1999 Ron Paul 112:5
Generally speaking, I look at the names of bills and sometimes intentionally and sometimes just out of the way things happen here, almost always the opposite happens from the bill that we raise up. So I would call this the pain promotion act. I really sincerely believe, as a physician, that this will not help.

1999 Ron Paul 112:6
Too often physicians are intimidated and frightened about giving the adequate pain medication that is necessary to relieve pain. This amendment will be helpful. This is what we should do. We should not intimidate. The idea of dealing with the issue of euthanasis, euthanasia is killing. It is murder.

1999 Ron Paul 112:7
I am pro-life. I am against abortion. I am absolutely opposed to euthanasis. But euthanasis is killing. Under our Constitution, that is a State issue, not a congressional issue.

1999 Ron Paul 112:8
I strongly urge the passage of this amendment.

1999 Ron Paul 112:9
Mr. Chairman, today Congress will take a legislative step which is as potentially dangerous to protecting the sanctity of life as was the Court’s ill-advised Roe versus Wade decision.

1999 Ron Paul 112:10
The Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999, H.R. 2260, would amend Title 21, United States Code, for the laudable goal of protecting palliative care patients from the scourge of “assisted” suicide. However, by preempting what is the province of States — most of which have already enacted laws prohibiting “assisted suicide” — and expanding its use of the Controlled Substances Act to further define what constitutes proper medical protocol, the federal government moves yet another step closer to both a federal medical bureau and a national police state.

1999 Ron Paul 112:11
Our federal government is, constitutionally, a government of limited powers. Article one, section eight, enumerates the legislative areas for which the U.S. Congress is allowed enact legislation. For every other issue, the federal government lacks any authority or consent of the governed and only the state governments, their designees, or the people in their private market actions enjoy such rights to governance. The tenth amendment is brutally clear in stating “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Our nation’s history makes clear that the U.S. Constitution is a document intended to limit the power of central government. No serious reading of historical events surrounding the creation of the Constitution could reasonably portray it differently.

1999 Ron Paul 112:12
In his first formal complaint to Congress on behalf of the federal Judiciary, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said “the trend to federalize crimes that have traditionally been handled in state courts . . . threatens to change entirely the nature of our federal system.” Rehnquist further criticized Congress for yielding to the political pressure to “appear responsive to every highly publicized societal ill or sensational crime.”

1999 Ron Paul 112:13
However, Congress does significantly more damage than simply threatening physicians with penalties for improper prescription of certain drugs — it establishes (albeit illegitimately) the authority to dictate the terms of medical practice and, hence, the legality of assisted suicide nationwide. Even though the motivation of this legislation is clearly to pre-empt the Oregon Statute and may be protective of life in this instance, we mustn’t forget that the saw (or scalpel) cuts both ways. The Roe versus Wade decision — the Court’s intrusion into rights of states and their previous attempts to protect by criminal statute the unborn’s right not to be aggressed against — was quite clearly less protective of life than the Texas statute it obliterated. By assuming the authority to decide for the whole nation issues relating to medical practice, palliative care, and assisted suicide, the foundation is established for a national assisted suicide standard which may not be protective of life when the political winds shift and the Medicare system is on the verge of fiscal collapse. Then, of course, it will be the federal government’s role to make the tough choices of medical procedure rationing and for whom the cost of medical care doesn’t justify life extension. Current law already prohibits private physicians from seeing privately funded patients if they’ve treated a Medicaid patient within two years.

1999 Ron Paul 112:14
Additionally, this bill empowers the Attorney General to train federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel to discern the difference between palliative care and euthanasia. Most recently, though, it was the Attorney General who specifically exempted the physicians of Oregon from certain provisions of Title 21, the very Title this legislation intends to augment. Under the tutelage of the Attorney General, it would thus become the federal police officer’s role to determine at which point deaths from pain medication constitute assisted suicide.

1999 Ron Paul 112:15
To help the health care professionals become familiar with what will become the new federal medical standard, the bill also authorizes $24 million dollars over the next five years for grant programs to health education institutions. This is yet another federal action to be found nowhere amongst the enumerated powers.

1999 Ron Paul 112:16
Like the unborn, protection of the lives of palliative care patients is of vital importance. So vitally important, in fact, it must be left to the states’ criminal justice systems and state medical licensing boards. We have seen what a mess results from attempts to federalize such an issue. Numerous states have adequately protected both the unborn and palliative care patients against assault and murder and done so prior to the federal government’s unconstitutional sanctioning of violence in the Roe versus Wade decision. Unfortunately, H.R. 2260 ignores the danger of further federalizing that which is properly reserved to state governments and, in so doing, ignores the Constitution, the bill of rights, and the insights of Chief Justice Rehnquist. For these reasons, I must oppose H.R. 2260, The Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999.
Notes:

1999 Ron Paul 112:1 Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me the time. Here, Ron Paul thanks The Honorable Nancy L. Johnson of Connecticut.

1999 Ron Paul 112:11 The tenth amendment probably should be capitalized: The Tenth Amendment.

1999 Ron Paul 112:13 In Oregon Statute the second word probably shpould not be capitalized: Oregon statute.

1999 Ron Paul 112:16 the bill of rights probably should be capitalized: the Bill of Rights.

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