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Home Page Contents Congressional Record (Page H10869) Cached
27 October 1999
Mr. LINDER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from south Texas (Mr. PAUL).
(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
1999 Ron Paul 111:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding me this time.
1999 Ron Paul 111:2
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the rule, but I would like to make a couple of comments about why I do not think we should support this bill.
1999 Ron Paul 111:3
I am strongly
1999 Ron Paul 111:4
I disagree with the Oregon law. If I were in Oregon, I would vote against that law. But I believe the approach here is a legislative slippery slope. What we are doing is applying this same principle of Roe versus Wade by nationalizing law and, therefore, doing the wrong thing.
1999 Ron Paul 111:5
This bill should be opposed. I think it will backfire. If we can come here in the Congress and decide that the Oregon law is bad, what says we cannot go to Texas and get rid of the Texas law that protects life and prohibits euthanasia. That is the main problem with this bill.
1999 Ron Paul 111:6
Also, I believe it will indeed dampen the ability of doctors to treat dying patients. I know this bill has made an effort to prevent that, compared to last year, but it does not. The Attorney General and a DEA agent will decide who has given too much medication. If a patient is dying and they get too much medicine, and they die, the doctor could be in big trouble. They could have criminal charges filed against them. They could lose their license or go to jail.
1999 Ron Paul 111:7
Just recently, I had a member of my family pass away with a serious illness and required a lot of medication. But nurses were reluctant to give the medicine prescribed by the doctor for fear of lawsuit and fear of charges that something illegal was being done. With a law like this, it is going to make this problem much, much worse.
1999 Ron Paul 111:8
Another thing is this sets up a new agency. For those conservative colleagues of mine who do not like the nationalization of medical care, what my colleagues are looking at here is a new agency of government setting up protocols, educating doctors and hospitals, and saying this is the way palliative care must be administered. My colleagues will have to answer with reports to the Federal Government.
1999 Ron Paul 111:9
As bad as the Oregon law is, this is not the way we should deal with the problem. This bill applies the same principle as Roe versus Wade.
1999 Ron Paul 111:10
I maintain that this bill is deeply flawed. I believe that nobody can be more
1999 Ron Paul 111:11
Mr. Speaker, the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999 (H.R. 2260) is designed for one purpose. It is to repeal the state of Oregons law dealing with assisted suicide and euthanasia.
1999 Ron Paul 111:12
Being strongly pro-life, Im convinced that the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973 is one of the worst, if not the worst, Supreme Court ruling of the 20th century. It has been this institutionalizing into our legal system the lack of respect for life and liberty that has and will continue to play havoc with liberty and life until it is changed. It has been said by many since the early 1970s that any legalization of abortion would put us on a slippery slope to euthanasia. I agree with this assessment.
1999 Ron Paul 111:13
However, I believe that if we are not careful in our attempt to clarify this situation we also could participate in a slippery slope unbeknownst to us and just as dangerous. Roe vs. Wade essentially has nationalized an issue that should have been handled strictly by the states. Its repeal of a Texas State law set the stage for the wholesale of millions of innocent unborn. And yet, we once again are embarking on more nationalization of law that will in time backfire. Although the intention of H.R. 2260 is to repeal the Oregon law and make a statement against euthanasia it may well just do the opposite. If the nationalization of law dealing with abortion was designed to repeal state laws that protected life there is nothing to say that once we further establish this principle that the federal government, either the Congress or the Federal Courts, will be used to repeal the very laws that exist in 49 other states than Oregon that prohibit euthanasia. As bad as it is to tolerate an unsound state law, its even worse to introduce the notion that our federal congresses and our federal courts have the wisdom to tell all the states how to achieve the goals of protecting life and liberty.
1999 Ron Paul 111:14
H.R. 2260 makes an effort to delineate the prescribing of narcotics for alleviating pain from that of intentionally killing the patient. There is no way medically, legally, or morally to tell the difference. This law will serve to curtail the generous use of narcotics in a legitimate manner in caring for the dying. Claiming that this law will not hinder the legitimate use of drugs for medical purposes but not for an intentional death is wishful thinking. In fear that a doctor will be charged for intentionally killing a patient, even though the patient may have died coincidentally with an injection, this bill will provide a great barrier to the adequate treatment of our sick and dying who are suffering and are in intense pain.
1999 Ron Paul 111:15
The loss of a narcotics license, as this bill would dictate as punishment, is essentially denying a medical license to all doctors practicing medicine. Criminal penalties can be invoked as well. I would like to call attention to my colleagues that this bill is a lot more than changing the Controlled Substance Act. It is involved with educational and training programs to dictate to all physicians providing palliative care and how it should be managed. An entirely new program is set up with an administrator that shall carry out a program to accomplish the developing and the advancing of scientific understanding of palliative care and to disseminate protocols and
1999 Ron Paul 111:16
All physicians should be concerned about a federal government agency setting up protocols for medical care recognizing that many patients need a variation in providing care and a single protocol cannot be construed as being correct.
1999 Ron Paul 111:17
This program is designed to instruct public and private health care programs throughout the nation as well as medical schools, hospices and the general public. Once these standards are set and if any variation occurs and a subsequent death coincidentally occurs that physician will be under the gun from the DEA. Charges will be made and the doctor will have to defend himself and may end up losing his license. It will with certainty dampen the enthusiasm of the physician caring for the critically ill.
1999 Ron Paul 111:18
Under this bill a new program of grants, cooperative agreements and contracts to help professional schools and other medical agencies will be used to educate and train health care professionals in palliative care. It is not explicit but one can expect that if the rules are not followed and an institution is receiving federal money they will be denied these funds unless they follow the universal protocols set up by the federal government. The bill states clearly that any special award under this new program can only be given if the applicant agrees that the program carried out with the award will follow the government guidelines. These new programs will be through the health professional schools, i.e. the medical schools residency training programs and other graduate programs in the health professions. It will be a carrot and stick approach and in time the medical profession will become very frustrated with the mandates and the threat that funds will be withheld.
1999 Ron Paul 111:19
The Secretary of Health and Human Services in charge of these programs are required to evaluate all the programs which means more reports to be filled out by the institutions for bureaucrats in Washington to study. The results of these reports will be to determine the effect such programs have on knowledge and practice regarding palliative care. Twenty four million dollars is authorized for this new program.
1999 Ron Paul 111:20
This program and this bill essentially nationalizes all terminal care and opens up Pandoras box in regards to patient choices as well as doctor judgment. This bill, no matter how well intended, is dangerously flawed and will do great harm to the practice of medicine and for the care of the dying. This bill should be rejected.
1999 Ron Paul 111:1 Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding me this time. Here, Ron Paul thanks The Honorable John Linder.
1999 Ron Paul 111:13 the wholesale of millions of innocent unborn omits a noun. Perhaps Ron Paul meant the wholesale killing of millions of innocent unborn, or perhaps the wholesale slaughter of millions of innocent unborn or even the wholesale murder of millions of innocent unborn.
1999 Ron Paul 111:15 The loss of a narcotics license probably should not have an apostrophe: The loss of a narcotics license.
1999 Ron Paul 111:19 The Secretary of Health and Human Services in charge of these programs are required probably should be The Secretary of Health and Human Services in charge of these programs is required.
1999 Ron Paul 111:19 Twenty four million dollars probably should be hyphenated: Twenty-four million dollars.