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CANADA, January 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A pair of Canadian researchers have published a cost-benefit analysis predicting that euthanasia and assisted suicide will save Canadian taxpayers as much as $139 million a year. Critics say the study provides the bridge needed by governments to pressure the elderly into believing it is their ‘duty to die’ to save the health system.

“This kind of study will create a new type of social pressure,” Alex Schadenberg, head of the London-based Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews. The “new model of good citizen” will now be the one who, falling seriously or terminally ill, realizes that it is a matter of public duty to die and “the sooner, the better,” he added.

The study, modestly titled “Cost Analysis of Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada,” was published online earlier this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Using data from euthanasia pioneers in Belgium and Holland, Doctors Aaron Trachtenberg and Braden Manns created a scenario in which those requesting to be killed by their doctors would have their overall lifespan reduced by weeks and even months. They then used the estimated time the dead patients were not accessing medical help to reach the number of dollars saved.

“Medical assistance in dying [MAID] could reduce annual healthcare spending across Canada by between $34.7 million and $138.8 million, exceeding the $1.5–$14.8 million in direct costs associated with its implementation,” they stated.

Doctors killing patients “could result in substantial savings,” they speculated.

Opponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide immediately condemned the study for putting dollars ahead of human life. They saw it as the first harbinger of a dangerous shift in public opinion, and then policy, that not only approves of assisted suicide, but promotes it as an honorable duty.

“The message to patients will be, ‘How can you be so selfish?’ said Schadenberg. “They will be told that if they persist in holding onto life at such a cost, then ‘maybe you should be paying for it out of your own pocket.'”

Schadenberg predicted that if the thinking behind the study becomes vogue, then people diagnosed with an incurable or terminal illness will instantly be offered a choice of either MAID or taking home some painkillers – anything to move them away from the high cost of staying in the hospital. Staying in hospital would only be offered as a distant third option.

Schadenberg lambasted the researchers' suggestion that savings to the health care system by killing patients would be applied to palliative care.

“The authors of this study are naive. The more that people die prematurely by lethal injection, the less demand will exist for palliative care,” he said. He noted that less demand will effectively remove palliative care from the priority list for receiving funds.

Amy Hasbrouck, the executive director of Toujours Vivant/Not Dead Yet Canada, said the study exemplifies the attitudes which Canadians with disabilities face daily.

“These findings will only increase the interpersonal and institutional pressure on old, ill, and disabled people to ‘do the right thing’ and ‘stop being a burden on their families and the health care system,’” she said.

“Despite the authors’ protests to the contrary, it's clear that cost savings will be a factor in the decision to request and approve euthanasia and assisted suicide,” she added.