Lawyers warn against health care rationing based on age, disability: It violates civil rights law
“Federal law requires that decisions regarding the critical care of patients during the current crisis not discriminate on the basis of disability or age,” lawyers representing the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society wrote in a March 23 memorandum. “In this respect, anticipated longevity or quality of life are inappropriate issues for consideration.”
“Decisions must be made solely on clinical factors as to which patients have the greatest need and the best prospect of a good medical outcome. Therefore, disability and age should not be used as categorical exclusions in making these critical decisions.”
Charles LiMandri, Partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP, and who also serves as Special Counsel of both groups, served as the lead attorney on the legal memorandum. The memo was prepared at the request of three scholars from prominent American universities.
The scholars requested the legal memo in light of reports that many American state-level authorities are beginning to weigh their options of introducing the rationing of health care based on age or disability, in light of the coronavirus epidemic.
The term “health care rationing” has been touted by some in the mainstream media as something that could become the new norm in the United States should hospital beds become scarce.
In his legal analysis, LiMandri says that trying to justify policies of health care rationing “on the basis of disability or age” in light of the coronavirus would “violate federal law regarding invidious discrimination.”
LiMandri adds that it would also “open up the purveyors of those policies to legal liability which will likely be exploited.”
“We’re reading the unthinkable—the Seattle Times reported that Washington State and hospital officials have been meeting to consider how to decide who lives and dies,” commented Thomas More Society Vice President Peter Breen. “In our nation’s capital, the Washington Post is running editorials about the ‘nightmare’ of rationing health care, as is the National Review in the hard-hit state of New York. The horrific idea of withholding care from someone because they are elderly or disabled, is untenable and represents a giant step in the devaluation of each and every human life in America.”
LiMandri’s analysis cites current federal legislation that would govern matters relating to the denial of medical care based on a patient’s age or disability.
The memorandum cites the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, which “prohibits age discrimination in programs or activities that receive financial assistance from the federal government, including Health and Human Services (HHS) funding”; the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies or programs receiving federal financial assistance”; and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits any discrimination based on disability in the private sphere and by state and local governments.
LiMandri’s analysis says that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) “extends the above protections against discrimination based on disability or age to individuals participating in any health program or activity administered by HHS or that receives funding from HHS.”
As of March 24, there were currently 44,183 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. with 544 deaths.
In a March 24 opinion piece for LifeSiteNews, Steven Mosher, an expert on China and the President of the Population Research Institute, explained how coronavirus statistics can be distorted resulting in overblown projections.