KHN Morning Briefing

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Lawmakers Set June 9 As Effective Date For California’s Aid-In-Dying Law

Supporters used the special session on health care to bypass the committees that might have held it up.

The Associated Press: Ill Californians May Take Life-Ending Drugs Starting In June
Terminally ill California residents will be able to legally end their lives with medication prescribed by a doctor beginning June 9. State lawmakers adjourned a special session on health care Thursday, starting the 90-day countdown to physician-assisted suicide. The law approved last year made California the fifth state to adopt the practice, but patients were left in limbo until the session ended. The bill passed following the heavily publicized case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life in 2014. (3/10)

Los Angeles Times: Aid-In-Dying Law To Take Effect June 9 In California
Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) said on the Senate floor just before the adjournment vote Thursday that the law “ensures Californians have access to humane and compassionate options to limit suffering at the end of life.” The bill had failed to win needed support during the regular session, so supporters introduced it in special session, allowing it to bypass committees where opposition was strong. The approval of the law through “controversial legislative tactics” was denounced again Thursday by Tim Rosales of Californians Against Assisted Suicide. (McGreevy, 3/10)

NPR/KQED: California To Permit Medically Assisted Suicide As Of June 9
As written, the law requires two doctors to agree, before prescribing the drugs, that a patient has six months or less to live. Patients must be able to swallow the medication themselves and must affirm in writing, 48 hours before taking the medication, that they will do so. California is the fifth state to permit this option at the end of life. It joins Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Montana. (Aliferis, 3/10)

The Sacramento Bee: Assisted Death Will Become Legal In California In June
After passing sweeping anti-tobacco legislation on Thursday, the state Senate voted to finally close the special legislative session on health care, thereby starting the countdown for California’s assisted death law to take effect. Approved through the special session last fall and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, the controversial legislation does not kick in for 90 days after the session concludes. That means terminally ill patients can seek life-ending drugs from their physicians beginning June 9. (Koseff, 3/10)

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