KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Vermont Lawmakers OK Doc-Assisted Suicide

The state will become the first to use a legislative vote to legalize physician-assisted suicide after the governor, who has expressed his support for the measure, signs the bill.

The Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers in Vermont Approve Assisted Suicide
Vermont is poised to become the third state in the nation to allow physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients who want to die. State lawmakers on Monday night approved an assisted-suicide bill, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Peter Shumlin, a first-term Democrat who has said he would sign it, likely within a week. Once enacted, Vermont would be the first state to decriminalize assisted suicide through a legislative vote (Gershman, 5/14).

Politico: Vermont OKs Assisted Suicide Bill
The approval of an assisted suicide bill in Vermont brings to a close a 10-year battle in the state over the issue and delivers the third state-level victory for advocates seeking to advance the policy nationwide. But the national implications for the bill -- which won legislative approval Monday night and allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to some terminally ill patients -- are tough to pinpoint (Cheney, 5/15).

Medpage Today: Vermont Passes Assisted Suicide Bill
Vermont will soon become the fourth state to allow physician-assisted suicide now that state lawmakers there have passed a bill allowing the practice. The bill, the Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act, next heads to the desk of Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), who is expected to sign the bill into law, having previously expressed his support for it. Taking effect July 1, the law would absolve healthcare professionals licensed in the state of civil or criminal liability if a terminally ill patient self-administers a lethal dose of a drug meant to treat their condition. The physician is required to have examined the patient, who must be expected to live no more than 6 months (Pittman, 5/14).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.