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End-Of-Life Bill Sneaks Through to Assembly

The End-of-Life Option Act, SB 128, which seemed dead this summer when it failed to exit the California Assembly Health Committee, was resurrected in August with a new name, AB X2-15, and may be passed by the Assembly this week.

Because a special legislative session was called, the finance committee was able to pass the new version of the bill on a 5-3 vote.

The bill’s chances in the assembly are hindered by some Latino members who feel they should follow the dictates of the Catholic Church, which strongly opposes the bill.

Some members balked at supporting the bill, including Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), who told the Los Angeles Times that the bill  made him uncomfortable, stating, “Medicine is organized to promote wellness, not death.” Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), likewise told the Pasadena Star-News, “There are people who are concerned for patients–worried that big business may want to guide people in that direction to save the high expenditures that are often related to the high-priced stays in hospitals.”

Sen. Bill Monning (D-Monterey), who cosponsored the bill, told the Los Angeles Daily News, “Over 75 percent of Californians support this bill, and it is an issue that deserves to be considered by the entire Legislature.”

Analysts from the Assembly Finance Committee tried to minimize cost concerns, noting that the drug administered to cause death is not covered by Medi-Cal.

SB 128 passed in the state Senate with a 23-15 vote. Every Democrat but one supported it; GOP senators voted unanimously against it.

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