A Nevada physician is claiming that insurance companies in states where assisted suicide is legal have refused to cover expensive, life-saving treatments for his patients...but have offered to help the patients end their lives instead.
Brian Callister, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Nevada, said in a Washington Times report that he tried to transfer two patients out of state for treatments not performed at his hospital. Representatives from two different insurance companies denied those transfer requests over the phone, he said.
“And in both cases, the insurance medical director said to me, ‘Brian, we’re not going to cover that procedure or the transfer, but would you consider assisted suicide?’” Callister told The Washington Times.
The doctor said the calls took place last year within the span of a month, and that he did nothing to prompt the assisted suicide suggestion in either case. Both patients had conditions that were not terminal, Callister claims.
“It was estimated that their chance for cure — cure, not just adding time — of about 50 percent in one case and 70 percent in the other case,” he said.
His allegation comes as more than a dozen states are considering legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Callister testified against the proposed bill on Monday in Nevada.
The Patients Rights Action Fund on Wednesday released a video featuring Callister.
“As much as most insurance companies try to come across as your best friend, they want to do whatever the least-costly thing is,” Callister says in the video. “It’s a lot cheaper to grab a couple of drugs, kill you, than it is to provide life-sustaining therapy. Simple as that.”
Kat West, the national director of policy and programs at Compassion and Choices, raised concerns about the credibility of Callister's story. In an emailed statement she called it "highly unlikely," citing lack of evidence according to the Washington Examiner.
[Image of Callister from Youtube]