Letter to Congressman Henry Waxman re Section 1233 of HR 3200

Ruben Diaz

July 27, 2009

Dear Congressman Waxman:

As Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee, I am deeply concerned that a provision that targets senior citizens in Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 may preempt New York State rules and practices.  This proposed federal health care legislation’s impact upon the elderly citizens of New York State needs to be sensitive to what may be considered a “state’s rights” issue, which may be best dealt with at the state level, and not imposed by Washington.

Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives.   Each life must be cherished and regarded with reverence. This pending legislation does not necessarily provide for that guideline, and needs to be carefully reviewed with a full and open public debate.

It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen who resides in New York State or anywhere in the United States of America should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign.

I respectfully request that you advise me if and when there may be Congressional hearings on this matter, that you provide me with an opportunity to testify at such hearings, and suggest others who may also be qualified to testify.

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz