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End-of-life economics

The Boston Globe, June 7, 2011

Amid increasing anxieties over the rising cost of healthcare, and the contentious debates in particular surrounding a potential Medicare overhaul, a new nationwide poll from Suffolk University's Political Research Center is believed to be the first to directly link healthcare spending for seniors with end-of-life choices. The researchers were surprised at what they found. Thirty-five percent of the 1,070 likely voters queried last month said they would favor allowing "mentally able seniors" to end their own lives in an effort to "help save health care costs." "The wording of the question directly links the economic piece to end-of-life, so I thought there would be various slices of no's that outweighed the yeses," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. Men were much more likely than women to say yes, as were people under 65, and those with higher incomes and education levels. Among those least likely to favor allowing seniors to end their lives in order to save health care costs were Republicans, and those who live in the South and Midwest.