End of Life Option Act

The California Legislature recently passed Assembly Bill X215, commonly called the End of Life Option Act. Governor Brown signed the new law on October 5, 2015. It will become effective 91 days after the adjournment of the 2015-2016 second extraordinary session.  The act authorizes an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, to make a request for a drug prescribed for the purpose of ending his or her life.
The new law establishes the process for requesting an aid-in-dying drug and requires certain information regarding the individual’s medical record to be documented.
The new law prohibits a number of things including:

  1. A provision in a contract, will or other agreement from being conditioned upon or affected by a person making or rescinding a request for the above-described drug.
  2. The sale, procurement or issuance of any life, health, or annuity policy or health benefit plan from being conditioned upon or affected by the request for and aid-in-dying drug.
  3. An insurance carrier from providing any information in its communications about the availability of an aid-in-dying drug absent a request by the individual or his or her attending physician at the behest of the individual.

The new legislation has a ten-year sunset provision which will allow for the legislature to evaluate the effectiveness of the legislation.

It should be remembered that nothing in this law’s provisions is to be construed to authorize ending a patient’s life by lethal injection, mercy killing, or active euthanasia.

If you are interested in the details of the End of Life Option Act, you can find them beginning at California Health and Safety Code Section 443, et seq.