^ * T n the midst of life we are in death.” The old PrayernX Book’s admonition has never been more true or lessnunderstood than it is today. Modern man, despite his refusalnto consider his own mortality, is busily politicizing all thenlittle decisions and circumstances that attend his departure.nDeath penalty statutes, abortion regulations, right-to-dieninitiatives, and national health care plans have all been majornpolitical issues in recent years, although the connectionsnbetween these issues are generally overlooked.nOn the very day of the Washington State referenda onnboth abortion rights and doctor-assisted suicide, the NewnYork Times was also reporting on the effects of a decisionnexpanding the scope of Medicare. Most future Medicarenrecipients will now be guaranteed the right to purchasenso-called Medigap policies to supplement the state-providednmedical services. In other words, some insurance-buyers willnbe forced to subsidize the retirees who either failed tonpurchase supplementary policies or else squandered theirnmoney on the expensive plans huckstered by Ed McMahonnand Art Linkletter.nWhile the nation’s insurance commissioners were at worknstaving off mortality, the people of Washington werenconsidering a proposal to legalize medical killing (as well as anproposal to incorporate the language of Roe v. Wade intonstate law). Despite polls showing widespread support forn10/CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnUnholy Dyingnby Thomas Flemingnnndoctor-assisted suicide, voters at the last minute got coldnfeet, apparently preferring to take their chances with blacknmarket euthanasia. Are they afraid that some day, recoveringnfrom heart surgery, they might inadvertently blurt out a wishnfor easeful death? Do some of them suspect, I wonder, thatnfamily members and health care bureaucrats might havenpalpable economic motives for granting a request for “deathnwith dignity”?nThe Dutch experiment in euthanasia has been muchnpublicized as the result of a book by Carios Gomez,nRegulating Death. Gomez presents sobering evidence thatnregulations designed to facilitate voluntary suicide are nownbeing used to justify involuntary suicide. But even thenDutch practitioners of euthanasia are disturbed by similarnAmerican proposals, according to John Keown. Writing innthe Wall Street Journal (November 5, 1991), Keown reportsnthat Dutch physicians were afraid that in a society withoutnnational health care a patient’s relatives might well haveneconomic motives for administering the poisoned chalice.nBut are patients really safer in the hands of a nationalnhealth system? On the contrary. As health care costs arentransferred from individuals and their families to the generalnpopulation, a cost-cutting bureaucracy will inevitably bentempted to encourage, if not compel, euthanasia. Even inn”the United States, where health care is only partiallyn