By Gene Bifano
The state of Vermont, as I alluded to in a letter, presumes that we are its property. There is a bill in the Vermont Legislature that states that all deceased individuals are presumed to donate their body organs.
Under House Bill 57, the state will start harvesting body parts for its use. Although presumed to be altruistic, it is also "moneytruistic." This law is so bad on so many levels there is not time or space to decry how bad it really is.
The bill further states that insurance companies will have to pay for the procedures; thereby, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the state. Therein lies the crux of the law. Insurance is supposed to be paying for our living health care, not what happens afterward. So here we have another prostitution of insurance.
One should think that letting the insurance companies pay is OK, right? Well, as we have seen with Obamacare, insurance companies will pass this cost along through higher premiums. And under Obamacare, from my understanding, the medical appliance tax may be applicable for organs, similar to appliances used in a medical procedure.
Why do some legislators and the governor think we are subjects of the state? We are going back to feudalism. Instead of a king, we have a governor. A governor who has the power of the pre-revolution governors, with the same sense of grandeur.
The insidious part of the law is that it does recognize that a person can deny the state his/her organs. However, through legalese and obfuscation it does it in such a way that virtually no one will have the correct specific document to deny the state its due in a timely manner.
One will need a very specific Vermont advance directive which specifically states that organ donations will be prohibited. Now, I ask how many people have a Vermont advance directive? How many have one that specifically states no organ donations?
Most advance directives address what treatments can be administered at the end of life. Many do not address what happens afterward. A will or trust document may address the issue. However, they may not be available in the time frames organ harvesting need to be made; hence, the presumption of organ donation.
What if there is a sudden death and there is no advance directive – presumed donation? So instead of having a place on our driver's license that says we want to donate organs, it will have changed to I don't want to donate. How long will that take, if it happens at all, since Act 57 is scheduled to be enacted in 2016? How many people will even know about this law to effect a change? Will we have to apply for new licenses and pay for the new license?
What if you're an out-of-state resident? The state could easily presume you are from Vermont. Under our election presumptions, anyone can vote in Vermont and be considered a citizen of Vermont, which is in opposition to our tax law, which does not presume that but specifies you have to prove you're a citizen by living in the state six months and a day to claim a homestead exemption. However, that is in opposition of the presumptions that all spouses live together for the sake of income tax and income sensitivity regardless of whether both spouses meet the six-month-and-a-day requirement.
What about religious opposition to dismembering a body before burial? Did the legislators consider religious freedom when rendering this law? The last thing most would be concerned about in this moment of grief is organ donation and the necessary specific documents, especially in an untimely death.
The state can presume anything it wants which is in direct opposition to our Constitution. With this out-of-control government nobody will be safe. Here are excerpts from the proposed bill:
5232. PRESUMED CONSENT
All Vermont residents 18 years of age or older shall be presumed to consent to making an anatomical gift of some or all of their organs, eyes, tissues, or a combination thereof upon their death for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education. ...
§ 5234. REFUSAL TO MAKE AN ANATOMICAL GIFT
(a) A Vermont resident may refuse to make an anatomical gift of the individual's body part or parts by:
(1) including a specific refusal in an advance directive executed pursuant to chapter 231 of this title, which may be enforced by the agent named in the advance directive;
(2) creating a written record indicating that the individual is unwilling to make an anatomical gift, signed by:
(A) the individual; or
(B) subject to subsection (b) of this section, another individual acting at the direction of the individual if the individual is physically unable to sign;
(3) including a specific provision in the individual's will, whether or not the will is admitted to probate or invalidated after the individual's death.
Bifano lives in Warren