UPDATED: April 16, 2014 2:27 p.m.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Del. Heather Mizeur wants to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients and implement a state-run retirement savings program to help workers who don’t have retirement plans from their employers.
Mizeur says her physician-assisted suicide proposal would resemble laws in Oregon, Washington and Vermont. Doctors could prescribe drugs to patients who want to end their lives, but patients would have to administer the drug themselves.
Oregon’s Death with Dignity law has been in place since 1997. Seventy-one state residents used it to end their lives last year.
The proposal is part of a plan Mizeur announced Wednesday to promote health and safety for Maryland seniors. She says the state should encourage seniors to decide on treatment wishes in case they end up in intensive care units. As the elderly population grows, she says people would benefit from living wills and establishing durable power of attorney.
Mizeur also wants to seek more funds for Alzheimer’s research and create a registry of long-term care workers found guilty of abuse.
She estimates that the retirement savings program would become self-sufficient after a $360,000 start-up cost, and would have enough participants to make the user fees lower than alternative plans.
Participating employees would contribute at least 3 percent of their salaries through payroll deductions.
Del. Tom Hucker and Sen. Jim Rosapepe proposed a similar program this year, but their bills died in legislative committees.
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