Voters around the country decided on numerous health-related ballot questions Tuesday, including a decision in Colorado to allow physician-assisted suicide for dying patients.
Passage of Proposition 106 creates the “Colorado End of Life Options Act” that allows doctors to provide life-ending drugs to mentally competent patients age 18 and older who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have six months or less to live.
The law, which had many physicians wrestling with the ethics of helping patients die, requires two doctors to agree that the patient is in the final stages of a terminal illness. The measure was modeled after Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law that’s been in place for the last two decades. Colorado is now the fifth state in the country with a similar law, joining Oregon, Washington, California and Vermont.
“This is a historic day for all Coloradans, and an especially tremendous victory for terminally ill adults who worry about horrific suffering in their final days,” Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices Action Network, said in a statement to 9news.com.
On another major health ballot question, voters in California voted no on the contentious Proposition 61 that would have required the state to buy its prescription drugs at the same price or cheaper than that charged by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Here’s how voters decided on a number of other health questions on the ballot:
- States were divided when it came to cigarette taxes. California voters approved a $2-a-pack increase on the cigarette tax there, while voters in Colorado, Missouri and North Dakota rejected measures to increase taxes on tobacco.
- Voters in San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado approved new taxes on soda and sugary beverages.
- Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota approved the use of medical marijuana.
More election coverage: