Week Eight 3/4/15 – 3/11/15 Private Sector Innovation and Policy Advancement

private sector

Public Sector regarding Policy Advancement

Welcome back to the dignity discussion. In Week Six we talked about the public sector influences on policymaking. This week, let’s talk about the public sector.

We established that the public sector constitutes governmental federal, state, local, county, and city agencies that perform public services and establish laws for the greater good of its citizens. What about the private sector? Since the public sector is government run than the private sector is categorized as businesses, organizations, or agencies that are not government controlled. The private sector can also be divided into for profit (e.g., monetary goals) and not-for-profit categories (e.g., has a greater mission other than monetary).

Longest (2012) describes the influence of interest groups on the policymaking process hinges on the amount of resources they have at their disposal. In Week Two, former Maryland State Representative, Sam Arora, confirmed this by stating the following:

  • Policymakers are not always “politicians”; and the majority of bills are drafted by lobbyist groups (although he didn’t operate that way).
  • The biggest challenge of policymaking was time, staffing, and resources (he only had a budget of $39,000).

Other factors that can influence policymaking is the size of group’s membership and the prestige of the group (Longest, 2012; Ornstein and Elder, 1978).

Private Sector and Death With Dignity

In Arizona, the aid in dying bill had been repeatedly denied. When speaking with Mr. Arora, I inquired if this bill still has a chance to pass. Mr. Arora did say a good bill always has a chance to pass, especially when there are lobbyists or interest groups are supporting the bill.

Today, legislators wanting to pass the aid in dying bill in their states are looking to organizations like Death With Dignity and Compassion & Choices to help with education and legislation.

Here are a couple of articles about legislators who have reached out to these organizations to elicit public support; and help draft bills.

In the below article, Compassion & Choices is organizing rallies in California to support an aid in dying bill (Santa Barbara Independent, 2014).


In this article, the lawfirm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and advocates with the groups Disability Rights Legal Center and End of Life Choices New York (EOLCNY) filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court to allow doctors to prescribe lethal prescriptions (Newsweek, 2015).


compassion and choices

Final Thoughts

These examples show how the private sector could influence policymaking for the aid in dying  movement. I invite those who support the movement to visit the Death With Dignity (www.deathwithdignity.org) and Compassion & Choices  (www.choicesarizona.org) websites to learn more about the organizations; and to investigate how to bring the movement to Arizona.


Longest, B. B. (2010). Health policymaking in the United States (5th ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.

Newsweek (2015). New lawsuit could make N.Y. 6th state where doctors can ‘aid in dying.’ Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/new-lawsuit-could-make-new-york-sixth-state-where-doctors-can-aid-dying-304495

Ornstein, N.J., & Elder, S. (1978). Interest groups, lobbying, and policymaking. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly.

Santa Barbara Independent (2014). Dying with dignity in Santa Barbara. Retrieved from http://www.independent.com/news/2014/nov/08/dying-dignity-santa-barbara/


7 thoughts on “Week Eight 3/4/15 – 3/11/15 Private Sector Innovation and Policy Advancement

  1. mcivic2015

    Your post really helps illustrate how powerful private sectors can make or break the passing of a new law or implementation of health policy. As you mentioned above, the size and prestige of the private sector can greatly influence policy making (Longest, 2010). Even though Arizona has yet to pass a law related to dying with dignity, the concept that it is always possible is powerful. As more people are educated to what the law would entail, and after the shock value to our society as a whole has warn off, perhaps more people will consider learning about this legistlation in other states and adopt similar policies in Arizona.

    Longest, B.B. Jr. (2010). Health policy making in the United States. (5th ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dignitydiscussion Post author

      I couldn’t agree more. I also think since Arizona is a conservative state (with conservative leadership) has affected the bill not passing. Politicians do not want to ruffle their constituent’s feathers, so they vote safely. All my opinion (by the way)…


  2. herendirav

    Great resource articles! These stories are truly compelling, and very informative. I had no idea that the Death with Dignity debate has been occurring since the early 90’s. The Compassion & Choices Campaign is a prime example of private sector policy advancement. They are committed to building grassroots support, and seem to be doing a great job. Are you in contact with, or aware of any private sectors that are in support of the Death with Dignity movement here in AZ? Being that this is considered a conservative state, I imagine there is a lot of push back in regards to this bill. Valuable information here, looking forward to the progression of your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dignitydiscussion Post author

      I am not currently involved with a particular group (to date). This whole discussion has prompted me to go online and look for information and even petitions I could sign. I did attend the public forum on aid in dying at ASU last semester. They had speakers from Washington state talking about how they got their aid in dying bill passed. It was informative; and seeing the different faces in attendance was interesting as well (from elderly to young people).


  3. SHEllis

    Your topic in particular is a great example of how individual stories can influence healthcare policy. All of us will eventually lose a relative or close friend throughout our lives; it’s so unfortunate, but inevitable. Many of us already have. Reading some of these descriptions of wanting a sister to have autonomy and control at the end of a long battle with colon cancer or a father to be more comfortable at the end of his life resonate with everyone regardless of opinions on aid in dying laws. As a result of private sector advocacy and support, these stories have helped to campaign a decade-long policy movement. Additionally, private sector support has been successful in several states, considering the legality of death with dignity. But, just as private organizations such as Compassion and Choices are advocating for death with dignity, organizations such as the Catholic Conference of Bishops are advocating against it, sometimes successfully, indicating healthcare policy is not just a federal debate, but a private debate as well. Because Arizona is currently lacking a death with dignity bill, the main actions to be taken in our state are to increase education and awareness. Some thirteen states have introduced death with dignity legislation since Brittany Maynard’s passing. Several states have already voted down the legislation, but the movement continues to grow, and will continue to grow as a result of private support and advocacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dignitydiscussion Post author

      All great points, especially about the opponents to aid in dying like the Catholic Conference of Bishops. I feel like having both proponents and opponents speaking to the press about this topic is all good to get the word out about the aid in dying topic. Most people in the US don’t really take the time to think about issues like this, but maybe now they are at their breakfast tables discussing their feelings on this matter. This may even prompt people to complete their advance directives; and tell family members there feelings about death, hospitalizations, hospice, etc…I really appreciate your thoughts!


  4. lwarrenheft

    End-of-life matters in the United States are ensnared in controversy, which threatens to suppress any discussion of it when it is most needed (Page, 2014). Legalization of the choice to end one’s life in a dignified manner, at least on a large scale in the United States, will only come about because of the private sector. Nursing has a long-established precedent of patient advocacy, therefore advanced practice nurses have, perhaps, the greatest potential to advance this debate, as they are not only nurses at the core, but they are providers responsible for a whole-person approach in care and end-of-life care of their patients (Larson & Tobin, 2000). Unfortunately, even nursing seems rather complacent on the subject of advocacy in end-of-life choices. In fact, nurses were found to go against their instincts while managing terminally ill patients, choosing more aggressive treatments for them than they would for either themselves or their family in similar conditions (Coffey et al., 2013). Nurses must advocate for patient-centered care, which means understanding what illness means for that patient (Larson & Tobin, 2014), and supporting their right to choose not to treat, not to suffer, and to have options.

    Coffey, A., Poletti, P., Zanotti, R., Molloy, D. W., McGlade, C., Fitzpatrick, J. J., . . . Li,W. H.C. (2013). Nurses’ preferred end-of-life treatment choices in five countries. International Nursing Review, 60(3), 313-319. doi:10.1111/inr.12024

    Larson, D. G., & Tobin, D. R. (2000). End-of-life conversations: Evolving practice and theory. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 284(12), 1573. doi:10.1001/jama.284.12.1573

    Page, L. (2014). The end of life. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 348(2), 2261-2261. doi:10.1136/bmj.g2261

    Liked by 1 person


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