March 21, 2005

When Ethics, Morals or Religion Say “No”

Under HB 2061, Jodie Laubenberg proposes to give health care facilities, health insurers, and health care providers the right to object to providing or participating in certain procedures.

The basic rights and limits created under this bill for health care facilities, health insurers, and health care providers are as follows:

Health Care Facilities:
  • Health Care Facilities “may . . . withdraw from providing a health care service or may refuse to provide or participate in the provision of a health care service on ethical, moral, or religious grounds as provided by the facility’s organizational documents, charter, bylaws, or an adopted mission statement.”
  • Health Care Facilities may not assert an objection:
    • during a public health emergency
    • when such objection would result in death or serious bodily injury to the patient
    • if such objection is based on the patient’s race, color, religion, sex, nation origin, age, or disability (as protected by federal law)
Health Insurers:
  • Health Insurers “may . . . refuse to offer or provide a benefit for a health care service on ethical, moral, or religious grounds as provided by the insurer’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, or an adopted mission statement.”
  • Health insurers may not refuse to offer or provide a benefit if:
    • it is specifically covered under the contract, policy, ,or certificate issued by the insurer
    • it is required under the Insurance Code

Health Care Providers:

  • Health care providers “may . . . as a matter of conscience object to providing or participating in the provision of a health care service on ethical, moral, or religious grounds.”
  • Health care providers may not assert an objection:
    • during a public health emergency
    • when such objection would result in death or serious bodily injury to the patient
    • if such objection is based on the patient’s race, color, religion, sex, nation origin, age, or disability (as protected by federal law)
  • There are notice requirements to employers for health care providers

    This bill will provide criminal and civil liability protections to objectors.