Health Care Conscientious Objector
Providers - H.B. 4660 Rep. Brian Palmer
The insurance bill, which has yet to be reintroduced, protects employers who purchase insurance, and protects insurance companies from having to purchase or offer coverage for objectionable treatments or procedures.
The Facilities bill, which has yet to be reintroduced, protects a health facility from having to provide a treatment or procedure to which the facility has a conscientious objection.
The Terri Schiavo case of 2005 points to an example where health care workers would have a conscientious objection to participating in the direct euthanasia of patient. Pharmacists also require protection from having to dispense prescriptions for potentially life-terminating medications. Medical students and researchers may be asked to participate in research involving embryonic stems cells, cloning, the mixing of animal and human genes. Without this legislation, a provider who refused to participate could be fired, demoted or other wise punished by their employer.
Many faith based health facilities provide care in accordance with specific tenets of their faith. However, these providers are under increasing attack for not offering, for example, so-called "reproductive health services" to their patients. In areas of this country, legislation is forcing these faith-based health care facilities to either reduce services or close because they are requiring provision of these and other services that violate the beliefs of the founding organization.
In a previous session, the Conscientious Objector - Provider bill (H.B. 4741) was introduced by Rep. Brian Palmer on 5/5/05 and referred to the House Health Policy Committee. S.B. 938 was introduced on 12/13/05 by Sen. Tom George and referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. Neither bill was scheduled for a hearing.
H.B. 4745-46, the insurance bills, were introduced by Rep. Scott Hummel on 5/10/05 and were referred to the House Committee on Insurance, where they were reported out 9-6 on 3/23/06. On 4/26/06 both bills were passed in the House with a vote of 68-38 with one not voting.
H.B. 4775, Conscientious Objector - Facilities bill was introduced by Rep. John Gleason on 5/11/05 and referred to the House Health Policy Committee, where they were never scheduled for a hearing.