Health and Education, Policy Updates
How to Advocate Against the Healthcare Discrimination Bill (S.811)
by WREN Staff on Jun 15, 2021
The Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on Monday, June 21 at 9:30 am on S.811, a bill to allow for discrimination in healthcare. S. 811, the so-called “Medical Ethics and Diversity Act,” would allow health care professionals to discriminate against their patients and refuse to provide them care. This dangerous and far-reaching bill permits any person participating in health care service to deny care to their patients for any reason, without a medical justification. The health consequences of such a sweeping law could be catastrophic.
This bill is broad both in the types of services that can be denied and the range of people who are allowed to deny services. Some examples of the potential implications:
- Administrative staff could refuse to submit insurance claims for care to which they had an objection.
- A nurse could refuse to administer prescribed higher levels of pain medication because it could hasten end of life for a terminal patient.
- A doctor could refuse to maintain hormone treatments for a Transgender patient needing inpatient care for an infection.
- A medical researcher could refuse to publish the results of a state funded study because the scientific evidence was in conflict with the researcher’s beliefs.
- A health plan could require a woman to have routine sex with a man for a year before paying for fertility treatments with no exceptions for same-sex couples.
This is a dangerous healthcare discrimination bill and we need as many people as possible speaking out against the policy. There are multiple ways you can speak out against this bill: testifying during the public subcommittee hearing on June 21 at 9:30 am, submitting written or video comment, and contacting members of the subcommittee via phone call and email.
If you have the capacity, we ask that you take all the outreach opportunities listed (and more); longer submitted comments can capture sentiments that are not allowed within the 3 min speaking limitation and direct outreach to members via phone call is always beneficial.
Info to speak at the hearing:
The committee has indicated that members of the public that desire to address the subcommittee may do so by accessing the following link: https://forms.gle/u6Xv2dZYtLNagb7e8
The committee has also stated that to accommodate other speakers, folks should be prepared to limit comments to three minutes. All oral presentations will be received in-person; meaning there are no virtual options for participation during the subcommittee hearing.
Info to send in written or video comment to subcommittee:
In addition to speaking at the hearing, written comments are also welcome from speakers and non-speakers, alike. A three-minute video addressing the subject is acceptable in lieu of in-person testimony. All electronic or written correspondence must be sent in by Thursday, June 17, 5 PM.
Please send e-mails/attachments to: firstname.lastname@example.org (please use the bill number in the subject line (S.811).
Written correspondence can also be sent by mail to:
SC Senate Medical Affairs Committee
Attention: Research Director
PO Box 142, 412 Gressette Building
Columbia, SC 29202
Info to reach out to members of the subcommittee:
You can reach out to members of the subcommittee individually using the contact information below. You can also use this email action link: https://p2a.co/HOGVb4G which will provide you with a pre-written email template that you can send as-is or edit. We recommend that you add in why you personally oppose this bill when sending the email via the template.
- Sen. Martin, Chairman :ShaneMartin@scsenate.gov (803) 212-6420
- Sen. Hutto: BradHutto@scsenate.gov(803) 212-6140
- Sen. Scott: JohnScott@scsenate.gov(803) 212-6124
- Sen. Alexander: ThomasAlexander@scsenate.gov(803) 212-6220
- Sen. Loftis: DwightLoftis@scsenate.gov (803) 212-6100
We must stop S. 811 before it goes any further. The implications of this bill mean that ANY healthcare professional ( a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, or administrative staff-person) could refuse care for ANY reason. This provides a doorway for discrimination against the most marginalized members of our community that we can not ignore.