Healthcare Discrimination Bills (S.811, S.1130, and H.4776)
These bills 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.
S.811, S.1130, and H.4776 are all versions of the so-called “Medical Ethics and Diversity Act,” which would allow health care professionals to discriminate against their patients and refuse to provide them care. These dangerous and far-reaching bills 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.
These bills are 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.
WREN opposes these bills because everyone deserves access to health care, when and where they need it, without financial difficulty, discrimination, barriers or stigma.
UPDATE ON S.811:
On Thursday, February 10, 2022 a subcommittee of the SC Senate Medical Affairs Committee amended and advanced a new version of S.811. While they struck the previous version of the bill, which granted a broad “license to discriminate” to healthcare providers, they replaced it with an amendment that violates the South Carolina Constitution by stripping municipalities of the ability to enact ordinances for their general welfare. Based on previous comments from the bill’s sponsor and supporters, this amendment is viewed as an effort to sanction anti-LGBTQ ‘conversion therapy.’ We view the amended bill as an attempt to preempt municipalities in South Carolina from passing local ordinances that prohibit licensed therapists from subjecting minors to ‘conversion therapy,’ as Columbia, SC rightly did last summer.
On March 8th, 2022, extremist lawmakers introduced S.1130, a copy of S.811 as amended. S.811 has been stalled in the committee process for months, so S.1130 was introduced as a copy version of the bill to try to bypass the committee process. Both bills have the same effect.
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