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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2012 Senate Bill 975: Recognize health care payer and provider exercise of conscience
  1. Introduced by Sen. John Moolenaar (R) on February 16, 2012, to prohibit forcing an individual or employer who purchase health insurance or pays for health care in some other way, or a health care provider or facility, to pay for or provide any service that that violates the payer’s or provider’s conscience. Specifically, it would establish that no civil, criminal, or administrative liability could be imposed for this exercise of conscience; and would prohibit eligibility discrimination in government grants, contracts, or programs because of this exercise of conscience. The bill was introduced in response to an Obama administration ruling that Catholic and other religious institutions and social service agencies must include coverage for contraception, sterilization and “morning after” pills in any health care benefits they provide to employees.
    • Referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee on February 16, 2012.
      • Reported in the Senate on December 4, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-2) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the Senate on December 6, 2012. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on December 6, 2012.
  2. Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate on December 6, 2012.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the House on December 6, 2012.
    • Referred to the House Insurance Committee on December 6, 2012.
      • Reported in the House on December 12, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.


Re: 2012 Senate Bill 975 (Recognize health care payer and provider exercise of conscience )  by Judy on December 7, 2012 
Senator Moolenaar’s statement is as follows:
I rise before you today to encourage my Senate colleagues to support Senate Bill No. 975, the Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act. The intent of this legislation is to help protect religious freedom while still ensuring patients receive the best medical care. Senate Bill No. 975 allows a process for an individual or entity to assert a conscientious objection to a specific health care service without fear of repercussions.
This legislation would require health care payers, health facilities, and health providers to implement a system that addresses the right to decline, provide, or pay for certain health care services that might conflict with an individual’s conscience or moral beliefs.
In this legislation, “conscience” is defined as follows: A sincerely-held conviction arising from a belief in God or the tenets of an established religion or from the ethical or moral principles of a generally recognized philosophy or belief system that an individual asserting those convictions can reference as a basis for those convictions. For purposes of this act, the conscience of an entity shall be determined by reference to existing or proposed religious, moral, or ethical guidelines, mission statement, constitution, bylaws, articles of incorporation, or regulations adhered to by the entity.
We have worked diligently with a broad range of stakeholders from the medical community to find a policy that will best fit their needs. It is important to note that this legislation would not allow for the refusal of care to a group of individuals. This legislation before you today only applies to health services.
Further, this legislation would still require that even if a doctor or nurse does not perform a service because of a conscientious objection, they are required to inform the patient of their options. Under this legislation, no one will be denied care. In emergency situations, care must be provided, even if the provider objects as a matter of conscience.
This legislation before you today will establish a solid, yet workable, framework for protecting the fundamental rights for all Michigan citizens. I welcome my Senate colleagues’ support on this important legislation.

Re: 2012 Senate Bill 975 (Recognize health care payer and provider exercise of conscience )  by Judy on December 7, 2012 
Senator Warren’s statement, in which Senators Gregory, Whitmer, Young, Anderson and Johnson concurred, is as follows:
I stand before you in opposition today to Senate Bill No. 975. While I share the belief of our good colleague who just spoke that we should do what we can to protect an individual health care provider’s right of conscience, this bill goes way beyond that. This is not just individual health care providers we’re talking about. We’re talking entire health care facilities, health care systems, and health care payers who can now under Michigan law, should this bill pass, evoke a right of conscience.
While I understand that under certain circumstances narrow refusal clauses may be appropriate to protect the autonomy of individual medical providers, broad refusal clauses, like the ones in this bill, deny patients access to essential medical care information and referrals. Legislation like this burdens patients who are dealing with time- sensitive medical issues and diminishes the quality of care for all of us.
As a practical consideration, I just want to underscore the fact that Michigan has had conscience clause protections for health care providers when it comes to abortion care services for more than a decade. This bill is not about abortion. If this bill is not about abortion, it doesn’t take us very long to think about the number of different health care procedures and access to health care services which could be swept up into a package like this.
Concerns that I have include many religions have beliefs like same gender health care providers are the only ones who should be able to take care of you. If you’re a woman and you are in an emergency room, there are no women on staff, would you get taken care of? Some religions don’t believe in blood transfusions. If you have a health care condition where you need a blood transfusion and you have no one on staff who is willing to give that to you, where do you stand? Some religions are opposed to giving treatment to folks with HIV/AIDS. Although there was the thought raised that whole groups of people might not be able to be discriminated against, one person at a time could certainly be discriminated against.
So I have grave concerns about how this could be possibly implemented and have a schedule such that we have health care providers working who can provide essential medical care and treatment which folks need. I encourage my colleagues to vote “no” on Senate Bill No. 975 as I will be doing when the board is open.

Re: 2012 Senate Bill 975 (Recognize health care payer and provider exercise of conscience )  by TaterSalad on March 3, 2012 


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