Panel kills bill allowing doctors to deny certain medical treatments

Panel kills bill allowing doctors to deny certain medical treatments

Panel kills bill allowing doctors to deny certain medical treatments Listen to this article

By BARBARA HOBEROCK / Oklahoma Voice

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Senate committee killed a bill that would have allowed health care providers and insurance companies to deny services for non-emergency procedures based on moral or religious grounds.

House Bill 3214 died in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on a 6-6 vote.

Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, an author, said the bill would apply to procedures and not people.

The measure would apply to gene editing, fetal tissue research and other procedures, he said.

Bullard said the measure protects the medical community and attempts to grow it.

Seven other states have passed similar laws, he said. The language in Oklahoma’s bill is based on a Montana law. That state saw an increase in medical professionals after the measure passed, Bullard said.

But Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, questioned how it would be determined that a denial was based on a procedure rather than race.

“If they are discriminating against somebody due to race, they are still subject to civil rights violations, licensure and numerous other legalities would be faced by them,” Bullard said.

The measure gives no protection to patients, Young said.

“Do you not foresee a rise in lawsuits against physicians that have said ‘I am such and such religion, so I can’t treat you…,” said Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City. “I just see a rise in lawsuits over this.”

Bullard said Illinois has had the law on the books since 1977 and did not see a rise.

“Actually, what they have seen is the actual rise in people willing to participate as a medical professional in their states for those seven states that have done this,” Bullard said.

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