HHS Rule Would Expand Ability of Providers to Refuse Health Care, AG Madigan responds
Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with 18 other attorneys general, are opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' ( HHS ) attempt to dramatically expand the ability of businesses to deny insurance coverage and individuals to refuse to provide necessary health care on the basis of their "religious, moral, ethical or other beliefs."
The proposed rule would allow businesses to object to providing insurance coverage to employees for any medical procedures they consider objectionable. It would also allow individual health care providers to object to informing patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of those options.
"The administration's attempt to prioritize other peoples' beliefs over necessary health care is unwise, immoral and illegal," Madigan said. "Stranger's beliefs should not dictate whether you are able to receive the health care you need and want."
Madigan and the other attorneys general said that placing the objections of businesses and health care workers above patient care and safety violates existing federal and state laws and undermines the states' efforts to ensure access to health care. Additionally, the proposed rule unconstitutionally seeks to force the states' compliance with its unlawful requirements by threatening to terminate billions of dollars in federal health care funding if HHS determines that the states have failed — or even "threatened" to fail — to comply with the rule.
Because HHS's proposed rule would increase the risk of harm to patients and be inconsistent with the text of several federal and state laws and the Constitution, Madigan and the other attorneys general are urging that the proposed rule be withdrawn.
Joining Madigan in filing the comments are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.