TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A bill moving through Florida’s legislature that would allow doctors and insurance companies the freedom to drop patients based on what they’re calling “conscience-based objection” is raising some eyebrows.
When looking closer at House Bill 1403, residents are concerned that physicians and insurance companies could begin discriminating against women, minorities and the LGBTQ+ community and deny them healthcare that they need or cannot afford to pay out of pocket.
One patient even told NBC 2 that the bill is frustrating and worrisome. Connie Valier told the NBC Affiliate that she’s concerned doctors and insurers will refuse treatment and payment simply because they feel like a patient doesn’t share the same “religious, moral or ethical beliefs.”
“But medical care? I am frustrated and I’m angry. Very angry,” Valier told NBC 2. “They have an oath to go by and none of this judgment. It’s like this is a patient who needs help and you’re going to say no.”
According to the bill, doctors and insurance companies will also be provided with legal protection following their decisions to deny a patient. The bill also states that physicians are not required to refer patients to another doctor, which is a concern among women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and minorities
“Protections of Medical Conscience; Authorizes health care providers & health care payors to opt out of participation in or payment for health care services by conscience-based objections without discrimination or threat of adverse actions,” the bill reads.
On Wednesday, the House filed a Committee Substitution for the bill, meaning a “committee of reference may again rewrite the bill, and more than one bill may be combined.”