Hilarycare Respected Conscience

by Patrick Brennan

A Massachusetts political website called RedMassGroup has discovered that the 1994 Democratic health-care proposal, “Hilarycare,” contained a thorough conscience exemption for individuals, employers, health-care providers, and health-insurance companies, saying that employers would be prevented from contributing to a health-care package if they “object to such services on the basis of a religious belief or moral conviction.” In fact, it seems to be at least as broad as the Blunt amendment which the Senate will vote on tomorrow. The relevant section below:

SEC. 21223. PROVISIONS RELATING TO RELIGIOUS BELIEF OR MORAL CONVICTION.

   Nothing in this title shall be construed to–

       (1) prevent any individual from purchasing a standard benefits package which excludes coverage of abortion services, if the individual objects to abortion on the basis of a religious belief or moral conviction;

       (2) prevent any employer from contributing to the purchase of a standard benefits package which excludes coverage of abortion or other services, if the employer objects to such services on the basis of a religious belief or moral conviction;

       (3) require any health professional or health facility to perform or assist in the performance of any health care service, if the health professional or facility objects to performing or assisting in the performance of such a service on the basis of a religious belief or moral conviction; and

       (4) require any commercial insurance company, Blue Cross plan, integrated health plan, or any other organization that assumes health insurance risk to offer a package including abortion or other services, if the health plan sponsor objects to covering such services on the basis of a religious belief or moral conviction.

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