Florida Bill Could Allow Doctors To Deny Care To LGBTQ+ Patients

The bill also does not require doctors to refer patients to another doctor.

Florida is considering a bill that could allow doctors and insurance companies the right to deny care based on what law-makers are calling “conscience-based objection.” The Florida House Health and Human Services Committee voted to approve the bill early this week, and next it will head to the full house for consideration.

The bill, which is being framed as a means to give providers more freedom, raises concerns that it could allow doctors and insurers to refuse treatment and coverage for minorities — specifically within the LGBTQ+ community.

HB1403 is already being met with criticism and fear, as it further endangers LGBTQ+ affirming care and birth control as well as other treatments that might have religious objections.

The bill not only protects physicians and insurance companies legally for refusing care, it doesn’t require them to refer patients to another doctor.

The bill, however, does include an amendment clarifying that it does not apply to emergency medical treatment.

House Democratic leader Fentrice Driskell spoke to reported on Monday and called the bill dangerous and discriminatory.

“This would allow a healthcare provider or insurer to deny medical care to a patient based on religious, moral or ethical opinions,” she said. “You can imagine how this could be weaponised against the LGBTQ+ community, but could also be abused against abortion, contraception… or any medical procedure.

“This is dangerous, it’s discriminatory, it’s not well thought-out, and will make Floridians’ already-expensive healthcare worse in terms of quality.”

HB1403 unfortunately comes as no surprise following the uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping Florida recently, after a ban on gender-affirming care for trans young people has passed, and a ban on public drag performances is being considered. And most notably, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law was passed a year ago, which banned discussion of LGBTQ+ identities in most classrooms.

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