This month, the Texas legislature is beginning consideration of a misguided piece of legislation, HB 573. This legislation would grant unlimited power to the Department of Insurance to impose burdensome restrictions on Health Care Sharing Ministries, infringing upon the First Amendment rights of every Texan.
Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries Fellow, Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach recently published an opinion piece in the Focus Daily News. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
“This harmful legislation would significantly expand the jurisdiction of the Department of Insurance over religious ministries. With nearly unlimited power afforded through the bill, this bureaucracy could impose insurance-style restrictions on Health Care Sharing Ministries that would threaten their unique religious identity and even shut them down.
HB 573 is also a direct threat to religious freedom by requiring Health Care Sharing Ministries to report to the state their vendors and demographic information about their members. And, it would actually ban ministries from providing any free health care services to their members!
Furthermore, the bill would restrict First Amendment-protected speech by prohibiting ministries from communicating factual, historical information about their financial performance over time and their record of faithfully sharing expenses of members. It also brazenly dictates the content of their advertisements, down to the font size.”
Texas residents and supporters of Health Care Sharing Ministries should take a stand for choice in Texas and contact members of the Texas House Insurance Committee and tell them to fix HB 573.