The following Bills were passed by the Michigan House of Representatives on April 21, 2004: -----HB 5006- Permits health care providers to refuse to provide health care services based on ethical, moral or religious grounds. Exceptions to this include 1) when a patient’s condition requires immediate action and no other qualified health provider is available, 2) a public health emergency, or 3) if the objection is based on the classification of patient protected under the Michigan Civil Rights Act. -----HB 5276- Permits health care facilities to refuse to provide health care services on ethical, moral or religious grounds. Exceptions include 1) if this is a health care service the facility routinely provides the service if the patient has consented to the provision of the service, 2) in the event of a public health emergency, and 3) where a patient’s condition requires immediate action to avert serious injury, harm, impairment or death or such delay would create a serious risk of substantial or irreversible impairment to a major bodily function of the patient. -----HB 5277- Permits a health care corporation to refuse to provide health care benefits based on ethical, moral or religious grounds, unless benefit is already covered under health care benefit certificate. -----HB 5278- Permits health maintenance organization (HMO) and health insurers to refuse to offer or provide a health care benefit on basis of ethical , moral or religious grounds, unless benefit is specifically covered under the contract, policy or certificate. WHAT THIS MEANS FOR LGBT PEOPLE-- Doctors, health care providers, and health facilities can refuse health care treatment to LGBT individuals if they can demonstrate that this would violate their religious, moral or ethical beliefs. Emergency medical treatment or life saving treatment cannot be denied, nor services that a health care facility routinely provides. The terms moral or ethical beliefs are not defined and could be interpreted broadly enough to include denying a person care because of the belief that “homosexuality” is wrong. Sexual orientation and gender identity/expression are not protected categories under Michigan Civil Rights laws. Health care corporations, HMOs and health insurances can refuse to provide or cover certain kinds of medical services (which could include safer-sex counseling, artificial insemination and fertility treatments for gay and lesbian patients who want to have children, hormone therapy and sexual reassignment surgery for transgendered persons). See the case of Benitez v North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group, where doctors refused to provide a patient with infertility treatments because of her sexual orientation). It would authorize health care entities to refuse to provide information about available health care alternatives. Health care providers would not be obligated to provide referrals to LGBT patients who have been denied a particular health care service or procedure. This is particularly important in the area of reproductive rights for all women. If a low-income woman asked her Medicaid provider for information about how to end a pregnancy resulting from rape, that provider could refuse to discuss the subject even though federal and state laws entitle Medicaid patients to coverage for abortion in cases of rape. A 2001 ACLU poll found that 72 percent of the public agrees, “religious liberty is not threatened by requiring hospitals to provide basic medical care.” We’re not talking about limiting a person’s ability to worship, but access to basic medical care. The public is concerned that allowing religious refusals in health care obstructs patients’ access to medical care and violates their right to make their own health care decisions. And Americans believe strongly that the government should hold “all hospitals”- whether religiously affiliated or not, to the same standards. It is essential that you contact your State Senator and Governor Granholm now and tell them to oppose this legislation. The legislation is about legitimizing discrimination in health care services, pushing a narrow agenda that could endanger LGBT people’s health and lives.