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17 March 2010

Ervin: Health Care Freedom Act Passes House

“The States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones.  I wish, therefore … never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.”
–Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge William Johnson, June 12, 1823

This week Missouri citizens got the upper hand for a change due to House action on two proposals.

The first win occurred on Tuesday when the House passed the Health Care Freedom Act, which is essential in securing the rights of patients to make their own health care choices.

As I have written before, the question of patient rights has been bubbling to the surface as an issue important to those interested in keeping the relationship between patient and doctor in tact.

The essence of the proposed constitutional amendment is this, "To preserve the freedom of citizens of this state to provide for their health care, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly or through penalties or fines, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system."

The proposed amendment ensures that:
  • Each Missouri citizen has the right to pay for health care services with their own money,
  • Health care providers may accept direct payment for services rendered by Missouri citizens,
  • The purchase and sale of health insurance shall not be prohibited by law or rule, and;
  • No person will be required to pay fines or penalties if they choose to purchase their own health care and accept payment for providing health care services.
In other words, an individual cannot be forced to participate in a health care system without their consent and that individuals have the freedom to participate.

The second win for Missouri citizens occurred Wednesday when the House passed the Missouri Patient Privacy Act (HB1382).  This legislation extends federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy protections to any entity that stores your personal health information ensuring that your personal health information cannot be disclosed to anyone without the written consent of the patient, except in cases where the disclosure is in connection with the performance of the official duties of the employee of such entity.

These proposals are now in the hands of the Missouri Senate.  Their fate will depend upon their dedication to our fundamental liberty.

As I have said before, health care is personal, it is about us, each of us, and we deserve our rightful place in making health care decisions.  The Health Care Freedom Act which I have sponsored keeps government in its place and the Missouri Patient Privacy Act which I also sponsored maintains the privacy of our personal health information in this new digital world.

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns.  LaTonya Percival, my Legislative Assistant, and I are always available to answer questions and address your concerns.  I can be reached in Jefferson City at (573)751-2238 or you can write me at doug{dot}ervin{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov or regular mail at 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 412A, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

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