One Hundred Fifty Thousand Health Care Sharing Members at Risk of Losing First Amendment Rights in Texas

Samaritan Ministries International Urges Texas Residents to Oppose House Bill 573 and Protect Health Care Sharing Ministries in Their State

April 19, 2021

AUSTIN, Tex. — 1.5 million Americans have chosen to join a Health Care Sharing Ministry to provide for their families’ health care needs, including more than 150,000 Texans.

This month, the Texas legislature is considering a misguided piece of legislation, HB 573 (and its companion bill, SB 1271). The bill, as introduced by House Insurance Committee Chairman Tom Oliverson, would punish Christians in Texas who are members of Health Care Sharing Ministries.

“Chairman Oliverson is now considering a modification of the bill that would actually impose a punitive registration scheme on Health Care Sharing Ministries, who have faithfully served their members, while leaving untouched the for-profit and secular sharing organizations that have harmed consumers,” said Joel Noble, director of public policy at Samaritan Ministries International (Samaritan, www.samaritanministries.org).

This grant of unlimited power to the Department of Insurance over religious ministries and their non-insurance programs would unfairly burden the religious exercise of these faith communities and infringe upon the First Amendment rights of every Texan.

“Chairman Oliverson’s bill is out of touch with the Texas legislature’s historical leadership in preserving the freedoms of people of faith. This bill doesn’t reflect or represent the values of hundreds of thousands of Texans who have chosen a Health Care Sharing Ministry to provide for their family since the late 1980s. We urge Texans to contact Chairman Oliverson, as well as Senate Business and Commerce Committee Chairman Kelly Hancock and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, to inform these leaders that they oppose this bill and wish to keep a health care option that matches their budget and their beliefs.”

HB 573 received a hearing in the Texas House of Representatives Insurance Committee on March 9th. Chairman Tom Oliverson could place the bill on the Committee’s calendar at any time, to receive a vote and then move to a full floor vote by the Texas House of Representatives soon after.

Texas members and supporters of Health Care Sharing Ministries should contact their Texas House representative and their Texas Senator and urge them to OPPOSE HB 573 and its discriminatory treatment of 150,000 religious Texans, and demand respect for their religious liberty.

Samaritan Ministries provides followers of Jesus Christ with an effective, Bible-driven health care community in which approximately $30 million in medical needs is shared person-to-person every month. During the past 26 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $2.9 billion in needs while praying for and encouraging other fellow members through personal notes, cards, and letters.

Learn more about Samaritan Ministries International here; visit the Samaritan website at www.samaritanministries.org, or follow the ministry on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries International, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Marjorie Pratt, 610.584.1096, ext. 107, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.