March 14, 2022
WASHINGTON D.C. — A new legislative assault in Colorado on health care choices has Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries (The Alliance, ahcsm.org) sounding the alarm. Colorado bill HB 22-1269 is a fundamentally flawed bill that would undermine the ability of more than 50,000 Colorado Christians to choose a health care option that matches their budget and their beliefs.
The bill, introduced by House Insurance Chair Representative Susan Lontine, burdens Health Care Sharing Ministries with an onerous regulatory scheme that seems designed to shut down Health Care Sharing Ministries that have faithfully served Coloradans for decades.
The Alliance urges support for an alternative bill introduced by Representative Mark Baisley, HB 22-1198. Baisley’s proposal would provide strong protections for the religious liberty rights of the Colorado Christians who have chosen Health Care Sharing Ministries for their families, while simultaneously requiring important disclosures to current and prospective members and prohibiting deceptive practices.
According to Katy Talento, executive director of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, Lontine’s bill is “a grant of unlimited power to the Division of Insurance over religious ministries that overrides the religious exercise of the faith communities involved in Health Care Sharing. This bill potentially subjects these communities to unfair and unwarranted bureaucratic examination, surpassing the scrutiny applied to health insurers, and tramples the First Amendment rights of every Coloradan.”
The bill would:
- Require ministries to file detailed disclosures of everything from the ministry’s organizational chart to publicly naming every organization that is associated with the ministry, from accountants and IT vendors, churches, other ministries, to janitorial services and office suppliers.
- Redefine Health Care Sharing Ministries as simply unlicensed health insurance as opposed to what they really are—communities of believers sharing their burdens with each other in accordance with their faith.
- Give the Commissioner unlimited, open-ended ability to demand any other information from ministries, no matter how burdensome, intrusive or irrelevant.
- Allow the Commissioner to publish a “blacklist” of ministries, their supporters and vendors, subjecting them to being persecuted or “canceled” on the basis of their faith.
If approved, any ministries failing to meet these burdensome requirements to the letter could be shut down, immediately, with no due process.
Colorado members and supporters of Health Care Sharing Ministries should contact their Colorado House representative and their Colorado Senator and urge them to OPPOSE HB 22-1269 and its unfair treatment of thousands of religious Coloradans, and instead SUPPORT the Baisley bill, HB 22-1198, which carefully addresses the actual issues and respects their religious liberty.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries is a 501(c)(6) trade organization representing the common interests of Health Care Sharing Ministry organizations which are facilitating the sharing of health care needs (financial, emotional, and spiritual) by individuals and families, and their participants. The Alliance engages with federal and state regulators, members of the media, and the Christian community to provide accurate and timely information on medical cost sharing.