HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 25
(By Delegates J. Miller, Cowles, Andes,
Hall, Carmichael, Duke and Armstead)
[Introduced January 18, 2011; referred to the
Committee on Constitution Revision then the Judiciary.]
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, amending article III thereof by adding thereto a new section, designated section twenty-three, relating to preserving the freedom of West Virginians to provide for their healthcare thereof; numbering and designating such proposed amendment; and providing a summarized statement of the purpose of such proposed amendment.
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:
That the question of ratification or rejection of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be submitted to the voters of the state at the next general election to be held in the year 2012, which proposed amendment is that article III thereof be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section twenty-three, to read as follows:
ARTICLE III. BILL OF RIGHTS.
§23. Healthcare Freedom Amendment.
To preserve the freedom of West Virginians to provide for their healthcare:
Subsection A -- No Compulsory Healthcare.
(1) A law or rule may not compel directly or indirectly any person, employer or healthcare provider to participate in any healthcare system.
Subsection B -- No penalties to be assessed for direct payment of healthcare services.
(2) A person or employer may pay directly for lawful healthcare services and may not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful healthcare services. A healthcare provider may accept direct payment for lawful healthcare services and may not be required to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful healthcare services.
Subsection C -- Sale of Private Health Insurance may not be prohibited.
(3) Subject to reasonable and necessary rules that do not substantially limit a person's options, the purchase or sale of health insurance in private healthcare systems may not be prohibited by law or rule.
Subsection D -- No compulsory healthcare.
(4) This section does not:
(a) Affect which healthcare services a healthcare provider or hospital is required to perform or provide;
(b) Affect which healthcare services are permitted by 1aw.
(c) Prohibit care provided pursuant to any provision of this
Constitution or any statutes enacted by the Legislature relating to workers’ compensation;
(d) Affect laws or rules in effect as of January 1, 2010;
(e) Affect the terms or conditions of any healthcare system to the extent that those terms and conditions do not have the effect of punishing a person or employer for paying directly for lawful healthcare services or a healthcare provider or hospital for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful healthcare services.
Subsection E -- Definitions.
(5) For purposes of this section:
(a) "Compe1" includes penalties or fines;
(b) "Direct payment or pay directly" means payment for lawful
healthcare services without a public or private third party, not including an emplover, paying for any portion of the service.
(c) "Healthcare system" means any public or private entity whose function or purpose is the management of processing of enrollment of individuals for or payment for, in full or in part, healthcare services or healthcare information for its participants.
(d) "Lawful healthcare services" means any health-related service or treatment to the extent that the service or treatment is permitted or not prohibited by law or regulation that may be provided by persons or businesses otherwise permitted to offer such services.
(e) "Penalties or fines" means anv civil or criminal penalty
or fine, tax, salary or wage withholding or surcharge or any named fee with a similar effect established by law or rule by a government established, created or controlled agency that is used to punish or discourage the exercise of rights protected under this section.
Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of article eleven, chapter three of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, such proposed amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment No. 1" and designated as "The Healthcare Freedom Amendment" and the purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows "to preserve the freedom of West Virginians to provide for their healthcare."
NOTE: The purpose of this resolution is to preserve the freedom of West Virginians to provide for their healthcare by prohibiting coercion in healthcare choice and in payment for health services.
This section is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.