SPONSOR:   

Rep. Hudson & Rep. Cathcart & Rep. Briggs King & Rep. Hocker & Rep. Lavelle & Sen. Simpson;

 

Reps. D. Short, Carey, Kovach, Lee, Oberle, Outten, Ramone, Wilson; Sen. Bonini

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

145th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

HOUSE BILL NO. 353

 

 

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 AND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY AND DUTIES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

 


 


WHEREAS, the power to require or regulate a person’s choice in the mode of securing health care services, or to impose a penalty related thereto, is not found in the Constitution of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, such authority is therefore a power reserved to the people pursuant to the Ninth Amendment, and to the several states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment; and

WHEREAS, the State of Delaware hereby exercises its sovereign power to declare the public policy of the State of Delaware regarding the right of all residents in choosing the mode of securing health care services; and

WHEREAS, it is hereby declared that the public policy of the State of Delaware, consistent with our constitutionally recognized and inalienable rights of liberty, is that every person within the State of Delaware is, and unless and until legislated by the State of Delaware itself, shall be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty;

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1.  Amend Title 16 of the Delaware Code by adding a new chapter to Title 16 to read:

“CHAPTER 99A.  DELAWARE HEALTH CARE FREEDOM ACT

§ 9901A.  Title of chapter. 

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Delaware Health Care Freedom Act’.

§ 9902A.  Definitions. 

For purposes of this chapter, unless the content otherwise requires:

(1)           ‘health care services’ means any service, treatment, or provision of product for the care of physical or mental disease, illness, injury, defect, or condition, or to otherwise maintain or improve physical or mental health, subject to all laws and rules regulating health service providers and products within the State of Delaware;

(2)           ‘mode of securing’ means to purchase directly or on credit or by trade, or to contract for third party payment by insurance or other legal means authorized by the State of Delaware, or to apply for or accept employer- or government-sponsored health care benefits under such conditions as may legally be required as a condition of such benefits, or any combination of the same;

 (3)          ‘penalty’ means any civil or criminal fine, tax, salary or wage withholding, surcharge, fee, or any other imposed consequence established by law or rule of a government or its subdivision or agency that is used to punish or discourage the exercise of rights protected under this chapter.

§ 9903A.  Statement of public policy.

(a)           The people of Delaware have the right to enter into private contracts with health care providers for health care services and to purchase private health care coverage.  The United States Congress may not require any person to participate in any health care system or plan, nor may it impose a penalty, fine, tax, surcharge, or fee of any type for choosing to obtain or decline health care coverage or for participation in any particular health care system or plan.  Only the State of Delaware has the legal authority to regulate private health care insurance, systems, plans, and services for the people of Delaware within its borders.

(b)           The policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section may not be applied to impair any right of contract related to the provision of health care services to any person or group.

§9904A.  Enforcement.

(a)           A public official, employee, or agent of the State of Delaware, or any of its political subdivisions, may not impose, collect, enforce, or effectuate any penalty in the State of Delaware that violates the public policy set forth in     § 9903A of this chapter.

 (b)          The attorney general shall take such action as is provided in § 2504(10) of Title 29 in the defense or prosecution of rights protected under this chapter.”.

Section 2.  Amend § 2504, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new paragraph (10) to read:

“(10)       To seek injunctive and any other appropriate relief as expeditiously as possible to preserve the rights and property of the residents of the state of Delaware, and to defend as necessary the State of Delaware, its officials, employees, and agents in the event that any law or regulation violating the public policy set forth in the Delaware Health Care Freedom Act, Chapter 99A of Title 16, is enacted by any government, subdivision, or agency thereof.”.


SYNOPSIS

This bill, a.k.a. the Delaware Health Care Freedom Act, clarifies that only the State of Delaware has the legal authority to regulate private healthcare insurance, systems, plans, and services within its borders.  The bill specifies and guarantees that Delawareans are, and shall be, free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty.  The bill further expands the duties of the state attorney general to defend the State of Delaware, its officials, employees, and agents in the event that any law or regulation violating the public policy set forth in the Delaware Health Care Freedom Act is enacted by any government, subdivision, or agency thereof.  The enactment of this legislation would not interfere with the ongoing implementation of the healthcare aspects of any existing government program where Delawareans have agreed to take part and which do not carry penalties for non-participation.