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Relating to the operation of health care sharing ministries; authorizing a fee; providing a civil penalty.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 573 would require that health care sharing ministries obtain a certification of registration to operate in Texas and annually renew this certification. A fee would be imposed for an application for certification or renewal of certification, this fee would not exceed $100, unless the renewal is sought after the certification has already expired. In such a case the ministry would have a a maximum of 90 days to renew the certification and the fee for doing so would increase in 30 day increments to a maximum of $1,000.
Additionally this bill would prevent health care sharing ministries from making a direct or indirect representation that it provides insurance or that a health care service is free or included with membership. It would also require all health care sharing ministries to display on their disclaimer notices, that "payment of your medical expenses is not guaranteed."
Texas Action strongly opposes HB 573 because it violates the free market, limited government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility principles. This bill is a blatant attack on health care sharing ministries, mandating all kinds of government regulation and resultant fees.
The government has no business trying to sway the market in this way nor hinder any Texan's right to choose or explore health care sharing ministries as a means of receiving affordable health care.