Five health-freedom and patient-rights themed bills introduced

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HEALTHCARE REFORMS – Five bills were introduced to advance healthcare choice and protections at the Vermont Statehouse.

The public health-freedom advocacy group Health Choice Vermont has highlighted five bills introduced at the Statehouse which all concern various aspects of healthcare rights.

“This year in 2023 we are thrilled to announce that Representative Mark Higley and co-sponsors from all over Vermont are introducing a package of bills aimed at enhancing medical safety, honoring medical ethics, and protecting our health rights.” they wrote.

“We do hope that you will come out strongly in support and contact your elected persons early and often. Let them know the importance of these bills and be sure to thank the sponsors!”

Rep. Mark Higley, R-Lowell, is the primary sponsor of each bill.

H.189 – “An act relating to reporting on adverse reactions related to immunizations”

The first bill that they highlight is H.189.

“This bill proposes to require the Department of Health to submit an annual report to the General Assembly regarding adverse reactions reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System [VAERS],” its text states.

The bill continues that efforts will be made to increase reporting from Vermont into the system.

“A health care practitioner administering vaccinations shall report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, in consultation with the patient, or,
if a minor, the patient’s parent or guardian, all significant adverse events that occur after vaccination of adults and children, even if the practitioner is unsure whether a vaccine caused the adverse event,” it states.

VAERS has been under scrutiny in recent years for reports that the system fails to accurately represent the total scope of injuries.

The bill has ten sponsors, all Republican but one, who is Rep. James Masland, D-Thetford.

H.188 – An act relating to informed consent for the administration of immunizations

The next bill highlighted H.188. This bill seeks to have a formal definition for the phrase ”

“This bill proposes to establish a definition for “lack of informed consent” as applies to the administration of immunizations for the purpose of medical malpractice actions,” its text states.

In that definition, it shall include, “the failure of the person providing the professional treatment or diagnosis to disclose to the patient such alternatives thereto and the reasonably foreseeable risks and benefits involved as a reasonable medical practitioner.”

All vaccines currently come with package inserts that must list all the ingredients and potential side effects. However, healthcare providers currently are only required to share these packets at the patient’s request.

The bill currently has four sponsors, all Republicans.

H.182 – An act relating to bodily autonomy and health care decision making

The third bill listed is H.182, which aims to protect a patient’s rights in the case that he/she does not wish to take a shot.

“This bill proposes to recognize and to prohibit any interference with an individual’s rights to bodily autonomy, to make the individual’s own health care decisions, and to be free to accept or refuse any health or medical intervention, testing, treatment, or vaccine based on the individual’s own religious, conscientious, or personal beliefs.”

This bill only has two sponsors, one being Higley and the other is Rep. Charles Wilson, R-Lyndon.

H.187 – An act relating to establishing ‘conscientious exemptions’ at schools and childcare facilities

This bill would effectively reverse the 2015 bill that took away the philosophical exemptions available to residents until that point.

“This bill proposes to establish an exemption to immunizations required for attendance at school and child care facilities on the basis of conscientious and personal beliefs,” it states.

Vermonters still have a religious exemption available.

This bill has three sponsors, who are Higley, Rep. Thomas Burditt, R-West Rutland, and Rep. Arthur Peterson, R-Clarendon.

[TBD] – An act relating to prohibiting discrimination based on immunization status

This bill does not yet have a page on the legislature’s website or a bill number, but Health Choice Vermont has listed it among these as another bill that will advance healthcare freedom.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

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