Does Del. Bill Intend To Usurp Parental Oversight?


Delaware House Republicans are stepping up their opposition to a measure they say would usurp parental oversight over sensitive matters regarding their children, such as abortion or gender identity.
House Bill 400, sponsored by Democratic Representative Krista Griffith, D-Wilmington area would allow dependents to receive health care services without the knowledge of the policy-holder. Griffith has said it is mainly for young adults up to age 24 who are still covered by a family health plan but may not want their parents to know about certain tests or treatment. The tests and procedures are detailed normally in the explanation of benefits.
GOP leaders plan to seek amendments to ensure that it’s clear that it only addresses the issue of adult confidentiality. Supporters of HB 400 have said that young people would be discouraged from seeking treatment if every expense is detailed with their parents or guardians

“They make a legitimate point,” House Minority Leader Danny Short, R-Seaford said.  “Under the federal Affordable Care Act, children can remain on their parent’s health care plan until they are 26 years old.  Since individuals who reach the age of 18 are legally autonomous, our members agree that adult children should be able to preserve the confidentiality of their health care decisions.”

“Most Delawareans are also unaware that parents signing school-based wellness center consent forms may be waiving their right to be informed of the services their children receive there,” House Minority Whip Tim Dukes, R-Laurel said. Dukes also made reference to a new statute, former House Bill 320, that allows physician assistance and advanced practice registered nurses to prescribe medication for terminating early-stage pregnancies.

“HB 320 & 400 appear to be two steps in a three-step process to allow minors, 12 to 18, to receive abortion drugs at school-based wellness centers – or any doctor’s office, clinic, or health care facility – without parental knowledge,” Dukes added.  “With the enactment of HB 400, insurance companies would be barred from informing parents about the meds paid for by their policies. The final step would be to amend Title 13 to expand the scope of medical services for which minors, 12 to 18, could self-approve to include abortion services, gender transition services, and other procedures. These items are specifically included in HB 400’s list of ‘sensitive health care services.’”

“At the heart of this maneuvering is an arrogant presumption that keeping parents out of health care decisions involving their minor children will lead to better outcomes,” Short said.  “The lawmakers backing these actions view parents with unveiled suspicion, not trusting them to act in the best interests of their children.”

GOP leaders plan to seek amendments to ensure that it’s clear that it only addresses the issue of adult confidentiality.