$300M health system cost to comply with religious rights

Roger Severino_785764

Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights, is interviewed, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at the office of Health and Human Services in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A new effort under President Donald Trump to protect the rights of health workers who object to abortions and other procedures will cost the health care system more than $300 million to implement, the government is estimating.

Hospitals and other service providers will have to meet new federal requirements for posting notices to employees, drafting policies and other steps.

More than 40 complaints alleging violations of conscience and religious rights have been filed since Trump took office.

Critics say that’s a small number compared with the millions of health care workers. They worry that religion will become a pretext for discrimination.

Roger Severino is head of the Health and Human Services office that will oversee the administration’s effort. He says conscience rights have been neglected. Social conservatives wanted greater enforcement.

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