Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Democrats Exempt Conservative Christians From Mandatory Health Care

Did you ever think you would see the day this would happen?
Just before 11:00 p.m. this past Sunday night, the House passed the Senate amendments to the health care bill. 
The final recorded vote was 219 to 212, with 219 Democrats and zero Republicans voting for it, and 34 Democrats and 178 Republicans voting against.
The bill is an Internal Revenue Code bill. The core feature of the health care bill is that it forces people to have health care insurance and punishes offenders with a tax. Section 10106(a) of the bill says that: “In the absence of the requirement, some individuals would make an economic and financial decision to forego health insurance coverage and attempt to self-insure, which increases financial risks to households and medical providers.” 
Section 10106(b) then mandates, “If a taxpayer who is an applicable individual… fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) for 1 or more months, then… there is hereby imposed on the taxpayer a penalty with respect to such failures”. The Senate voted on a tax penalty of 2% of the person’s annual income, and the House upped that to 2.5%. 
The New York Times has reported that the Attorneys general in at least three states — Virginia, Florida and South Carolina —will file legal challenges primarily on the grounds that forcing individuals to buy insurance is a violation of the Constitution. (The Christian Science Monitor says the Attorneys general from Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Utah, North Dakota, and South Dakota will also challenge the law itself and the manner in which it was passed as being unconstitutional.
A Supreme Court case they are likely to cite is Clinton v. City of New York in which Justice Kennedy said: “Separation of powers was designed to implement a fundamental insight: Concentration of power in the hands of a single branch is a threat to liberty.
The Federalist [Paper No. 47] states the axiom in these explicit terms: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
It is all the more startling then, that in the midst of this sweeping new legislation is the “Religious Exemption”, Section 1501(b), which states: “The term ‘applicable individual’… shall not include any individual for any month if such individual is a member of a health care sharing ministry for the month.”
The bill then defines a “health care sharing ministry” to be any 501(c)(3) organization which has existed since at least 1999 whose members “share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses among members in accordance with those beliefs”.
A legislative white paper written by the Citizens Council on Health Care in January 2010 just after the Senate  inserted that exemption, noted that, “There are three medical sharing ministries in the United States: Medi-Share, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Samaritan Ministries International. They serve from 25,000 to 42,000 people. … Common membership requirements include an agreement not to smoke, drink heavily, or use illicit drugs. Members must attend church regularly, and agree not to have sex outside of marriage… monthly fees for a family of four are between $240 and $400.”
The Democrats passed their mandatory health care bill, yet all conservative Christians are exempt if they want to be -- and the only requirement is that they have to live a biblical lifestyle.
Did you ever think you would see the day this would happen?

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