Why Amish won’t have to purchase insurance, but Muslims will cry foul

The recent health-care reform legislation carries a controversial mandate that all Americans obtain health insurance, but careful study of the passed law reveals there are some groups – the Amish, for example – that can obtain an exemption.

For devout Muslims, however, whose religious beliefs forbid purchasing insurance, the mandate is still binding, religion or not. And most other religious, political or conscientious objectors will similarly find themselves out of luck if they hope to be excused from the requirement.

There is a clause in the fine print, however, that could provide an out for those willing to take it.

Section 1501 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act adds a new chapter to the Internal Revenue Code mandating all “applicable” individuals either obtain health insurance that meets the bill’s “minimum essential coverage” standards or pay a penalty on tax day.

Section 1501 also spells out exceptions, those who are not considered “applicable” individuals, both for the mandate and for the penalty. Illegal aliens, foreign nationals and incarcerated prisoners, for example, are exempt from the mandate. The extreme poor and members of Indian tribes, while not exempt from the requirement, are nonetheless excused from paying the penalty.

But section 1501 also carries a pair of “religious exemptions” that will allow the Amish to escape the mandate but require Muslims and other religious objectors to get creative.

The law creates a religious exemption for those who are members and faithful adherents of a “recognized religious sect or division” with “established tenets or teachings” barring the “acceptance of the benefits of any private or public insurance.”

For individuals who do not belong to a denomination with specific bans on insurance, therefore, personal religious objections will not exempt them from the mandate.>>>>>> READ MORE


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