New House Bill Would Add Religious Exemption To Obamacare Mandate

A bill in the House of Representatives, with bipartisan support, would provide a religious exemption to the insurance mandate in Obamacare. This would allow those who object because of religious conscience to opt out of the mandate with an affidavit.

Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) authored H.R. 6597 and has garnered support from both sides of the aisle, including Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Todd Akin (R-MO), Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The bill seeks to amend section 5000A(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by adding a new subparagraph titled “Additional Religious Exemption.”

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According to the subparagraph it would allow individuals to file an affidavit, along with their tax returns, that would state that their “sincerely held religious beliefs” would cause them to “object to the medical health care that would be covered under such coverage.”

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While this does not help businesses like Hobby Lobby, who are battling the federal government’s Health and Human Services mandate, it looks promising for individuals. The issue came to the forefront when the Roman Catholic Church brought up that it would violate the consciences of individuals in their religious institutions because being forced to purchase government ordained insurance would necessarily pay for contraception, which the RCC believes to be immoral.

Section ii of the bill’s proposed amendment also nullifies the affidavit if the individual receives health care that would have been covered by insurance. This would be to keep people from abusing the “religious exemption.”

The bill reads, “NULLIFIED IF RECEIPT OF MEDICAL HEALTH CARE DURING TAXABLE YEAR- Clause (i) shall not apply to an individual for any month during a taxable year if the individual received medical health care during the taxable year.”

The things listed that are considered non-voluntary in the bill are: Treatment not administered or supervised by a medical doctor, such as chiropractic treatment, dental care, midwifery, personal care assistance, or optometry, physical examinations or treatment where required by law or third parties, such as a prospective employer, and vaccinations.”

So what is the bottom line here? It looks as if simply providing the affidavit will grant you an exemption on the insurance mandate, should the bill be passed. However, if you then seek health care during the year, you will lose that exemption, which seems rather silly if you are paying out of pocket, and then you would be subject to the tax for being uninsured.

I applaud the efforts here, I really do. I just wish that Republicans would go for the jugular the way the Democrats do. We are constantly wanting little bits and pieces and trying to get scraps from the table and we constantly lose more than we gain. Democrats always go for the whole enchilada and that way they end up, almost universally, getting more of what they want. It’s time Republicans do that too.

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