John Berlau details an escape hatch for small business owners caught paying the “liberty tax.” This one is news to me, even after watching the train wreck unfold for four years:
Buried in Section 1501 on page 148 of the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an exemption from the individual mandate for a “health care sharing ministry,” a group whose members “share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses among members in accordance with those beliefs.” For any member of such group, the law says, “No penalty shall be imposed.”
It’s somewhat of a mystery how those pushing the law allowed such a potentially large exemption to the individual mandate to be inserted in the first place. This is definitely a case in which the law’s supporters, four years after the law has passed, don’t seem to know what’s in it. But fortunately, many Americans are finding and utilizing this escape hatch.
Health care ministries have been around since the 1990s, but they have grown by leaps and bounds since Obamacare passed and especially since the disastrous launch of the exchanges last fall. According to FoxNews.com, “Since the launch of HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1, membership at each of the ministries has exploded, with nearly 30,000 new enrollees — more than the number of people who selected a plan through Obamacare in 24 states.”
Health care ministries are not insurance in the sense that there is no contractual obligation to cover any service. As described by CatholicVote.org, “It’s a program in which members make a monthly monetary donation which is matched with the needs of other members who face medical bills, thus covering each others’ medical costs through a program of mutual, voluntary giving.”
Membership is exploding? No doubt. There’s an old saw I’ve never been able to source, but I remember it like so: “Show me a man’s incentives, and I’ll tell you what he does.”
♡bamaCare!!! incentivizes all kinds of odd, perverse, or previously almost unheard-of behaviors.