• A different mandate

    From The Hill:

    New legislation would allow people an exemption from the healthcare mandate by filing an affidavit with the IRS.

    Those seeking the exemption would be required to tell the IRS that they don’t have insurance because of their religious beliefs. If those seeking the exemption later used healthcare services under the law, they would lose their eligibility for the exemption from buying insurance and would have to pay a penalty.

    @afrakt, via phone. H/t Wonkbook.

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    • Who in CMS has the job of making the determinations? What fun. Do they now have a Dept of Spiritual Guidance and Decrees?

      I was thinking god help us, but really, god needs to help them. :)

    • My reading is that there will be no evaluation of the affidavit, you file you are exempt. A sort of waive and chase users the way we pay claims and chase fraud now.

    • This has been one of my biggest critiques since I first read about the mandate in 2010. How does one prove that an individual is fraudulently declaring a religious exemption? This is just one of the many reasons I do not believe the mandate will work. Also, in the case anyone thinks I am being anti-ACA, far from it – I do not like the mandate because I do not think it is strong enough.

      • You don’t. You do what the law says and just penalize anyone who claims religious exemption and later claims a benefit under the law. No theological judgement necessary.

        I’m holding off worrying about the strength of the mandate until we get some actual data. Sure there might be fraud of that nature, but my guess is no more than any other government program. Hell of a lot easier to catch people for not paying income tax but people still try that…

    • The ACA has a special exception on the books now for religious “health care sharing ministries.” Sam Grover published an excellent article on this in AJLM earlier this year.