Obamacare Rumors that JUST WON’T DIE! (Part 1)

So this week I’ve seen quite a few comments regarding Obamacare that one would think would have passed out of existence by now, but thanks to wonderful little jewels on Facebook, they are still persisting. I’m hoping to dispel a few of the more irritating ones beginning with this entry…

EX1Muslims are exempt from Obamacare!:

I find this one to be extremely irritating, not just because it’s a big distortion of the truth, but it is based on another lie (that Obama is a Muslim), and it also shows blatant racism. Muslims are not specifically exempt from the Affordable Care Act, however there are exemptions for religious grounds… ANY religion that has issue with health or medical care. One of the specific clauses, located on page 107 states:

(5) EXEMPTIONS FROM INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.—In the case of an individual who is seeking an exemption certificate under section 1311(d)(4)(H) from any requirement or penalty imposed by section 5000A, the following information [is required]:

(A) In the case of an individual seeking exemption based on the individual’s status as a member of an exempt religious sect or division, as a member of a health care sharing ministry, as an Indian, or as an individual eligible for a hardship exemption, such information as the Secretary shall prescribe.

Page 128 says:

(A) RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE EXEMPTION.—Such term [i.e., “applicable individual”] shall not include any individual for any month if such individual has in effect an exemption under section 1311(d)(4)(H) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which certifies that such individual is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof described in section 1402(g)(1) and an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division as described in such section.

The above passage amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, of which section 1402(g)(1) defines “a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof” as follows:

RE(1) Exemption
Any individual may file an application (in such form and manner, and with such official, as may be prescribed by regulations under this chapter) for an exemption from the tax imposed by this chapter if he is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof and is an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division by reason of which he is conscientiously opposed to acceptance of the benefits of any private or public insurance which makes payments in the event of death, disability, old-age, or retirement or makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical care (including the benefits of any insurance system established by the Social Security Act). Such exemption may be granted only if the application contains or is accompanied by—

(A) such evidence of such individual’s membership in, and adherence to the tenets or teachings of, the sect or division thereof as the Secretary may require for purposes of determining such individual’s compliance with the preceding sentence, and

(B) his waiver of all benefits and other payments under titles II and XVIII of the Social Security Act on the basis of his wages and self-employment income as well as all such benefits and other payments to him on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of any other person,

and only if the Commissioner of Social Security finds that—

(C) such sect or division thereof has the established tenets or teachings referred to in the preceding sentence,

(D) it is the practice, and has been for a period of time which he deems to be substantial, for members of such sect or division thereof to make provision for their dependent members which in his judgment is reasonable in view of their general level of living, and

(E) such sect or division thereof has been in existence at all times since December 31, 1950.

As you can see, Muslims might very well be exempt from the Affordable Care Act, but it isn’t some sort of special exemption just for them. Any religion opposed to being involved in government programs, or health care, or receiving medical care (such as Christian Scientists, the Amish, etc…) would be exempt. It is a religious exemption not a Muslim exemption. Anyone who says it’s a Muslim exemption is either racist or simply looking for any reason to criticize President Obama.

Obamacare is so bad that members of Congress and the President have exempted themselves!

A nice little picture from a Tea Party Website… I can’t tell if the website is satire or not… I really hope it’s satire…

I believe this particular rumor started with Ted Cruz… Heck, let’s call it what it is. This is a flat out lie. Not only are the members of congress not exempt, but they are required to purchase plans through the exchanges. The following is the specific provision from the Affordable Care Act:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law … the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are — (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).”

There have also been attacks on the fact that they are receiving contributions from their employer, who just happens to be the Federal Government. Why should they be criminalized because they receive an employer contribution? Many employers out there give contributions to their employees, Federal employees generally always receive employer paid health insurance, why shouldn’t they? They are, in fact, Federal Employees, are they not?

As for the President, he and his family have the same health insurance plan that covers millions of other federal employees. They receive their insurance through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The President receives his health insurance from his employer, just like many other Americans. He hasn’t exempted himself from the law, he meets the requirements of it already by having insurance.

There are a few more persistent rumors that I want to address, and I will do so in my next entry. For now, I will encourage anyone that gets a chainmail on Facebook to simply research it. If you forward these things without making sure the information is valid, then you are aiding in the spread of false information. Please…. Do your research!

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/government/a/muslims_exempt_health_insurance_mandate.htm – Addresses the “Muslim Exemption” myth

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/aug/14/ted-cruz/sen-ted-cruz-says-obama-just-granted-all-congress-/ – Addresses the “Congress is exempt” myth

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2013/oct/21/sean-duffy/obamacare-congress-must-buy-insurance-marketplaces/ – Addresses the “President is exempt” myth

Written By: James Garcia (11/9/13)

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