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If you oppose government-mandated healthcare, there is a way you can opt-out: Become Amish.

Federal health care reform will require most Northern New Yorkers — but not all, it turns out — to carry health insurance or risk a fine.

Hundreds of Amish families in the region are likely to be free from that requirement.

The Amish, as well as some other religious sects, are covered by a “religious conscience” exemption, which allows people with religious objections to insurance to opt out of the mandate. It is in both the House and Senate versions of the bill, making its appearance in the final version routine unless there are last-minute objections.

Although the Amish consist of several branches, some more conservative than others, they generally rely upon a community ethic that disdains government assistance. Families rely upon one another, and communities pitch in to help neighbors pay health care expenses.

Lawmakers reportedly included the provision at the urging of Amish constituents, although the legislation does not specify that community and the provision could apply to other groups as well, including Old Order Mennonites and perhaps Christian Scientists.

A professor and lawyer at Yeshiva University in New York complained last summer that exempting groups for religious reasons could run afoul of the Constitution. Marci A. Hamilton, who teaches at the University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, wrote at Findlaw.com in August, “If the government can tolerate a religious exemption, then it must do so evenhandedly among religious believers with the same beliefs. This is sheer favoritism for a certain class of religions, or even for one religion.”


Read more . . .

(Via: Michelle Malkin )

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