“There’s still health care for people of faith after health care ‘reform,’ ” proclaims a banner ad on the website of Samaritan Ministries, a member-based nonprofit that works like a Christian co-op for health care expenses. The ad is meant to appeal to conservative Christians who are wary about the coming implementation of the federal mandate to purchase individual health insurance.
A press release from sister organization Christian Care Ministry argues its point more boldly: “11 million Americans Need Not Comply with ObamaCare.”
These aren’t gestures of public defiance. The health care law does in fact contain language exempting faith-based groups from the requirement that all Americans be enrolled in a conventional health insurance plan by 2014 or face penalties. The number of Americans who rely on these organizations, called “health care sharing ministries,” is currently small — only 100,000 households are members nationwide — but Christian Care Ministry hopes to find an eager market in the 11 million Americans that it estimates profess Christian faith and are not covered by an employer’s insurance plan.