Muslims Exempt from ObamaCare?

Eric Burns is an educator and writer, who resides in the Baltimore-Washington area.


Are American Muslims exempt from the requirement to purchase health insurance under the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)?

There has been a lot of talk, and a number of Internet rumors, to the effect that Muslims are exempt from the PPACA’s individual mandate; that Muslims will get free health care under the PPACA, while the non-Muslim population of the United States will be required to purchase government administered health insurance. Therefore, according to rumor, non-Muslim Americans will be paying for American Muslims’ health care; in other words “dhimmitude.” There is even a rumor that the word “dhimmitude” –used to denote subservience to Islam by non-Muslims, is actually used—on p. 107 of H.R. 3590 of the PPACA bill.

The rumors of free health care for Muslims are based on Shariah law’s prohibition on insurance. Insurance violates the tenets against riba (interest); al-maisir (gambling) and al-gharar (uncertainty). Interest paid on insurance investments violates Shariah’s rules against usury.  Thus, under a strict interpretation of the Koran, Muslims are exempt from ObamaCare. However, the talk and the rumors are false—the word “dhimmitude” isn’t used anywhere in H.R. 3590, and depending on how PPACA rules are applied, there is at least an even chance that the scenario of American Muslims being exempt from the requirement to purchase insurance under the individual mandate won’t play out.

To be sure, the PPACA does grant a number of exemptions from the requirement to purchase the “minimum essential coverage.” (Whatever that is — Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hasn’t yet defined it.) Prisoners, illegal aliens, and foreign nationals are exempt. In addition, there is a religious exemption. Under Subtitle F, Part I, Section 1501—the individual responsibility requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage—individuals must be “a member of a recognized religious sect” that doesn’t participate in Social Security. According to a January 2011 Heritage Foundation WebMemo, they must pay no Social Security taxes and receive none of the benefits, in accordance with Section 1402(g)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. The religious exemption applies to any person who is a member of a “recognized religious sect or division” with “established tenets or teachings” that would forbid that person from accepting public or private insurance. Thus the Amish, who believe in taking care of their own elderly and don’t participate in Social Security, are exempt, as are Mennonites and Scientologists.

The monetary penalty for failure to purchase the “minimum essential coverage” is the larger of a flat dollar amount or a percentage of income between 1.0 and 2.5 percent. The penalty is phased in over a three year period, 2014-2016. The flat dollar amount is $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015, and $695 in 2016. Individuals whose earnings are below the Federal poverty level are eligible for a “hardship” exemption from the penalty, which is determined by HHS Secretary Sebelius. Indian tribes are also exempt from the penalty. In addition, there is an “affordability” exemption that applies to workers whose out-of-pocket costs exceed 8 percent of their “household” income.

Where do American Muslims stand regarding the individual mandate’s religious exemption? Under a strict interpretation of the Koran, which forbids acceptance of public or private insurance, they are exempt under this loophole. However, since the great majority of American Muslims pay Social Security taxes and receive Social Security benefits, they don’t qualify for the religious exemption. Nevertheless, PPACA rules offer a situation where American Muslims could qualify for the religious exemption. If an individual is a member of a “health-sharing ministry,”—a religious non-profit organization in which members contribute money to cover the medical expenses of those in need—they are exempt from the requirement to purchase insurance.

Health sharing ministries exemplify the Muslim principle of Takaful –individuals cooperating and protecting one another against loss or damage. This writer knows of no such health sharing ministry organizations in the U.S. at present. However, as of December 2008, Risk Specialists Companies, Inc., a subsidiary of AIG Commercial Insurance, has offered Lexington Takaful Solutions SM Takaful homeowners insurance, which includes health insurance. This is part of a series of Shariah-compliant insurance products in the U.S. The Takaful homeowners policy is underwritten by RSC member company A.I. Risk Specialists Insurance, Inc., in conjunction with Lexington Insurance Company, and is available in all 50 states. However, why was this provision—that members of health sharing ministries qualify for the religious exemption—put in H.R. 3590 in the first place? What happens when American Muslims, who participate in the Social Security system, join a “health-sharing ministry”?

The law is vague on this point. Presumably, they will be exempt from the requirement to purchase insurance under the religious exemption. Should this happen, the scenario of American Muslims being exempt from the requirement to purchase insurance, while the great majority of Americans labor under this requirement, will bring “dhimmitude” a big step closer to reality. In addition, what if the PPACA is amended in some way to exempt those who purchase private Takaful health insurance? The health-sharing ministry loophole is one reason, among many, why ObamaCare is unacceptable for Americans and must be removed from H.R. 3590.

  • Hassan Scott

    Interesting article. Health insurance is a necessary part of our lives. Thus as Muslims if there aren't any acceptable solutions we can use 'darurat' or emergency clause to just get conventional insurance. There was a fatwa (ruling) in the 80's which had forbidden conventional insurance but allowed cooperatives (mutuals), so many Muslims could go that route. The reality is that awareness is low amongst Muslims on this, so i'm sure most just get conventional insurance. In Malaysia, even though it is a Muslim country, many Muslims still buy conventional insurance. For the health sharing networks, there are some available now, but most are still small. They are Christian networks. See for instance the Samaritan Ministries. You need to be a practicing Christian to buy it, but if it was open to all then this would be a good option for Muslims as well, since its concepts are very close to Takaful.

    • oldtimer

      Let the Muslims start their own co-op. If they condemn Christians, why should they take advantage of Christian health networks

    • astra

      Go ahead with Obamacare. I have my solution ready to go. If I end up forced to pay for health care and also pay for a Muslim that gets it for free, rest assured I WILL GET MY MONEY'S WORTH.
      I will make sure every muslim I meet gets to go to the hospital…for free of course.

    • Soldier

      If we just exported all the damned muslims and beheaded those that wouldn't leave, then the question would be academic.

  • Annie

    If refusal to purchase insurance will allow paramedics and doctors to (legally) refuse to treat those who refuse to participate, that would be one thing. However, we all see what happens every time a buggy full of Amish gets whacked by a car…full mobilization of ambulances, ER staff, surgeons and hospital staff along with all the inpatient treatment needed. So, these religious groups participate in our modern healthcare system when it’s convenient for them.

    • oldtimer

      I worked in hospital billing, the Amish always paid their bills!

    • Doug

      Amish people have lots of money they live simple productive lives. Plus I think you are missing the point entirely Annie.

  • maturin20

    "This writer knows of no such health sharing ministry organizations in the U.S. at present."

    A simple Google search would have shown this:
    http://www.healthcaresharing.org/

    And, one presumes, it was placed in the act because otherwise the evangelical Christians would have cried foul.

    • oldtimer

      Look up Medi-share, it's also advertised on TV.

    • Lorraine

      The Amish have a system every one in their community give a portion of their income into a fund that is there to pay for any medical needs and if there house or barn burns down they all get to gether and rebuild it for them at no cost to them as they also put money into the fund.You cannot say anything bad about them they are great people. You shouldnt say things about people when you never checked it out. They are self sufficient and self relieant and they trust in God to be with them for their provisions.If the power grid goes down it never affects them at all. They are in the world but not of the world.

  • oldtimer

    Then they don't get taken care of…. If I have to pay, they have to pay or they can go to a Muslim supported clinic, hospital paid for under their laws and stay away from ours..

  • Dispozadaburka

    The Imam in charge of the United States of America
    stated immediately after Obama issued this "dhimmi tax"
    under the guise of "health care" .
    That Muslims are "exempt" from paying.
    Obama says that he won't comment until after the election of 2012.

    • Donna

      There is no such thing as "the imam in charge of the USA"…Islam as a whole has no official leader and an imam is a prayer leader (in a particular place at a particular time), not a political leader. No single Muslim has any legal authority over another. There are heads of state who are Muslim, but these are political, not strictly religious, leaders. Iran, which is Shia, is another case entirely.

    • Aziza Cloud

      It's impossible for there to be an Imam in charge of the United States of America.

      • Nobama

        Isn't that what Obama is? :-)

  • Davidka

    Let's see. Illegal aliens are exempt. Foreign nationals (e.g., Green Card holders or others here on work visas are exempt). Indians are exempt. Scientologists (!) are exempt. Unions and other B.O.-supporting groups are being exempted by the hundreds, thanks to the unbridled discretion the Obamacare law grants B.O. and his minions.
    .
    And, as icing on the cake, the Muslims can probably easily rig exemptions.

    Every time I get disgusted with B.O., I learn more about what he has done and am more disgusted.

    • Raymond in DC

      One group that is *not* exempt is US citizens living overseas. One of the largest group of American ex-pats is found in Israel, where they are covered by local health insurance. Under this law, they *still* have to carry US health insurance or pay the penalty.

  • brimp

    I'm creating an e-mosque. You can become a member for a yearly contribution. There are no meetings, rituals, outfits, or secret hand shakes. By joining my e-mosque you will be relieved of joining B.O.'s mosque.

  • Amir

    The author is quite ignorant of Islamic Sharia law. Insurance is allowed in Sharia and is common in countries under Sharia law such as Iran and Saudi, both in public and private forms.

    Here is Sistani's fatwa on insurance: http://sistani.org/index.php?p=616687&id=1221

    • sod

      Sharia permits lying for allah's cause, If anything mentioned was for allah, then most likely it's a lie, if it's not a lie, then a life may be endanger bacause someone might be an infidel

  • Mike W

    Interesting! How do they get around compulsory auto insurance or insurance required in conjunction with a home mrtgage

  • http://www.liberaldrivel.com JTT

    Interesting article – only one tiny problem – "dhimitude" was never in HR 3590 or the Public Law 111-148.

    • Lair

      Someone should have read the article. He states very clearly that "dhimitude" was never in HR 3590 or the Public Law 111-148. Read more carefully.

  • guest

    It will never pass. Islam is not a religion, hence they have no exception.

  • kafirman

    This article is well-written and reflects knowledge of Islam: "tenets against riba (interest); al-maisir (gambling) and al-gharar (uncertainty)."
    However, while the article also cites Obamacare, the article does not really foundationally address the issue of compatibility of Islam with America. As Sun Tsu told us, you gotta both your enemy and yourself.
    The answer to this compatibility question is that Islam is not compatible with the "self evident" understanding from "Nature and Nature's God" that "all men are created equal." In exchange for equality under God, Islam offer Jizya (Koran 9:29, religious apartheid and deliberate political and economic oppression) and sexual slavery (Koran 4:3, inter alia) under allah. Relative to Islam, our primary policy objective should then be the exclusion of 501(c)3 tax exempt status.

  • sONNY

    If muslims don't believe in insurance(it's considered gambling)HOW THE HELL ARE THERE MILLIONS OF THEM DRIVING CABS,LIMOS, CARS OR TRUCKS????

  • Gunner57

    If Obama is reelected they will be exempt.

  • ennywun bhut

    so muslims are exempt, but catholics must pay for contraceptives? huh!

  • Tina

    I don't think anyone truly understands what we're facing. God help us!

  • ed k

    all christians should unite and form a large health sharing cooperative and give the middle finger to the abortion loving Obama.

  • mdj

    Actually, this article cannot be accurate, because the exact provisions of who is and isn't exempt is not yet determined per recent information directly from K. Sebelius and Snopes.com. It is thought the Amish might be exempt, since they do not participate in Social Security, but Muslims' status is not yet determined.

    • GoBeASheep

      You believe all the crap you read on snopes? ROFLMAO.
      Where did snopes get it's credibility?? The better name for it would be dopes.com becasue of all the dopes believeing everything they read there.

      "We don’t expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic" ~~Snope creators Barbara and David P. Mikkelson

  • Olivier

    Any health sharing plan created after Dec 31, 1999 would not qualify:

    "(IV)which (or a predecessor of which) has been in existence at all times since December 31, 1999, and
    medical expenses of its members have been shared continuously and without interruption since at least
    December 31, 1999"

  • lizaz

    Are they exempt from car insurance….are they driving around without liability insurance???????

  • Jack Q

    The article makes it clear that almost all Muslims will have to participate in the health insurance program? Why are there so many comments that assume that they won't? Did most people skip reading the article before commenting on it?

  • Brujo Blanco

    This health care crisisb is going to be paid for. There are those that will likely be thrust into absolute poverty. Some people will be paying more for healthcare than any other expense. Welcome to the communist dictatorship of Barrack Obama.

  • Ed H.

    There are a number of Christian Health sharing ministries in this country. I am a Christian and I belong to one . Its called "Christian Healthcare Ministries" it is located in Barberton, OH

  • TerriGeer

    According to the Muslim’s themselves, they have no religious issues against health insurance. To put it plainly, you are lying.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “According to the Muslim’s themselves, they have no religious issues against health insurance. To put it plainly, you are lying.”

      So right. Muslims never lie. It’s those oppressors at it again. Every day.

      • xuinkrbin

        And Blogger never make incorrect assertions? A more helpful move would be to cite the actual portion of the Koran to which the Author refers.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/usury.html

          Use google for more examples. It’s not an obscure view.

        • RPG

          The Koran is not a useful document for learning about Islam. About 70% of it is about the enemies of the Muslims, the Kaffir (anyone who is non-muslim). If you want to know Islam you must read the Hatiths and the Surya. And bear in mind that new trumps old – as in, the more recent passages invalidate the older passages that contradict them. But ask yourself this: if our country is not in the middle of being conquered from within by Islam, why is it suddenly everywhere? It was nowhere before Obama and suddenly we have Muslim Brotherhood members – a designated terrorist group according to this country’s regulations – in top level cabinet positions. Who is Obama, anyway?

    • RPG

      To put it plainly, TerriGeer, it’s not a lie. Muslims will lie about anything to the Kaffir in order to promote Islam. It’s a basic tenet of the religion. Muslims only participate in special Muslim-run health services. There is a specific prohibition about insurance. You really should learn something about Islam.

  • OfficialPro

    Well, the prohibitions against “uncertainty” and “usury” certainly explain why many Muslim countries are economic disasters.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      That’s a small part of it.

  • Impeach obama

    muslims and gov officials exempt from embezzlement health care.get that sob out of office

  • MeanieHead

    With all the exemptions being given (including the POS and Congress) the only people who will be FORCED into Obamacare are the ones who don’t want it.

  • Layne Morales

    The author is apparently incorrect. There are Christian self insurance ministries that existed at least a couple of years ago. They may have been pushed out of existence by Obamacare, or perhaps gone bankrupt. Only one or two massive claims can put an organization like this into bankruptcy.

    • RPG

      Bankruptcy is the point, my friend. This thing was designed to fail and now even Even Harry Reid can’t stop bragging about it. This is fascist healthcare, but The Democrat’s goal is socialized healthcare. Fascism is just the way station – the “third way” between socialism and finally communism. Though, the way King Barry is acting I think he was trying to jump over the transitive states of fascism and socialism right into hardcore communism.

  • Kathy Hofstra

    maybe we should just all claim to be muslim? he might then put our interests first

  • wadnick

    As usual.. the middle class of this country will be screwed by this… everyone needs to remember who did this to us…. DEMOCRAT COMMIES.

  • RPG

    Also – the entire states of Nevada and New Hampshire are exempted, at least for now, as they are expected to be big swing states in the next election. Welcome to fascist healthcare everyone!

  • Catskinner

    Either no one should be exempt, or everyone should be exempt.

  • tim ur leng

    whiny white racist lying sacks of tea-bage excrement. Thanks You communist retards, for printing lie, after lie, after lie, sniffing your own effluent, and calling it “truth”. Your use of the word truth is a meaningful as the world “love” from a hooker.

  • MrEveryman

    Remove the health sharing exemption !!!

  • ann

    article said: Muslims believe that health insurance is “haraam”, or forbidden; because they liken the ambiguity and probability of insurance to gambling.

    so does this apply to car insurance too???

  • Joe

    is it true muslims are exempt from obamascare?

  • notoislam

    Who needs the fuckin’ moslems when you’ve got democraps and their moslem brotherhood king in the whyte haus?