Sunday, June 09, 2013

Hey! Here is a good idea! Let's let the IRS have our medical information ...

...and decide which religious groups get exempted from political persecution.

What could go wrong?

Faced with the public outcry, the government did allow nonexempt religious organizations​—​hospitals, universities, charities, and so on​—​a year to get over their scruples and figure out how to comply. That year ends on August 1, when another 30 or so lawsuits filed by objecting nonprofits will be activated. But now, enter stage left: the IRS.

The way the regulation is written, it is the IRS that determines whether an organization qualifies for full exemption from the HHS mandate. To qualify, an organization must be a nonprofit as described in section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) (oh, my!) of the amended Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and therefore exempt from filing Form 990, which most nonprofits must file annually.

Religious entities that do not qualify for the 990 exemption may seek alleged relief from the mandate by certifying to their insurance company that they cannot provide the objectionable services and products. The insurance company is then required to issue to each covered employee a separate policy covering contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients free of charge. So the employer is still in the position of facilitating the flow of objectionable services to his employees.

What’s more, these employers must maintain their “self-certification” in their records for each plan year and make it available for examination upon request by “regulators, issuers, third party administrators, and plan participants and beneficiaries.” The IRS may investigate and challenge any self-certification.

So the very enforcers at the IRS whose own inspector general admits they systematically targeted conservative and religious groups will now get to decide who is entitled to ladle soup into a bowl for a homeless person without violating his or her conscience. 

1 comment:

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