ARTICLE: Thou Shalt Opt Out: Reforming the Religious Conscience Exemption from Social Security and the Affordable Care Act Based on State Experience Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2013 University of Memphis Law Review
University of Memphis Law Review

ARTICLE: Thou Shalt Opt Out: Reforming the Religious Conscience Exemption from Social Security and the Affordable Care Act Based on State Experience

Spring, 2013

University of Memphis Law Review

43 U. Mem. L. Rev. 659

Author

W. Wesley Hill*

Excerpt

I. Introduction

Internal Revenue Code ("I.R.C.") $ S 1402(g) offers a very limited religious conscience exemption from both Social Security and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's ("Affordable Care Act") individual mandate for health insurance coverage. 1 Generally, I.R.C. $ S 1402(g) allows members of certain religious sects that oppose insurance to opt out of federally mandated insurance. 2 Among the conditions of the exemption is that the individual belong to a religious sect that has a support system in place for dependent members similar to Social Security. 3 Because of this and a host of other requirements, the exemption is foreclosed to the overwhelming majority of the public. 4

Originally, when the exemption was enacted in 1965, it was even narrower than its current form, applying only to taxes imposed under the Self Employment Contributions Act ("SECA") on income earned by self-employed individuals. 5 Two decades later in 1988, the exemption was extended to cover taxes imposed on employers and employees under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act ("FICA") where both were members of religious sects opposing insurance. 6 In 2010, the application of I.R.C. $ S 1402(g) was once again expanded after being incorporated as one of the few exemptions to the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate for health insurance coverage. 7 Inevitably, the applicability of this religious conscience exemption to the individual mandate will be litigated when implementation of the Affordable Care Act begins, reviving the $ S 1402(g) body of law in a ...
 
 
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