Today the American Prospect published an article taking a very one-sided look at the health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) led by James Lansberry. HCSMs are groups that provide members with health care by simply sharing the costs. As far as I’m aware, all HCSMs in the United States are run by evangelical Christians. Although HCSMs are a method for paying health care costs, they technically do not provide insurance — they simply pay any costs associated with members’ health care. For that reason, Lansberry and HCSM members have been fearful of the individual mandate because it would mean the end of their programs. Paying for both insurance and HCSM contributions would be redundant and expensive. Luckily, as it turns out, they were able to obtain an exemption in the ACA bill, and can go on doing their thing…for now, at least.
The tone of the Prospect story is very skeptical and critical of this exemption, although no evidence is presented against HCSMs other than the fact that their members are openly Christian and organize the provision of health care for one another without involving the government.
One thing missing from the piece is any mention of the perspective of an HCSM member. Last year I spoke to Lansberry and wrote about HCSMs and health care reform here.
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