Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) warned that today, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate will go into effect. Its enforcement taxes and penalties infringe on religious liberties and threaten religiously affiliated institutions like schools, hospitals, and charities.
“Starting August 1, the government can start taxing anyone who decides to hold to their faith and moral convictions rather than comply with a government mandate. The Affordable Care Act empowered the Obama Administration to determine what qualifies as a core tenant of faith. Then, it gave the government the unmatchable power to tax religiously-affiliated organizations and employers right out of business if they choose to object. We must block this tax on religious liberty; the alternative is to stand by and watch the basic principles of our country’s foundation erode.”
Sensenbrenner introduced H.R. 6097, the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act, to block the government from taxing employers at a rate of $100 per employee per day for following their faith.
The President granted a one-year “safe harbor” exemption for some religiously-affiliated employers if they apply for a waiver from the HHS mandate.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act leaves intact a grave assault to religious freedoms— the controversial HHS mandate that requires employers to provide drugs and services in their employee health care plans regardless of religious objections to those services.
Employers that fail to comply face staggering financial penalties. According to a February, 2012 Congressional Research Report, insurers and employers that do not comply with the HHS mandate could face a federal tax of $100 per day per employee, or a yearly tax of $36,500 per employee. Religious employers with hundreds of employees could be fined millions of dollars annually.
Facing this huge tax would force religious institutions like parochial schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, and universities to choose between violating their faith to keep their doors open or paying a potentially devastating tax.