Amish exemption from national health care

From the Advocates for Self Government e-letter:

Under the health reform legislation the Democrats are struggling to pass, most Americans would be forced by the government to purchase insurance — or face hefty fines and other possible punishment.

AmishBut not one group: the Amish. Democrats plan to exempt the Amish (and some similar religious groups) from the “buy health insurance or else” mandate.

Why? On First Amendment grounds, because of Amish religious beliefs. The Amish believe the church, not the government, should care for the needs of members. They are thus conscientious objectors, for religious reasons, to commercial insurance and government welfare programs.

As FOXNews.com reports: “[W]hen the Amish need medical care, they go to regular doctors and hospitals and pay in cash often with financial help from their church and neighbors. They rely on each other, not the government or insurance companies, as a tenet of their faith.”

Since 1965, Congress has exempted the Amish from Social Security and Medicare taxes for the same reason.

We’re all for that. But why stop with the Amish? What about those of us who object for other religious or spiritual reasons — for example, a belief that the initiation of force against peaceful people is wrong? What about those who object on non-religious but deeply-held philosophical grounds?

Some of these folks are already speaking out. FOX quotes Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.

“If they can do it for religious objection, well, I have a different type of objection,” Shapiro said. “I think I’m being coerced into doing something against my will, and so the challenge would be from a different perspective.”

We strongly support the Amish exemption, of course. But what about the rest of us conscientious objectors?