- What is a health care sharing ministry (HCSM)?
- Where do HCSMs fit on the landscape of health-care funding options in the post-Affordable Care Act era?
Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson has explored these questions and more in his article for the Summer 2015 issue of The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act no doubt has lowered out-of-pocket financial costs for some Americans, but at the moral cost of requiring many Americans to participate in the funding of contraception against the dictates of their conscience and at the social cost of diluting the consequences of individual irresponsibility across an unfathomably wide risk pool maintained by a cumbersome bureaucracy. The resulting system mistakenly regards health insurance as a prerequisite for health care, as if mandating the former somehow guarantees the latter; deceptively equates “reproductive health care” with procedures and prescriptions that are counter-reproductive and dubiously caring; and undermines the natural family through mandates and incentives that run contrary to marital fidelity and personal responsibility.
With problems so challenging, no easy correction to the ACA regime can be found. However, two alternatives to the health insurance framework of the ACA correct at least some of the deficiencies: “health care sharing ministries” fund health-care costs even for the less affluent, without requiring the violation of pro-life consciences; and direct primary care arrangements reward individuals who assume personal responsibility for routine care while saving the catastrophic and unpredictable for either insurance or a cost-sharing ministry. While neither of these approaches comes without challenges, each deserves careful contemplation by health-care consumers. In fact, some families may find it prudent to pursue both avenues simultaneously. ...