Amish families in New York State will be exempt from a health-insurance mandate which requires Northern New Yorkers to carry health insurance or risk a fine. “Hundreds of Amish families in the region are likely to be free from that requirement. The Amish, as well as some other religious sects, are covered by a ‘religious conscience’ exemption, which allows people with religious objections to insurance to opt out of the mandate. It is in both the House and Senate versions of the bill, making its appearance in the final version routine unless there are last-minute objections. Although the Amish consist of several branches, some more conservative than others, they generally rely upon a community ethic that disdains government assistance. Families rely upon one another, and communities pitch in to help neighbors pay health care expenses. The Amish population has been growing in the north country, as well as in New York generally. The state ranks sixth nationally in Amish population and posted the biggest net increase in Amish households — 307 — from 2002 to 2007, according to the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.”
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