A House Republican has introduced a bill designed to achieve tax fairness for ministries that share health care costs. 

A member of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., is the sponsor of the Health Care Sharing Ministry Tax Parity Act, which he introduced last Monday.

Kelly’s bill would allow members of these faith-based organizations and ministries to deduct “health care-related expenses from their taxes,” just as Americans who have conventional health insurance are able to do.

Kelly’s bill also would make it explicit that these organizations don’t offer health insurance, averting misunderstandings about how the IRS should handle them—particularly regarding federal mandates that affect regular insurance. 

Each year, about 1.3 million Americans partake in so-called HCSMs, sharing over $1 billion in medical expenses. Those who opt for Christian and other faith-based ministries instead of regular health insurance typically have moral and financial motivations, advocates say. 

However, Kelly’s bill states that these Americans should have the same access to tax benefits as those who use traditional health insurance. 

Brad Hahn, CEO of a health care ministry called Solidarity HealthShare, commended Kelly’s legislation for its “crucial and positive development” for millions of Americans who are part of what Hahn calls the health-sharing community. 

“Solidarity HealthShare is grateful to Congressman Kelly for sponsoring this necessary legislation to ensure parity for those Americans who choose to share in faith-based ministries rather than health insurance to facilitate medical expenses,” Hahn said.