Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Government funding of healthcare prayer

According to the Los Angeles Times, "a little-noticed provision in the healthcare overhaul bill would require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses."
The provision was inserted by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) with the support of Democratic Sens. John F. Kerry and the late Edward M. Kennedy, both of Massachusetts, home to the headquarters of the Church of Christ, Scientist.

The measure would put Christian Science prayer treatments -- which substitute for or supplement medical treatments -- on the same footing as clinical medicine. While not mentioning the church by name, it would prohibit discrimination against "religious and spiritual healthcare."
I did a search of both the House and Senate versions of the healthcare bill and was unable to find the phrase "religious and spiritual healthcare" in either one.

Assuming that the LA Times didn't just make this up, if this provision was meant to prevent discrimination in health care funding to Catholic or other church operated hospitals and clinics, it would be a good thing.

If the bill was poorly worded to allow funding of Christian Science or other prayer healing, it would be disastrous! The bill would open the floodgates of religious cult prayer clinics that would leach off your insurance companies! Can you imagine what this would do to the cost of health care?

Critics, including atheists, are predictably opposed to the measure. It's not often I find myself on the same side as atheists but in this case I am--not on the basis of church/state separation--but because this is just one more case where the health care debate is much more about politics than health care, and where Democrats are significantly overstepping their Constitutional authority.

In the mean time, if you ever encounter any group that charges you to pray for them you may be in a cult so run, don't walk, to the nearest exit!

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