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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Healthcare Bill questions...

Have you seen the recent articles regarding "A little-noticed measure would put Christian Science healing sessions on the same footing as clinical medicine."? There was an article in Sunday's Chicago Tribune and an article today, Healthcare Provision Seeks To Embrace Prayer Treatments - Los Angeles Times.

Officials of the Christian Science Church are basically seeking to add on to the Healthcare Bill to allow for payment for prayer treatments.

To some of you this may seem shocking, but there is already a provision of the IRS code that allows for a deduction for prayers treatments as itemized medical expenses. "Some federal medical insurance programs, including those for military families, also reimburse for prayer treatment."

On the one hand this looks like a special interest group adding pork to the Healthcare Bill. On the other, as evidenced by the IRS code, the Christian Science Church appears to have more friends on Capitol Hill than any other organized religion, even though they claim to have less than 2,000 congregants in 60 countries.

Some of the arguments against this center around separation of church and state. (However, with that single provision of the IRS code, it doesn't appear to be a weighty argument.)

One could counter with, why should the Christian Science Church be the only church allowed payment for prayer treatments. Certainly other churches/religions pray for health and healing.

What do you think of the Christian Science Church's asking that payment for prayer treatments be included in the Healthcare Bill?

Lola's Diner


Em said...

I guess it makes me wonder why a church would charge for prayer.

I'm not familiar with that concept - but I imagine other churches seek out donations for their services even if they don't "charge" - donations that are subject to different tax laws and deductions. More semantics and being up front?

Interesting question. I guess it's their right to at least ask. And I imagine the fact that it made it to the bill might have something to do with a lot of rich entertainers who are invovled in Christian Science. Or maybe freedom of religion. Probably more the former, I'm kind of cynical like that though.

Very interesting question.

StaceyC4 said...

It's just another way that the churches are moving away from what they are SUPPOSED to be about and turning in to businesses. Maybe they are following the lead of the Catholic church and tired of making mandatory "donations" and are looking to get even more money.

It's kind of disgusting.

Stephanie B said...

I have to go with the previous commenters. Even if I didn't have a problem with it (as a scientist, I don't think prayer counts as "medical treatment"), what does it say about a church that charges for the service?

Diane said...

i don't know much about the health care bill stuff. but i do know this...prayer's supposed to be free. at least *i* thought so.

Rad said...

I am a practicing Christian Scientist and my family has successfully relied on spiritual healing for five generations now. My intent in posting this comment is not to “pitch” my preferred system of healing to those who depend on other types of health care, but to explain why I feel it is important that there be a provision for spiritual healing in any forthcoming healthcare legislation.

It would seem fundamentally unfair for someone to be required to pay for insurance that does not cover the type of healthcare he or she utilizes. In a policy climate where some form of mandated universal coverage appears likely, it would only seem fair that anyone required to pay into a system would have coverage for the type of health care that they have found works best for them (without depriving anyone else of their choices). If the individual mandate to buy insurance does not provide for those who rely on qualifying spiritual care, they may receive no benefit for their premiums.

While Christian Scientists normally choose a path other than conventional medicine, this choice is not based on blind faith. It instead reflects a systematic approach to prayer that has proven to be reliable and effective in the lives of those who practice it.

Regarding the question as to why Christian Science practitioners charge for prayer, it should be pointed out that the Christian Science practice is a full time ministry for these individuals (and they have made a formal committment not to divide their attention between their healing work and other types of employment). Just as many churches have paid clergy (which the Christian Science church does not have), it seems only right that full-time practitioners be compensated for their work. On the other hand, I don't know of any CS practitioner who would turn away a patient who has no means to pay for treatment, and many practitioners devote a significant portion of their time to this "benevolence" work.

I appreciate this opportunity to provide a different perspective on this issue. Anyone interested in learning more about Christian Science healing may wish to check out the website

Patricia Rockwell said...

I can see the points in both sides of this issue. I'd be curious to find out from Rad if presently Christian Scientists typically buy (use) any type of health insurance and/or if any type of health insurance is available that they would even consider purchasing? If Christian Scientists typically do not believe in and do not purchase health insurance then the proposed bill that would mandate that all citizens have some sort of health insurance should certainly make adjustments for them and others like them who do not accept traditional health insurance.

Auntie E said...

I think that is ridicules. But on the other side if the government tried to make every one pay for health care and some do not believe in medicine, it will cause an uproar. I know my Dad is very concerned about this bill. He really believes the government will decide who gets what kind of care. I guess we all can read the 1000+ pages of the bill. but who has the time...

Rad said...

In response to Patricia's question about whether or not Christian Scientists have health insurance:

That's an individual decision - some Christian Scientists do decide to buy insurance; some don't. The church organization does not tell members whether or not to seek medical care, or how to pay for it if they do.

Lin said...

Criminy. That is nuts.

wine blog said...

I think were all a bit freaked out by the new healthcare jazz. Only time will tell if Obamacare will be the right thing for this country.

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