Human Exceptionalism

Obamacare: Government to Pay for Prayer Treatment?

This is so unconstitutional. A provision was added to the Senate Obamacare package, the effect of which would be to have the government in a public plan pay for Christian Science practitioners to provide prayer treatments to patients and/or prohibit private plans from refusing to treat such prayer sessions as a medical treatment. From the story:

Backed by some of the most powerful members of the Senate, 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.”

If this story has it right, what is proposed isn’t the same thing at all as paying, say, a Catholic hospital to provide medical treatment. Surgery or ICU are medical treatments, whether or not they occur in a religiously oriented facility. Prayer treatments are religion.

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against Christian Science or Religious Science, which also has prayer practitioners. Indeed, I have a friend who swears he was cured of asthma as a child by a Religious Science practitioner.  But there is no way that the government should pay directly for a religious practice, or require health insurance to do so. Indeed, can you imagine the screaming if the law required a private insurance company or the government to pay the Catholic Church when a priest annointed an ill person with oil as a healing Sacrament? How is this any different?

Most Popular

Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More
Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More