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.Anyone here want their tax dollars to fund gay conversion therapy? Yeah, me neither.
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."
It would have a minor effect on the overall cost of the bill -- Christian Science is a small church, and the prayer treatments can cost as little as $20 a day. But it has nevertheless stirred an intense controversy over the constitutional separation of church and state, and the possibility that other churches might seek reimbursements for so-called spiritual healing.
Drum says: "[H]oly cow does this seem like a bad idea. Just a really, stupendously bad idea. It's true that not everything that seems like a slippery slope really is one, but this really is one. If it passes, can you imagine how this would play out among the Colorado Springs set within a few years? The mind reels."
I can't even begin to imagine the clusterfuck this would create. And, frankly, I'm none too pleased knowing that insurance companies deny experimental ("unproven") treatment all the time, even when the procedures are known to be effective, on the basis they just haven't yet been done enough. (There's a snake eating its tail for you: We can't approve it because it's not been done enough yet!) But in the event this passes, they'll be compelled to pay for scientifically unsound procedures for patients, who, if their claim is denied, have a constitutional basis on which to challenge the denial: Freedom of religion.
Clearly, that privileges the religious—and only certain religions, at that—because atheists (and agnostics and Lutherans and Episcopalians, etc.) can't similarly argue: "Give me my transplant, because to deny it is to deny my right to not believe in total hogwash."
I give up.