The current health care reform bill(s) do not address actual health care … like what procedures to use and stuff … as much as they address insurance. This is a health insurance reform bill, not a health care system reform bill. (Though there is necessarily overlap.) Nonetheless Republican Wingnuts want a provision regarding prayer as a methods of treatment. Insurance companies would be required to cover prayer treatments:

a little-noticed provision in the health care 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.


Sadly, I don’t think this is a parody.


  1. #1 sailor
    November 3, 2009

    Can we include sacrificing goats?, it would really help the goat farmers.

  2. #2 Mandrake
    November 3, 2009

    Don’t worry–Christian Science has you covered…

    (Sorry, don’t know the tags for a URL.)

  3. #3 AnonymousCoward
    November 3, 2009

    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…

    And who shall stand up for the Voodoo-practitioners?

  4. #4 Russell
    November 3, 2009

    To be fair, I wouldn’t categorize Kerry and Kennedy as “Republican Wingnuts.” Shame on both of them.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2009

    Russell, you are correct. I wrote ‘wingnut’ then I saw “kerry” and “kennedy” then I went into deep denial.

    Then I stopped myself from writing a 2,000 blog post on Mary Baker Eddy’s telephone.

  6. #6 Jason Thibeault
    November 3, 2009

    It’s not a wingnut thing… it’s a crazy religion mind-virus thing. That crosses partisan lines. Prayer don’t do shit, because the germ theory of disease supercedes the “illness is God’s punishment for sin” hypothesis. So let’s maybe focus on real medicine, where people can actually affect the outcome of a person’s illness in a real and tangible way?

    I know, crazy thought.

  7. #7 micheleinmichigan
    November 3, 2009

    WTF! Thanks for the info.

    I have so been rooting for this Health Care Reform and have been loathe to write politician to find any fault because we really need something. Just the pre-exiting conditions requirement would be some help.

    But this!

    I have to admit I do a lot of prayer, though. Do you think I could get them to pay for all the times I’ve prayed the insurance company will pay for something?

  8. #8 micheleinmichigan
    November 3, 2009

    So basically, The insurance company can reject a claim for a Bone Anchored Hearing Device for our son’s unilateral deafness based upon the claim that the evidence isn’t strong enough that it is needed for his health.

    But they would have to pay for a clegyman to pray for the return his hearing?


  9. #9 mark
    November 3, 2009

    If the prayer turns out to be inappropriate and the patient takes a turn for the worse, can the prayer provider be sued for malpractice?
    Suppose the patient’s right arm is torn up in an industrial accident, and the prayer is offered “Dear Lord, please make Joe’s arm like his other one;” and–“poof”–his left arm becomes mangled also.

  10. #10 Uncle Glenny
    November 3, 2009

    IIRC, someone pointed out elsewhere (scienceblogs) that this is linked to the IRS tax code for medical deductions, and Doctor Christ prayer treatments are specifically covered.

    Kennedy’s fault as far as I know; so now the prayer geeks have a foot in the door, and with Harkin being all woo-woo…

  11. #11 Jerad
    November 3, 2009

    And just last week the secular lobby was celebrating getting it pulled from the house bills.

  12. #12 Phil
    November 3, 2009

    I was going to send you this article!
    Who would have thought, Kerry and Kennedy. Yeesh.