Secular Right | Reality & Reason



What separation of church & state?

Healthcare provision seeks to embrace prayer treatments:

Reporting from Washington – 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 role of Kennedy & Kerry is explicable by the fact that the Church of Christ, Scientist is based out of Boston and has a large presence in New England. Christian Scientists have a demographic profile similar to Unitarian-Universalists, white & well educated. Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is a Christian Scientist. They’ve been getting exemptions for their weird beliefs for generations. Welcome to democracy!


  • Ben Abbott · November 6, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I thought that (loop hole?) had been clear up (closed) already.

  • Author comment by David Hume · November 6, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    your link refers to a house version. this is a senate. don’t know if it has been stripped from the senate version yet (don’t see a reference to it, but perhaps, the articles on this on from yesterday at the latest).

  • sg · November 7, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Uh, why would a “prayer treatment” cost money?

  • Louis Andrews · November 7, 2009 at 7:21 am

    The world has more than it’s share of nutcases.

  • Susan · November 7, 2009 at 7:32 am


    I was wondering the same thing, so I looked it up. Apparently you make an appointment with a “prayer practitioner” and arrange for paid prayers to be said on behalf of the ailing individual. In 1989, a couple spent $446 for a two-day course of prayer treatment for their diabetic son. The boy died.

    If a two-day course of prayer treatment cost $446 twenty years ago, I imagine the cost has gone up since then.

  • Steel Phoenix · November 7, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Besides the obvious constitutional issues with this, I don’t see why government or insurance should have to pay for a treatment that doesn’t uhhh…’work’.

  • Susan · November 7, 2009 at 9:17 am

    @Steel Phoenix

    The supporters of prayer treatment would argue that conventional medicine doesn’t always work, either. (Though it does have a much greater success rate.) They might also argue that prayer treatment is just another form of alternative therapy, and that some insurance policies cover alternative therapies like accupuncture.

    I don’t like this at all, but in fact it might be pointless to fight it. Government does have a history of subsidizing religion in other ways.

  • Livin’ On A Prayer « Around The Sphere · November 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

    […] Razib Khan at Secular […]

  • Ross · November 7, 2009 at 11:20 am

    From that description becoming a prayer practitioner seems to be a dream job, it’s more or less free money.

  • Susan · November 7, 2009 at 11:36 am


    And it probably doesn’t require four years of pre-med, another stint in med school, and all those silly old internships and residencies, either.

  • The Crossed Pond » The power of prayer · November 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    […] Andrew Stuttaford at the Corner (via The Secular Right), the LATimes reports that the Healthcare Overhaul Bill contains a requirement […]

  • Le Mur · November 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    What separation of church & state?

    Probably the entire ‘healthcare overhaul bill’ is unconstitutional, and this is a pretty minor part of it.

  • Speaking of Friends of the Constitution « Buttle’s World · November 7, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    […] buttle @ 23:24 Orrin Hatch (R-Kolob) has once again demonstrated his scissor-like grip of both science and the constitution. Backed by some of the most powerful members of the Senate, a little-noticed provision in the […]



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