Healthcare provision would embrace prayer

Nov. 3, 2009 at 12:31 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Among provisions in the U.S. Senate version of healthcare reform is language that would require insurers to consider prayer treatments as medical expenses.

The language -- which would bar discrimination against "religious and spiritual healthcare" -- would put Christian Science prayer treatments on the same plane as clinical medicine, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. The Church of Christ, Scientist isn't mentioned specifically in the bill language.

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 of the church's headquarters.

Phil Davis, a senior Christian Science official, told the Times prayer treatment is an valuable alternative to conventional healthcare.

"We are making the case for this, believing there is a connection between healthcare and spirituality," Davis said.

Critics said the measure could bestow medical legitimacy on practices beyond the realm of science, the Times said.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said the chance to receive payment for spiritual care could encourage other groups to seek similar status.

"This would be an absolute invitation to organize," Gaylor said.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Kim Jong Un had terrapin farm manager executed, says source
More than 80 percent of North Korean defectors are women, says report
North Korea requests medical aid from U.N. agencies
Encroaching sea levels endanger Pakistan's Indus Delta
Kenyan bishop warns Obama against pro-gay policy