Last week, the Associated Press (AP) released a survey regarding the new health care law. The survey said, that most Americans don’t understand the law, which I’m sure is no surprise to many. Let’s face it, health care reform legislation is complicated. I’m not writing in support of or against the new law, but I would like to explain one aspect of it that many may be unaware of.
A provision to include spiritual care as a health care option has been part of the ongoing discussion. Christian Science is a form of spiritual care that many families have found safe and effective for nearly a century and a half. Anyone in need of healing may seek the prayerful support of a Christian Science practitioner. These are self-employed individuals who work full-time for the healing of others. Thousands of cases of disease and illness (many of them medically diagnosed) have been healed through this practice. The federal and many state governments have also recognized it as a health care option for decades.
So when it became apparent that all Americans might soon need to purchase health care insurance, Congressional committees considered a provision that spiritual care be considered as an option for insurance coverage (available through the new insurance exchanges). That’s about it. The provision just requested that insurance coverage for spiritual care be considered.
The Senate HELP Committee reviewed the provision last year and passed it by unanimous consent. Unfortunately, those in support of the provision could not stop opponents from having it removed prior to the passage of the national health care bill.
This is not about acquiring a special accommodation for Christian Scientists. Its purpose is only to encourage that all Americans have spiritual care as an option in the new health care system. A provision that supports a bedrock goal that many have advocated throughout this long health care reform process – ensuring patient choice.
If you have questions about this spiritual care provision, please write and let me know. I welcome your comments.