Should health care reform include prayer?

Many Christian Scientists think so.

According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Scientists are lobbying to include a provision in reform legislation that would ban discrimination against religious and spiritual health care.

They would also like private insurers to be encouraged to cover prayer as a treatment option.

The idea has some support in Washington, but many people who are not Christian Scientists will have to be encouraged to see prayer as health care.

I wrote about Christian Science is 2008 after a Christian Science practitioner pointed out to me that prayer was not being considered in the growing national debate over health care.

At the time, I chose to focus on how Christian Science families in the pediatrician-heavy Burbs raise their children without medicine.

The Chronicle article notes:

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(Christian Scientists) recognize they’re facing an uphill battle, with the debate centering on such hot-button issues as restrictions on abortion coverage and whether a final bill should include a public option or a Medicare buy-in. But Christian Scientists say they see the acknowledgment of spiritual healing in a health overhaul bill as important to their religion and to others who may turn to prayer or other nontraditional healing methods as an alternative to medical care. These could include followers of some American Indian religions or those who seek care at holistic healing centers.

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A CS spokesman is quoted as saying: “It’s our intention that the health care bill recognizes the fact that medical care is not the only form of health care. We are advocates, not just for Christian Scientists, but for the public at large.”

UPDATE: The NYTimes also wrote about this issue.

And an interesting Christian Science blog notes how the issue has been covered in the media.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.