Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The New Health Care Bill Might Not Cover Women's Health But Orrin Hatch Insists On Paying For Voodoo Sessions


The big health care reform talk since Saturday night's passage of the House Bill has been about the attempt of the Republicans with the connivance of 64 anti-choice Democrats to severely restrict-- in fact, to take away-- women's health options. By Monday morning 41 progressives had signed a letter to Pelosi vowing to vote against a final bill if it includes the reprehensible Stupak-Pitts anti-choice amendment.
As Members of Congress we believe that women should have access to a full range of reproductive health care. Health care reform must not be misused as an opportunity to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment to H.R. 3962, The Affordable Healthcare for America Act, represents an unprecedented and unacceptable restriction on women’s ability to access the full range of reproductive health services to which they are lawfully entitled. We will not vote for a conference report that contains language that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law.

Senior pro-choice Democrats have assured them the anti-choice wording will not be in the final bill. So with corporately-owned reactionaries like Orrin Hatch, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham vowing to block the bill as being too progressive; with progressives enraged that the bill isn't nearly progressive enough; and with the Senate's ultimate weathervane of cluelessness and stupidity, chirping away that she's pro-choice but not that pro-choice, no one has picked up on the Republicans' one big initiative to fashion the bill into something that would be acceptable to people still living in the 14th Century... or in Afghanistan in case Obama decides to annex it.

A few days ago the L.A. Times reported on a provision slipped into the Senate bill that "would require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses." Orrin Hatch is behind the provision, but he was aided by Kennedy and Kerry, the senators from Massachusetts, which is where Christian Science has its world headquarters.
The measure would put Christian Science prayer treatments -- which substitute for or supplement medical treatments -- on the same footing as clinical medicine. While not mentioning the church by name, it would prohibit discrimination against "religious and spiritual healthcare."... Phil Davis, a senior Christian Science Church official, said prayer treatment was an effective alternative to conventional healthcare.

"We are making the case for this, believing there is a connection between healthcare and spirituality," said Davis, who distributed 11,000 letters last week to Senate officials urging support for the measure.

"We think this is an important aspect of the solution, when you are talking about not only keeping the cost down, but finding effective healthcare," he said.

I was diagnosed with cancer around 7 years ago and chose to eschew deadly chemotherapy and surgery and follow a holistic approach. So far it's worked really well. Western medicine doesn't recognize it-- at least not in the U.S.; it's pretty widely accepted din Europe -- and my insurance company won't cover it at all. It'll be amusing to watch voodoo treatments and other practices outside the realm of science being covered though.
In the early 20th century, the church sought recognition from state regulators so the practitioners would not be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license. Criminal courts have convicted Christian Scientists in cases where children have died after visiting prayer healers instead of receiving conventional medical care. The church says no such incidents have occurred for two decades.

About 90 years ago, private insurance companies began paying for Christian Science prayer treatments, but more recently, managed-care insurers declined reimbursements, insisting on paying for care that produced proven medical results.

The Internal Revenue Service allows the cost of the prayer sessions to be counted among itemized medical expenses for income tax purposes -- one of the only religious treatments explicitly identified as deductible by the IRS. Some federal medical insurance programs, including those for military families, also reimburse for prayer treatment.

The spiritual healing provision was introduced in the House by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), whose district includes a Christian Science school, Principia College.

Two committees in the House voted to include the measure in their versions of the overhaul, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) stripped it from the consolidated House bill last week after a few members argued it was unconstitutional.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, said the provision raised serious questions about government support of religion.

"I think when Congress mandates that health companies provide coverage for prayer, it has the effect of the government advancing religion," he said.

Harry Reid, like Hatch, a Mormon, is still trying to decide whether or not to include this in the Senate bill. The "church" has a big time K Street lobbying firm, Mayer Brown (the 9th largest law firm in the U.S.), working on the Senate for them. Mayer Brown lobbying clients include shady operators like Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan Chase, AT&T, Chevron, Verizon, TPG Capital, Motorola, and, biggest of all their clients, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This year Mayer Brown has given large donations to Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Ethan Hastert (R-IL).

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At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Right Howie, insurance STILL won't cover holistic health treatments that WORK. SO glad yours is working.

And back to womens health. I read the bill and I believe it provides abortion options in case of health risks to the mother, rape and incest. That's progress.

That leaves enough room for most to get in there that want to try and manipulate the system. Why should WE pay for someone's abortion outside of those conditions? Pay for it yourself like everyone else. What city doesn't have several distribution centers with boxes and boxes of condoms etc. etc. I am equally offended by those who legislate a womens' right to choose the moment she gets pregnant by a man as I am anyone using abortion as birth control.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Christian who believes that prayer definitely works, I find it offensive that anyone would charge for praying for someone in need. What would the "usual and customary fee" be? They should charge the same fee that Jesus charged . . . nothing but faith.

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Chris Herman said...

Dear Anonymous,
As I an effort to shed a little light that might help lift some of your offense, may I offer the following. As a 3rd generation Christian Scientist, parent of 4th generation Christian Scientists, I have some experience with the "usual and customary fees" charged by C.S. Journal-listed practitioners. I would say the mean value runs < $20/day with a standard deviation of maybe +/- $5/day. Those people of the type of which I speak are not permitted to have other occupations to support themselves, so the comparison to Jesus' ministry is apt. I hope by giving some actual facts about those for whom many decades ago the original IRS provisions were put in place you may be relieved of some sense of offense. After all, Jesus I do believe also accepted the nominally-valued food, lodging, etc. offered by those whom he healed (tokens worth $20 - yeah, I suspect so). And the recipients of his healings were possibly still with resources to provide for Jesus since the Roman taxes had not (yet) taken them all away.

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope this bill covers my Mormon mood sessions and my voodoo Viagra replacement therapy. Load of crap. Not the way out of a recession.

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Riley J said...

I just found this great YouTube channel with lots of holistic health videos! Thought I would pass it on. http://www.youtube.com/wellnesswithrose

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also a third-generation Christian Scientist. I've never been charged more than $15 for a treatment, sometimes just asked to send what I felt I could afford. The practitioners I have worked with have left good jobs--State Department etc.--to enter the practice. My impression...these decisions were true steps of faith, with real concerns of having financial needs met.

BTW, my Christian Scientist grandmother lived to 102 after having a major stroke in her 90's--only to be home (from a CS center) in two weeks, fully compos mentis, and studying Latin at age 100. CS is not magic, it requires discipline, but it rests on the same fundamental principle as holistic approaches, which its founder explored and distilled. So I am rather shocked to see the scorn towards it exhibited here. It seems so uncharacteristic of those who value the holistic approach...

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pay for prayer??!! How absurd! I can pray for myself for FREE! And, it works because I put my trust in God! You cannot pay for the things that God gives!


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