Christian Science, the Affordable Health Care Act & Congressional Lobbying

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 9.33.45 AMThe Christian Science Church has a special Committee on Publication’s U.S. Federal Office:

Located in Washington, DC, this office works with U.S. Congressional, executive, and regulatory offices to help them and the public gain a more accurate understanding of Christian Science. We follow developments in health care and insurance, and we work to ensure that spiritual health care services and the public’s access to them are not adversely affected by any law.

I was always under the impression people were welcome to pray for themselves at any time — separation of Church and State, the State can’t tell me not to pray, so I’m really not sure why the Christian Science Church feels they need to be involved. The State can, and does, request that I pay taxes, our taxes go to schools, roads, public services (police, fire, etc.), and that we have insurance (car, house, etc.). Render unto Caesar and all that good stuff.

Ms. Eddy was clear that Christian Scientists follow the laws established by the State, which is interesting, because The Christian Science Committee on Publication’s U.S. Federal Office has been hard at work — again, lobbying Congress for health care exemptions — this time for an exemption to the Affordable Health Care Act. I’m NOT saying the Affordable Health Care Act is the answer, but health care in the United States is a mess, and the reforms with the ACA are a step towards at least doing something about the problem. Perhaps that is a little over-simplified, but if Christian Science prayer worked as well as the Christian Science lobbying machine we’d have a peaceful, disease-free utopia.

A few things to keep in mind:

The Christian Science Church has an EXTENSIVE ACA FAQ at http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/health-care-reform/frequently-asked-questions. My FAVORITE of the FAQ:

Isn’t there a religious exemption from the ACA’s requirement to purchase health insurance?

Yes, but it applies primarily to the Amish and certain Mennonites. This is because the current exemption (on page 326 of the linked PDF) has the following requirements:

  • The individual must be a member of a religious group whose tenets and teachings establish that its members are conscientiously opposed to receiving any insurance benefits, including Social Security and Medicare benefit
  • The individual must waive all Social Security and Medicare benefit
  • The religious organization must pay for the health care and disability costs of its members.

I don’t see Christian Scientists giving up their Social Security or Medicare benefits any time soon. If anything, they actively encourage members to seek out Medicare assistance to cover the cost of treatment at Christian Science Nursing care facilities.

The EACH Act (HR1814 & S.862) should be opposed for many reasons (via CHILD)

  • It’s unenforceable. There is no way the IRS would be able to accurately determine what a person’s religious beliefs are, much less how “sincerely held” they are. Therefore, ANYONE, whether they really refuse medical care or not, will be able to say they have religious beliefs against medical care and use that as an excuse to be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to buy health insurance. It would gut the Act.
  • Many sincere religious people object to only SOME kinds of medical treatment. Christian Scientists, for example, have broken bones set, get pre-natal and birth care, and often end up rushing to the emergency room when their prayers fail to heal them. If they are not covered by insurance, taxpayers must fill the gap.
  • Even those objecting to ALL medical intervention will still receive it when they are unable to refuse it, say, after a car accident, and taxpayers must then pay the entire cost of that care also.
  • The CBO has just released a fiscal analysis indicating that the bill could increase the number of uninsured by 500,000 persons each year and cost $1.5 billion over ten years.
  • The House bill has been pushed forward without due process, with no public hearing, no committee markup, no fiscal analysis
  • Parents who send children to religious schools are not exempt from taxes that support public schools. Religious people shouldn’t be exempt from this tax either.
  • Children in uninsured families are particularly at risk. It’s one thing for an adult to refuse medical treatment for himself, but children should be insured and therefore able to receive lifesaving care until they are old enough to decide for themselves

More from CHILD: Christian Science bills endanger children (http://childrenshealthcare.org/?page_id=2165), and statements from organizations opposing prayer-based treatment of children:

More on the Legislation in Question

More on the Christian Science Church’s efforts:

Other concerned Parties:

From the blogs:

3 thoughts on “Christian Science, the Affordable Health Care Act & Congressional Lobbying

  1. Bill Sweet says:

    You bring up the point that Christian Scientists follow the law. Law based healing, rather than shirting the law, would be better conduct. Following the law would be better Christian as well as social conduct in my opinion.

    Trying to be nonconformist has gone on so much in Christian Science that it has been the reason some have left. There is enough about Christian Science in its belief system to be nonconformist than to lobby to be so different than the rest of the population. Mary Baker Eddy wrote as advise that students should get their shots (vaccinations) and don’t fear the consequences, as one example.

  2. Karen Molenaar Terrell says:

    I had no desire to participate in the call-in, and did not make calls. As a citizen, I feel I have the responsibility to put my money into the pot like everyone else – even though I might not be in much need of using health care insurance, personally – there are others in my community who can benefit from what I contribute. I wish health insurance was universal – I wish it wasn’t privatized – I wish everyone who needed it had easy, affordable access to it.

  3. Bruce Dale says:

    Thanks for sending the link to the video of the CS nurse talking with 60 Minutes. It’s dynamite. Brings tears to my eyes.Bruce

    Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 08:02:22 +0000 To: bcdale@outlook.com

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