[ExI] Capitalizing on "Life Extension"

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Sun Nov 2 20:29:39 UTC 2008

At 11:10 AM 11/2/2008 -0800, Olga wrote:

>of late I have been noticing more and more "complementary medicine" 
>creeping into scientific medicine (e.g., my medical insurance at 
>work covers stuff like chiropract[ic] and acupuncture).

Even more puke-making (modulo effective placebo and barely 
conceivable psi effects), I believe "being prayed for" also gets 
coverage under some plans.

I wonder what eventuated over the following bid?


Christian Science provision sought in healthcare law

By Jeffrey Krasner, Globe Staff  |  August 28, 2006

Officials of the Christian Science Church are worried that the 
state's healthcare law will exclude faith healing as a recognized 
health benefit for its employees who do not receive traditional 
medical care because of their religious beliefs.

The church, based in Boston, holds that illnesses should be treated 
with prayer, but a draft version of the healthcare reform regulations 
specifies that employers must contribute to workers' medical 
insurance coverage to comply with the landmark law that takes effect 
next year. Those that do not will be assessed $295 per employee annually.

The law also requires Massachusetts residents to enroll in a health 
insurance plan or face penalties such as the loss of personal tax 
deductions. It exempts those who do not because of ``sincerely held 
religious beliefs," but there is no such provision for employers.

Church officials this month told the Division of Health Care 
Financing and Policy that the non medical insurance coverage it 
offers employees should qualify as healthcare. It wants the rules to 
require ``health care " without referring to ``medical services."

``The Church does not think it is the Commonwealth's intention to 
dictate the `methods' under which health and well-being are achieved" 
under healthcare reform, wrote Claire Waterson , a spokeswoman and 
registered lobbyist for the church, in formal comments submitted to 
the state. ``The Church provides its employees with a wide range of 
health care benefit options, and one of these options is a health 
plan for spiritual healing."

Along with written comments, the church provided fact sheets 
describing the two health plans it offers employees.

For those who are not Christian Scientists, it pays about 70 percent 
of the premium for a standard managed-care medical plan provided by 
Tufts Health Plan.

The second plan -- for employees who are church members -- is offered 
directly through the church and covers faith healing. It pays 90 
percent of the cost of treatment by faith healers, who pray for 
patients in an effort to heal them of physical and spiritual 
ailments. The plan also features 90 percent coverage for home care by 
Christian Science nurses, who provide practical help such as changing 
bandages, but do not administer medication or any other type of 
medical care. Annual out-of-pocket expenses for participants in the 
Christian Science plan are capped at $1,000 for individuals and 
$3,000 for families.

The church, whose headquarters at the intersection of Huntington and 
Massachusetts avenues is called The Mother Church, has about 550 
employees in Massachusetts. About half of them choose the traditional 
health plan, and one quarter are enrolled in the faith-healing plan.

Mark Unger, who describes himself as a metaphysician, qualifies under 
the church's faith-healing insurance plan to treat patients through 
prayer. He said his job is ``to lift up the patient above the 
physical level to the spiritual, to get them to look beyond the 
symptoms to the spiritual truth about what's going on."

Unger charges $32 for a treatment, during which he prays for a 
patient to promote healing. The Ashland resident said he can pray 
anywhere, but prefers a quiet place, usually not with the patient. 
``My style of prayer is just an absolute, quiet listening to God," he said.

While he doesn't make medical diagnoses, Unger says he has cured a 
patient's skin cancer with prayer. ``It dried up and dropped off," he said.

John Q. Adams of Boston, who said he has worked as a Christian 
Science faith healer full-time since 1985, described his treatments 
as prayers that focus on the specific needs of a patient. He said he 
charges $25 per treatment.

Damien Broderick

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