Of all of the complaints about the Baucus bill or the health care reform bills in general, this one hasn't gotten much attention yet:
Witch Doctory in Senate’s Health Care Plan.
ATHEISTS OPPOSE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE “FAITH HEALING” PROVISIONS IN HEALTH CARE REFORM BILLS
An Atheist public policy organization today called for elimination of requirements in Senate legislation which would reimburse faith-based “healers” for their services.
The Senate Finance Committee has taken up the America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 which has an amendment titled “Religious Non-discrimination in Healthcare. The provision bans insurance companies from denying patients “benefits for religious or spiritual healthcare. Similar legislation, the Affordable Health Choices Act, has already cleared the U.S. Senate, and has a similar provision.
Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, warned that the measure amounts to a public subsidy for certain religious groups.
“Any adult in the legislative or executive branch of the federal government, or of any state government, who wants to use unproven, unscientific ‘remedies’ should be free to do so,” said Buckner. “But support for such irrational nonsense violates the separation of religion and government and the canons of good sense. Including faith-healing or other non-medical ‘treatment’ in health care legislation must be rejected.”
Giving any sort of legitimacy to quackery, religious or otherwise, seems inherently dangerous to me. Especially dangerous and indeed often fatal to children of folks who take this stuff too far. While this particular amendment doesn't seem to change the fact that killing a child with faith based denial of care is still generally illegal, it could encourage more of it and even reward those who attempt it and propagate irrational fears, distrust, or dismissal of proven medical treatments to those who might otherwise not know better. Of course empowering the government to decide what treatments should be covered is bound to cause even more issues along these lines. Will insurance companies or government programs be forced to pay for scientology thetan tests too? How about subluxation tests/treatment in the quackier side of chiropractic care which has roughly the same scientific grounding... i.e. none. Will we end up with a public option for prayer circle coverage too?
Let's just avoid the slippery slope towards absurdity and kid sized body bags and just knock this nonsense out of any current or future health care bill. These bills have enough problems.