During August, Medicare and Medicaid laws that permit payments to Christian Science nursing facilities were ruled "unconstitutional, invalid, and unenforceable" by a federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota. These programs reimburse the cost of room and board, certain supplies, and the nursing care at Christian Science nursing facilities throughout the United States. If upheld, the ruling would bar this reimbursement. The judge ruled that, in his opinion, the naming of a specific denomination, Christian Science, in the accommodations violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. At the same time, the judged stayed his order approving injunctive relief, thus continuing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to Christian Science nursing facilities pending appeal.

Here is an editorial on the ruling from the Chicago Tribune of September 4, 1996:

Like other Americans, Christian Scientists must pay taxes to support the health-insurance programs known as Medicare and Medicaid. But their church shuns conventional medical care, teaching that the proper way to deal with illness is through prayer.

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Haunted no more
October 21, 1996

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