WHO'S TO DECIDE what's best for our nation's ailing healthcare system?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have the answer. However, I do know that an important component of any healthcare system is allowing people access to whatever responsible form of healthcare they've found to be the most effective.

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Not only does this approach reflect an essential dose of compassion for the individual in need, it also honors that individual's ability to discern and determine what's best for them.

For me the best approach has always been prayer.

This is not to say that I haven't had my fair share of health challenges. I've had colds and the flu. I struggled once with debilitating back pain. As a teenager, I was confronted with medically diagnosed internal bleeding. However, in these and many other instances, I was cured through spiritual means alone. ...

Which brings up another question: What exactly do we mean by the term "universal"? Do we mean simply medical care provided to everyone, or a healthcare system that takes into account the needs of all participants, including those who choose to rely entirely on prayer for healing?

Unless we're talking about the latter, I'm not so sure we can call it truly "universal."

Fortunately, there is a long history of insurance plans that reimburse spiritual care and treatment—including private insurance companies as well as programs such as Medicare, Medicaid (Medi-Cal), and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Package.

Of course, special care is warranted to avoid any constitutional church/state issues in enacting provisions allowing for such care.

While it may seem that these provisions benefit only the very few, certain surveys suggest that this segment of the population is growing.

For instance, a recent Pew study found that 36 percent of all Americans had experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an injury or illness ("U.S. Religious Landscape Survey," The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, February 2008). Christian Scientists have been experiencing and witnessing just such healing now for over 140 years.

This trend and this track record are significant, especially as we consider how best to meet the needs of a very large and very diverse population—a population that continues to demonstrate and demand that there be more than one approach to healthcare.

Eric D. Nelson
"Christian Scientists and healthcare"
Visalia Times-Delta. September 1, 2009.

You Are Employed—Now
November 2, 2009

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