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'Faith Healing' Does Not Belong in Our Health Care 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."

Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists, said that Christian Science and other faith-based healers already receive public money, and that the policy is not based on good science.

"We need to spend that money on providing solid, fact-based medicine. Reimbursing the faith-healing industry wastes precious resources, and violates the separation of church and state."


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