Monday, June 20, 2011

Value Spiritual Health Care

On June 8 a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on whether to reverse a Florida judge’s overruling of the new health reform law designated the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  Other challenges to the law are also moving through courts.

One of the great benefits of the PPACA is that it has generated useful and bountiful discussion about the many facets of what it means to care for health.  It causes me to question: what is health care and what would make it available to everyone?  Is it exclusively medical care?  And, does ensuring that everyone has medical insurance solve the health care problem?  There is more to it, as we are finding out.

The court challenges seem to acknowledge that individuals make different decisions about health care and have a right to that choice under the constitution.  Supporting that view, the Centers for Disease Control released in 2004 a comprehensive study concluding that a majority of the people in the USA apply complementary and alternative (CAM) health care methods for part or all of their care.  Although the methods disclosed include natural products, meditation, chiropractic care, yoga and others, the most prevalent by far is prayer. The study shows 43 percent of those living in the USA apply prayer for their own health.

These results suggest to me that many Americans have reason to believe that a spiritual source helps in time of need.  I am among those who apply prayer for health.  In fact, prayer is my primary form, and virtually my only form, of health care.  I have repeatedly found help through prayer for healing of physical ills as well as with other daily problems in financial matters and relationships.  Christian Science is my foundation for this help.

The wonderful thing about spiritual healing for me is that it supports my search to understand and trust what I find to be the real source of well being as it is bringing about physical healing. 

For example, one night as my wife and I were traveling with our four year old daughter in a remote area of a distant state, our daughter began to suffer from a food allergy to the extent that her features were severely distorted and she could not breathe.  There was no time to attempt to find medical care as she needed help immediately.  We stopped and prayed in the understanding of God’s truly caring presence.  As we prayed, she resumed regular breathing within a few minutes.  She was able to sleep well that night and was eager to attend her ice skating class the next morning as planned.  The experience confirmed the Bible statement that “God is a very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46)  This healing and many others through prayer alone have confirmed my understanding that health is a quality of God that is found in God’s likeness.  The God I am speaking of is all powerful, all good, ever present, divine Love. 

This healing was readily available even though we were in a remote location.  There were no medical expenses and no place for medical insurance.  It was no burden on others.  It allowed me and my family to feel closer to our source of help.

In the Christian Science system of healing when personal care is needed there are professional Christian Science nurses and nursing facilities, which are fully non-medical.  They are carefully trained and experienced in bandaging a wound or helping a patient move about.  The patient pays for these services, as anyone might pay for similar services in a nursing home.  There are also Christian Science practitioners, professionals with a proven record of spiritual healing who help others through prayer-based care when requested.  In each case, the healing element is purely spiritual, relying only on what the Bible refers to as “Lord God omnipotent.” (Revelation 19)

When our health is at stake, we all want to know that care is available.  Health care professionals of all forms should be honored and valued for the care they provide.

From my experiences, I wish to honor God as the help I need for health, and not just as a complement or alternative to another form, but as the real, dependable, and available origin of that help.  Spiritual care as I know it is always available, inexpensive, responsive to individual needs, and not a burden on others.

The PPACA seems a useful vehicle towards understanding each others’ needs and desires for health care, regardless of how the law may develop.  Through continuing discussions towards progress with health care reform, I am hopeful that our laws acknowledge spiritual health care as the serious and effective form of care it has proven to be for those who apply it by choice and with healing results.  If 43 percent of Americans apply prayer for health care, it is something to pay attention to.