An occasional newsletter for Assistant Committees on Publication in New York State
“It shall be the duty of the Committee on Publication to correct in a Christian manner
impositions on the public in regard to Christian Science,
injustices done Mrs. Eddy or members of this Church
by the daily press, by periodicals or circulated literature of any sort.”
(Article XXXIII, Section 2, of the Church Manual)
New York Legislation
This January began the first half of the two-year legislative session for New York. The legislative focus for this year is health care and Christian Science nursing. To this end, the Committee office is tracking legislation and has met with Legislators to discuss bills that require amendment specific to these priorities. We are also tracking legislation on additional issues particular New York State.
We have been meeting with Legislators to request that state lawmakers include coverage of Christian Science practitioner and nursing services in the benefits that will be offered by health insurance plans through the state insurance exchanges in compliance with the national health care law - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This inclusion would be consistent with the long history of government accommodations for Christian Science health services in Medicare, Medicaid, and other government Health Care plans.
In addition to meetings previously reported for this year, in February we also had a meeting with the Office of Senator Seward to discuss health care reform and the New York Health Benefit Exchange.
We are also working to schedule additional meetings to discuss these issues and other important topics particular to New York.
Federal Health Care
The Federal Office is currently pursuing several approaches regarding the 2010 health care law — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). To date there is bi partisan support growing for including a spiritual health care provision. The Federal Office is:
- Requesting that the federal and state governments include coverage of Christian Science practitioner and nursing services in the benefits that will be offered by health insurance plans through the state insurance exchanges. Given the intent of PPACA to provide coverage for all, it seems fair that the law meet the “essential” health needs of all individuals regardless of faith. This would be consistent with the long history of government accommodations for Christian Science health services in Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs.
- Seeking a legislative solution with Congress that would allow anyone with a “sincerely held religious belief” against purchasing the mandated health insurance to be exempted from the requirement. The current religious exemption in PPACA gives preference to a few select faiths—allowing the Amish, the Mennonites, and Health Care Sharing Ministries to opt out—without respecting the rights of all faiths. We believe the rights of religious minorities should be respected when it comes to their health care decisions.
Additional information on current developments with Federal Health Care Legislation can also be found on the Committee on Publication Federal office website in the “Health Care Reform” section. The URL address is:
In March, the Committee, a Legislative Associate from the Committee Federal office, and eight constituents met with the Office of Congressman Reed in Jamestown, NY to discuss the Affordable Care Act and to recommend a possible legislative solution for an exemption from the mandate based on strongly held religious belief. The meeting resulted in the Legislative Associate supporting our request and assisting a follow-up meeting in Washington, DC with Congressman Reed’s Health Care staffer, who was also supportive to our bill.
Capital Hill Day
On May 8th and 9th, the Committee, the Federal Office, and several NY church members will be participating in a Capital Hill Day to discuss the Affordable Care Act and to ask Legislators to support our bill to provide an exclusion from the mandate based on “strongly held religious belief” in precedent for Christian Science healing practice. There are currently more than 100 meetings scheduled with members of Congress or staff members.
Thank you for your support
The New York Committee Office is appreciative to all Assistant Committees, church members, and to those who have been active in these initiatives, especially for all your prayers in this work together. We are also very grateful for contributions in support of this important work.
Committee on Publication for New York