Bernard Eichenbaum responded to my article published December 6, 2012 in the San Diego Union Tribune by asking: “Who would determine prayer efficacy?” This comment was published in the Letters to the Editor section of the paper on December 9, 2012. Myy response to this question was published in the Letters to the Editor section on December 19, 2012, “Insurers embracing spiritual forms of health care:”
In response to Bernard Eichenbaum’s letter concerning the determination of prayer efficacy, some prayer-based therapies have already been supported by insurance companies without any need for government involvement. It seems like we can overcome the concern Mr. Eichenbaum expressed about government interference with religion by leaving the coverage decisions to insurance companies based on principles of supply, demand, and cost effectiveness. I’m finding more and more examples where health delivery systems are willing to embrace spiritual forms of care among their offerings, and it is directly benefiting not only their bottom line, but also, more importantly, the health of the patient.
As an example, Aetna, a leading diversified health benefits company, serving approximately 35.4 million people with information and resources about health, announced positive results seen in studies that offer evidence that mind-body approaches to health improvement are an effective and targeted solution for employers who want to lower the costs associated with stress and help their employees achieve better overall health.