Can we purchase health?

This past week an acquaintance of mine asked a thought-provoking question.

We were discussing the federal health care law and how, as it currently stands, come 2014 all Americans will either have to have purchased health care insurance or pay a financial penalty. The one asking the question, like me, is a Christian Scientist.  I generally choose spiritual care in Christian Science because through the years I have found it to be effective, and I could tell from their question that they do too.

Capitol Hill Question Mark

Here’s the question that they asked: “if we purchased the required insurance for medical care coverage, would we have to use it?”

This might seem like a strange question for those who think of medical care as the only form of health care.  But once accept that there are other forms of health care that the federal health care law does not currently provide for and the question stirs thought.

In my previous blog post I spoke of how considering health to be spiritual would lead to using spiritual metrics to measure health. From this perspective, would one necessarily use the required insurance to use material metrics?

The question also leads to the realization that “health” and “health care insurance” are two separate things.

A friend of mine once shared that they have learned that health is not a commodity.  The dictionary defines “commodity” as a raw material or product that can be bought and sold. Wikepedia points out that commodity markets are where raw materials or primary products are exchanged, and that “these raw commodities are traded on regulated commodities exchanges, in which they are bought and sold in standardized contracts.”  Interesting language considering that the federal health care law requires the states to establish health care insurance exchanges.

Look at the list of commodities on Wikipedia and you’ll see that “health” is not in the list.

I have learned in Christian Science that health is the normal state of man as God has created him.  It’s a state of perfection, free of disease and injury, which man has as God’s “image and likeness” (as Genesis 1 in the Bible puts it). In Christian Science one of the names by which we know God is “Mind” (capitalized because used as a name), referring to God as the divine intelligence.

“Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind;…” writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (page 120). She further says, “… that the divine Mind, not material law, maintains human health and life” (pg 12, Rudimental Divine Science).

So the question posed at the beginning is perhaps not so strange after all. It impels us to ponder the distinction between “health”, “health care” and “health care insurance”.

Can we purchase health ?

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