Citing a growing impatience amongst their constituency, House Republicans have released their long awaited alternative to the Democratic Healthcare Bill. Utilizing the power of prayer, H.R. 777, dubbed the “Single Prayer” Plan, is likely to cause quite a stir inside the beltway. Under the new plan, American Citizens would spend between 15 and 30 minutes daily praying for the country’s infirmed. House Minority Leader John Boehner was amongst the first of Representatives to tout what he perceives as the merits of the bill; “It seems like a no brainer to me.” he said, “In the past six months, we’ve seen this country engage in a rapid decline into Godless communism. We’re not going to fix healthcare in this country by continuing the course we’re on. Rather, we need to exploit the most powerful and underutilized resource this country has, prayer, in order to heal the nation’s sick.”
New Congressman John Fleming, MD (R, La.) lent some of his credibility as a longtime family physician “The healing power of prayer is not only documented many times in the Bible, but has even been proven by science as having concrete medical benefits. So whether you go by the democrat god of science, or the Real Republican God™, you have to admit that prayer works.” Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann also lauded the plan; “I, as well as all the wonderful people of Minnesota, applaud this bill as not only a way of helping Americans remove themselves from the tyranny of high health care costs, but as a way of bringing God back into a country that has forsaken Him for far too long. If Christianity was good enough for all of this country’s founding fathers, it should be good enough for us.” When it was suggested that perhaps not all of the country’s founding fathers were Christian, Representative Bachman became combative; “You’re one of those Godless liberals, aren’t you?” Bachmann demanded, “Once my HOORAA bill becomes law, people like you won’t be able to walk the streets without facing the scorn you so rightly deserve!” HOORAA or Helping Out by Ostracizing and Resenting Atheists and Agnostics, would require those who have a non-belief in God or are on the fence with regard to their belief in God, to receive several brands on parts of their body, at least one of which must be on prominent display at all times while out in public. The bill is currently in committee.
Anticipating a great amount of confusion regarding the details of the House bill, Representative and part-time theologian Spencer Bachus brought out a large cardboard panel to explain further how the bill would provide cost effective, even free medical services to the country’s sick; “As you can clearly see by this chart my dear grandson helped me make with his wondrous electronic answer box, while even the smallest prayers are answered in some respect by the Lord Almighty, as the amount of active and simultaneous prayers are increased, the healing power increases quadratically. So much so that by the point you reach 100 simultaneous prayers, inflictions even as terrible as homosexuality or liberalism can easily be cured.” Communications with Representative Bachus’s grandson revealed the referenced box to be an 18 month old laptop with Microsoft’s popular Powerpoint presentation software.
Not all House members, however, expressed the same amount of optimism regarding the efficacy of H.R. 777. Ohio’s 10th District Representative Dennis Kucinich expressed his reluctance to support such a bill on the House floor; “While I deeply respect the religious views of the House members who have crafted this bill, I don’t feel confident that prayer alone can solve the nation’s healthcare crisis. As a supplemental bill, I could see myself getting behind this. But for the millions of this country’s poor and uninsured, traditional western medicine and therapy will be required, and unfortunately, that will require large amounts of money and not just prayer alone.” Missouri Representative Roy Blunt shot back out of turn; “I’d expect to hear nothing less from a Godless vegan like Representative Kucinich." Kucinich, a long time Catholic, simply responded with a puzzled stare.
Still others wonder how a bill such as H.R. 777 could be enforced equitably if even at all. An anonymous congressional page noted “I don’t see how a bill like this is enforceable in the least. I mean, even if they managed to mandate the 15 to 30 minutes of prayer a day through some kind of God Czar, how could they be sure that those praying are actually praying for the health of U.S. citizens? What if they instead choose to pray for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? What if they choose to pray for world peace?” When presented with the conundrum, House Leader Boehner responded “While it may never be possible to determine precisely what the citizens under this plan are praying for, God will know. And my God is not one to be mocked.” Boehner added “God Czar, huh? I like that!”
Atheists and Agnostic groups have predictably responded less than favorably to the bill. Co-Founder of the atheist activist group Rational Response Squad, Brian Sapient had this to say; “While frankly I think it’s silly to have to address a bill as silly as H.R. 777, I believe its passage would be disastrous in terms of turning a country that is already overly reliant on religion, into one that is even closer towards becoming a theocracy. If prayer is so effective, why is it that God has never once provided an amputee with his or her limbs back? While modern medical advances are far from perfect, it is man and technology that has provided increased mobility to the many thousands of veterans who have lost limbs in service to this country, not God.” Former Governor and current MILF Sarah Palin immediately held a press conference to combat the statement by the drive-by media member; “While God is all-knowing and all powerful, he reserves his tremendous gifts only for the deserving. If your prayers toward God go unanswered, there’s a darn good reason for it.(Palin winks awkwardly) You betcha!” The comment immediately stirred the members of the media in the presser. One unknown journalist commented; “You’re not actually saying that the men and women of the U.S. military who have sacrificed one or more limbs on the battlefield are actually deserving of their condition, are you?!” Palin only responded by saying “They know what they did.”
Senate Democrats face the bill with the unusual position of being in a strong majority, yet strongly encouraged to moderate their legislation to appease the Republican minority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had this to say; “I’m very much looking forward to seeing a finished H.R. 777. While the bill doesn’t seem perfect as of yet, I’m confident that through reconciliation, we should able to make this a bill that benefits all citizens.” Democratic Senator and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus expressed similar enthusiasm for the bill; “While there is much to like in this bill, I’d very much like to see more be done to help with the nation’s most needy.” Baucus then promptly invited the nation’s top pharmaceutical groups representatives to a closed door session to determine just how the needy could further benefit from the bill. Less than a half an hour later, Baucus exited the conference room and promptly called for another presser. Pulling a handkerchief from his jacket pocket, Baucus quickly wiped off his chin before stepping to the podium; “I have long advocated for a more Godly healthcare system in this country. And with as many merits as H.R. 777 has, it doesn’t go far enough. For many decades, this country’s pharmaceutical corporations, HMOs and health insurance corporations have given selflessly to ensure the public good. With the passage of H.R. 777, they’ll be able to do their job even more effectively. But it wouldn’t be fair to them for us to expect so much more of them without them getting a little something in return. That’s why I’m proposing ‘Cap and Pray’. You see, there is plenty of evidence that due to their intense knowledge of the healthcare system, the prayers of these saintly health insurers, HMOs and pharmaceutical corporations members are doubly, perhaps even triply as effective as the prayers of common folk. That’s why we need their prayers more than ever. I have proposed that for each additional prayer man hour expended over the course of a year, these corporations will receive a one thousand dollar tax deduction. Of course we understand that CEOs don’t always have time for prayers due to their steadfast work in guiding their companies through these tumultuous economic times, that’s why we’ve allowed their employees to pick up the slack. If you have 100 employees and they each manage a meager 10 hours of additional prayer over the course of the year, that’s a million dollar tax reduction right there.” Confident that House Democrats would be able to reach a deal soon on the House bill, House Leader Nancy Pelosi grabbed the hands of Harry Reid and Max Baucus and raised them triumphantly. “For years I’ve been trying to rub off this seemingly indelible label I’ve had as a Godless San Franciso liberal. With the passage of a Single Prayer healthcare system, not only will the country benefit greatly, but I’m sure that my Republican peers in the House will finally see me as I really am.” Representative Bachmann shot back “That’s exactly what I’d expect a Godless San Francisco liberal to say!” Pelosi smiled in return.