Monday, March 29, 2010

The One About Health Care

I’m not by nature political; there is a reason I don’t blog about my views about who should be President or anything else with politics attached—the reason is I do not care to talk about politics. And honestly, if you want to know what I believe about anything, then I’ll answer you the same: I believe what the Bible teaches.

And yet, I find myself at ends with health care reform, partly because I believe it’s more than a political issue—it’s a moral one.

For the past several days, I have talked with way too many conservative Christians who somehow do not see the correlation between being Christian and supporting health care reform.

If you believe in Jesus Christ—if you believe in his teachings—then supporting healthcare reform, of any kind, should be a no brainer.

I don’t care if this bill ruins this country; I don’t care if it puts every business out of business; I don’t care if it bankrupts it all. If you believe in the Bible, then all of that is meaningless! I put God before country, and not the other way around.

What I find most disappointing and shameful is the people who support a bill that helps the poor are largely people who do not call themselves Christians. It seems lately that non-Christians find it easier to follow the example of Jesus Christ then Christians do.

Christians used to stand on the side of the party sometimes referred to as the Compassionate Party, but a little thing called abortion made them step away. I believe both sides are inherently evil.

What’s alarming is parts of this bill seem more conservative then liberal. Conveniently, I have yet to hear the likes of Sarah Palin speak about how this reform bill actually puts money aside for abstinence education. Why should she? She’d rather politicized her handicap son by spreading lies about how this bill is going to basically kill him.

If you don’t believe we should pay higher taxes to help the 1 out of 4 Americans without health care, then I hope, at the very least, we should pay higher taxes to help the 3 out of 4 that do.

Americans pay, on average 2 times more on prescription medicine than any other country in the world. This bill makes it easier to get generics in the marketplace. Health insurance premiums have rose to alarming rates; this bill will be competition to the market. Everyone has heard the horror stories of people who pay insurance for ten plus years, only to get denied coverage because they claimed the condition was somehow preexisting before they got insurance; it’s common practice, but this bill is the first one to ever come along that can stop it.

In four years every American will be required to have insurance—but that’s only part of this bill. A larger part is what it will do for those who already have it.

We live in, supposedly, the greatest country in the world—and yet over half of bankruptcies happen because of health related expenses, even higher are the number of lives that could be saved if they could have afforded to see a doctor earlier in their illness.

I’ve paid for my own health care for over five years; so has my wife. And yet, when we get sick we still go to a cheap clinic because we cannot afford to see the family doctor we saw while as kids—our insurance isn’t good enough for that. We have no co-payments, and lousy deductibles. Usually, if we get sick we just suck it up and hope to get over it soon because we just can afford the visit and the medications that follow.

The trouble is too many people are getting their news from 30 second sound bites that have conservatives rambling on about things that are either not true or taken out of context. And because they say they are Christians, people believe them.

Say what you want about this bill, but I hope you actually take the time to educate yourself with what it actually says, and not what people tell you it says.

It made sense when Christians staged protest against gay marriage—against abortion—against evolution in school. But this? This has drawn bigger protest then all those things combined! And it’s about helping people!

Millions of people are crying out for help—and not a single Republican thought the time was appropriate to help them. Is paying more for taxes to pay for this thing bad? Honestly, I think we deserve the higher taxes for the way we’ve behaved.

17 comments:

  1. Very interesting post. I don't agree with you all the time (mainly about Christians being against gay marriage or abortion, as I'm a Christian who supports the right to have both), nor am I thrilled to see in this post the same us vs them language used for Democrats and Republicans, but I have to agree with you that taking care of the health of others is indeed a very Christ-like thing to do. My friend's pastor in NYC did an amazing sermon the Sunday that the health care bill passed - it's incredible. I invite you to take a look:

    http://www.shphelps.com/se/2010/For.the.Healing.of.the.Nations.htm

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  2. I merely mean that conservatives, by and large, are against gay marriage/abortion; my personal feelings towards it would take much more then a comment. What I mean is when I see Christians stand against an issue like gay marriage/abortion it makes sense--I see where they're coming from, and there is Biblical principle to it (whether or not you agree). But when I see Christians protest this, I am absolutely baffled! There is no justification for a Christian to say this is wrong.

    Democrats and Republicans do us "us vs them" language; I use it to. But I'm coming from someone whose middle of the road on most issues. I try and see both sides equally before passing any judgment. What's odd, however, is I thought the bill was actually quite conservative and fair to both sides.

    I'll have to take to take a look at that sermon when I get a second.

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  3. I have a REALLY hard time with the people who call themselves Christians, but stand 100% against healthcare reform.

    My husband and I are by no means poor, but because he has type 1 diabetes and I have one bad kidney, we had to drop our coverage 5 years ago because it came down to a simple question, "do we want food and shelter or health insurance?" We went with the obvious choice.

    There are so many different passages in the bible about the poor, and I think that if anyone was a TRUE Christian, they would support anything that could help the needy among us; they would put aside greed and personal gain for the benefit of us who really need something. To the politicians and average Joes who call themselves Christians, but oppose healthcare reform (or anything for the good of peaople as a whole), I'd like to remind them of this passage, "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." -Proverbs 21:13

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  4. @danielle and dinosaur toes:
    For the sake of you and the millions of people like you, I hope this bill does all that it promised.

    I have it easy, not really having any medical conditions to worry about...and yet I still have a hard time with health care. I can only imagine how bad it must be for you and your husband, and I hope it gets better/easier for you soon to get the help that you deserve.

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  5. I just want to say thank you for this post. I agree with everything you said, but often find it hard to debate politics because I try to steer clear of it all. I know what I think is right, and what the Bible teaches. Apart from that, I don't really care to understand. So from now on I'm going to refer everyone I talk to, that doesn't agree, to you. Or at least to this post.

    I work with adults who are developmentally delayed. And let me tell you- this bill is nothing short of a miracle for them. I don't see how people can stand back and let them keep living the way they are- sick and alone. I guess it's easier just not to look.

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  6. I 100% agree with everything you've said. But I'm not American, so I should probably stay out of it... can't help myself though.

    As an Australian, currently living in the UK, 'universal' healthcare is a wonderful thing. Yes we pay a decent amount of tax, but it goes to many different things - education, infrastructure, social welfare etc - why shouldn't health be included in this? Whenever my family and I get free health care I'm pretty damn grateful. My mum has been in hospital twice in the last year for at least a week each time - had MRIs, xrays, blood tests, everything - and it's all been free under the public health system.

    The US health system is a scary concept to me as a foreigner. Whenever I hear about it, I think about how lucky I am to have been born elsewhere.

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  7. You don't understand, man. This is all just a Communist ploy. Run for your lives! The Reds are coming!!!!!1111oneoneone

    Just kidding.

    But yeah, I never understood why Christians would be so strongly against this bill. For me, there's too much of the American every-man-for-himself mentality mixed in with Christianity. In fact, I might get into trouble for saying this, but I think that if 24-hour news networks were around when Jesus was here, Fox News would be on the Pharisees' side.

    From what I've read from NPR and Politifact, this bill is not perfect, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

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  8. Scott - I see your point about understanding the root of the argument against gay marriage and abortion with Christians but failing to see where the Bible ever talks about universal health care being horrible. I just get worried when I see universal language like "all, every, not a single" used when it comes to Democrats vs Republicans (You used it with the sentence "Millions of people are crying out for help—and not a single Republican thought the time was appropriate to help them.") and I worry that by us lumping each other into our respective boxes we are making it worse by passing up the chance for real dialogue to fix this country. Then again... it might be past that point, sadly.

    Again, great post. Very thoughtful.

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  9. I heard a person say something along the lines of, "There will be plenty to fuss over, but at least there will be something to fuss over." That really sums up how I feel. It's not the perfect plan, but at least there's finally something to work with.

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  10. I'm a Canadian, but have been fairly interested in what y'all are doin' down there, south of the border! I've always been amazed at the joined-at-the-hip Republican-Christian alliance. I guess we have our own similar here, but you guys do it up really well!

    Travis, I think you are right in "too much of the American every-man-for-himself mentality mixed in with Christianity." That's kind of what I have observed from afar.


    Scott, I too have seen that "It seems lately that non-Christians find it easier to follow the example of Jesus Christ then Christians do." Somewhere we have lost our way, but many of us are finding ourselves (and Christ) again.

    Thanks for a good post that helped me understand some of the ramifications of where you are coming from, and where you are headed regarding health care. I'm certainly glad our politicians made that plunge. Interestingly enough, it was through the efforts of a Baptist preacher (Tommy Douglas) that Canada moved into universal public healthcare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Douglas)

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  11. A friend of my pointed me to your post. I find your argument that Christians should back this bill a very interesting one. I am one of the many Christians that does not support this bill for many reasons. The most glaring reason in my mind is that the federal government should not be providing this. In Acts the church (individual and as a community) would step up and help fellow believers and non-believers without the governments help.
    That being said the church in our country today is very segmented in our beliefs and has not, or will not, step up and help when people need it most. So to fill that role our government has started to take on that responsibility. This is the part that I do not agree with. I understand that God's will is completed even through imperfect means.
    I enjoyed reading your perspective and I hope and pray that the church might someday step up and lead.
    -Erik

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  12. Erik, a couple things come to mind.
    I agree that it is our responsibility (individually, and as the church) to step up and help. You say: "I hope and pray that the church might someday step up and lead.". But I don't think Jesus would sit by and wait for organized religion to help. I think he would do the opposite--he would do something about the need immediately.

    It appears to me that Americans like to be as Travis said: "every-man-for-himself" (except when you need to have the clout to counteract something). I kind of remember "government of the people, by the people, for the people" which, if it is actually working, means that if the people (individuals, church, or whatever) want to make sure needy people are being helped, government (which is the people) is exactly how they can do it. Granted, governments often operate against the wishes of the majority, but if they are encouraging and enabling us to live as the church is supposed to (which we totally agree on), then I think it is something we should support wholeheartedly.

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  13. BTW, Scott, did you hear that the guy who tossed money to the guy in the wheelchair apologized, and said he got carried away?

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  14. I hadn't heard that--but what's he really sorry for? That he looked like a jerk on TV, or that the guy didn't have healthcare?

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  15. Erik is correct.

    If we are speaking about following God's wishes, and if we can all believe that the bible is God's infallible word then the bible has a very clear outline on the roles of government, and the church. Us assuming Jesus would do anything other than what the bible teaches and talks about is making our own assumptions on Gods mind which is dangerous and leaning on our own understanding. it's kind of creating our own Jesus.

    God said not one iota of the law should be changed. He came to complete it, not abolish it (Matt 5:17-20). If you look back at the law and the roles, the church (meaning not just the institution, but us the people who make up the church) were to take care of the poor, the government was to carry out the laws and not much more. This country has fallen further and further away from God and his law and the results are all the problems this country is facing that the bible warned about if the people were to fall away from God.

    Just because we as sinners put ourselves in this position, doesn't mean we need to take things into our own hands and do things our way instead of Gods. What's scary is people convincing themselves that it's what Jesus would want when in reality it's going against what he and the law instructs. Non Christians are definitely not following Christs example by desiring the health bill. A lot of times people take advantage of Jesus's love and forgets that Jesus upheld and followed the law with his love. He challenged the wrongness of the pharisees and how they were following the law, not the law itself.

    This is such a hefty topic to dig into because it's not as simple as saying "If you believe in Jesus Christ—if you believe in his teachings—then supporting healthcare reform, of any kind, should be a no brainer." Really studying the bible and learning to discern is the way to truly help the poor and run a Godly country. Gods wisdom and teachings do not lead to health reform.

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  16. @Sarah, I do not believe that if you don't believe in this thing, then you are not a Christian.

    But here's the thing--sometimes God uses vessels that don't even believe he exists to help his people; when he does this, it's usually to prove a point.

    Matthew 5:17-20, however, is about cannon law and prophecy; the fact is there is nothing in the Bible about health care reform, so the best we have is what the Bible says about love and compassion. Do you remember the parable of the man who’s on the street and the so-called Jewish person just kind of steps over him while the gentile helps him recover? That's sort of what's going on right now. Christians are standing around saying, "it's not the governments place to help people!"

    What you really have to ask yourself is this: there are literally millions of people lying sick on the road. As a Christian, what do you do? Your response shows that you believe it is definitely not very Christian to have health care in place for these people--so what is your solution? What is God's solution?

    Erik believes the church should care for them. That makes sense. I'd love to see some churches step up and take action. Maybe there will come a day when this will be possible--if you need more things to pray for, then I'd get on my knees for this one. The reason we are in this position, however, is because Christians have not did a very good job caring for their own, let alone caring for others.

    What would Jesus do? He wouldn't care about health care reform, because he is the ultimate health care reform! But if you want Christian’s to take this approach you better start warming up your hands and getting Pentecostal, because what you are saying is Christians shouldn't even go to doctors at all--they should just lay hands and do nothing but pray for a healing.

    So we come back to this bill. If you believe that we should put our hope solely in the fact that God will heal us if he wants us to be healed, and you want to forget about doctors all together, then it would be best not to support this bill; but if you are a Christian who believes doctors are just instruments of God and he uses them to help his people, then I would hope you'd want to take it a step further and say that God is using this bill as an instrument.

    Until the church can rebuild itself and go out and regain believers it has lost, then I think the best thing we can do is just accept that God has given the country something that can take care of all those crying out to him.

    Jesus says that we should let the government do what it does; perhaps instead of complaining about whether or not this bill is right (or even if it is Christian), Christian should use it as an opportunity. I believe that God uses everything as a blessing--there is nothing that cannot work to God's favor. This is an opportunity for Christians to work together (not apart). If we cannot even stand together for something that's about helping people, then the country isn't evil because of all the wickedness in the world--it's evil because of all the stubbornness and arrogance between fellow Christians—it’s evil because satan has pitted Christians against Christians, and right now he’s winning the battle.

    Whose right here? It doesn't matter! Take the bill for what it's worth and help the dying people.

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  17. Great, gentle response Scott. (Nicer than I might have been!)

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