Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health care=human care

I'm sure that what I have to say carries absolutely no weight in the matter, but this whole health-care thing has weighed pretty heavily on me. Partly because I've spent the last few days digesting what different types of people (ideologically, religiously, economically, etc) have had to say and how they respond to what has come out of the work in Washington, D.C. And partly because I've been amazed at some responses, and saddened by others. I've spent a lot of time reading various articles, from a variety of sources, from blogs to mainstream news media, trying to form my own opinion on the matter.

Plus, I'm United Methodist, and I wholeheartedly agree with the statement that "Health care is a basic human right...We believe it is a governmental responsibility to provide all citizens with health care" (you can read the full text of ¶ 162 V here).

So here is my take, and I am curious as to yours...

To start out with, I know the current system isn't working. I know it because so many people suffer as a result of the way things are set up now. I know that I have suffered, medically and financially, because of the current system (but not near as much as so many other people living in this country).

I have heard many, many arguments against this bill but there seem to be two main ones.
The first resembles something along the lines of the sentiment, "The government is taking over". To this I respond: When is the last time that you complained that the government requires you to have car insurance? Or complained about the fact that you drive on paved roads every day? Or the fact that (in most places in this country anyway) you have clean water to drink? Besides, the options aren't what they once were when this reform was first considered-there is no longer a public option, so you won't be forced to be treated through "socialized medicine" (please sense the sarcasm here...)

The second argument seems to revolve around "money issues". In so many ways, money just makes me sick. Yes, I understand some hospitals and doctors may suffer monetary discomfort, a decrease in salary, etc. To them I want to ask the question, are you paid enough to support a decent standard of living? If the answer is no, my response is to seriously consider exactly how you are a steward of your money. Too many people (or perhaps more appropriately, companies/businesses) profit based on the loss and suffering of others, and anything that can be done to stop that, seems like a step in the right direction to me. Are you being asked to pay more in taxes as a result of this bill? Suck it up. The reason you're being asked is because you can afford it. If you think you can't, think of all you have. I guarantee there are things in your life that can be minimized or cut out altogether.

If you want to know who this bill truly affects in its benefits, I found this article to be a fantastic source.

The bottom line is that discussions like these (or is it politics in general?) bring out the worst in people, which is why I so often veer in the opposite direction. Plus, I really just don't like confrontation all that much. It really makes me angry to see people be so disrespectful towards one another, and both sides of the aisle are more than guilty of this. I feel (and I know everyone doesn't) that health care is a problem that needs to be addressed. I wish we could do it in a civil way. I wish people could weed out the fear-driven tactics that they acknowledge as "fact" and could think on their own two feet. I wish that so much opposition to the steps that our government is taking weren't rooted in selfish desire.

I don't often get involved in political conversation, in part because I know I have a lot to learn about our political system, but also in part because of my role as clergy, and I don't think the church should tell people how to vote. But I think the root of this issue is one that the church has a lot to say to-the fact that all persons should be given the right to health care, and not just if their pocketbook says they can have it. I think Jesus would agree with the place that this bill is nudging us (I really appreciated Gordon MacDonald's comments on Jesus' focus on healing, found here). So let us all remember that this is just the beginning-and no, what we have is not perfect, there is still much discussion and revision to happen-I just pray that it happens peacefully. And I hope that we as a country can realize that everyone does deserve this right.

What are your current feelings and reactions to all the discussion this has stirred up?


  1. Neoconservatives (not to be confused with someone who happens to be a Republican) have brow-beaten the concept of government legislation and taxation as inherently evil things so thoroughly into the American psyche. Evil may not be the best description, but it's the best I can come up without a thesaurus.

    Combine that with a near-absolute intolerance of any differing opinion, on both sides of the coin, has led us to this sad, worrisome state where ill discourse is considered the norm.

    We are a fractured country, not unlike the Weimar Republic of the 1920s, and I fear the possible outcomes.

    If I were a historian, I would be interested to look back at political discourse during the social reform periods of FDR and LBJ. Was it just as acrid, bitter and derisive as now?

  2. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I have struggled to formulate what I'm willing to say to the world about health care reform. I'm not going to say it in this little tiny comment box. But I will probably post about it on my blog too. I'm not sure if you're doing youth ministry right now or what, but has health care reform been a hot topic in your church or in classes?

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