it's easy to be against health care reform when you have insurance

its easy to be against health care reform when you have insurancenote: this is part of the august synchroblog focused on christian’s response to health care reform. i haven’t participated in a while, but i thought i’d join in this month.  links to other posts on the same topics are below.

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i usually stay away from political topics here on the carnival.  once in a while i enter the fray, but on the whole it just isn’t something i focus on here.  trust me, though, when i’m across the table from anyone over coffee or food or at some fun party i love to engage in lively dialogue about political b.s.!   also, there are some times when i feel a little bit more compelled than others to put my two cents into a conversation because the topic is near and dear to my heart.  that’s how it is with issues surrounding health care reform.

i am strongly and adamantly in support of universal health care.  i know some of you are cringing right now and that’s fine, we will agree to disagree.  we live in one of the wealthiest, most-educated, most christianized, supposedly most sophisticated nations in the world and 46 million people in this country do not have health insurance and access to proper health care.  i believe that is wrong.

i also believe it’s easy to be against health care reform when you have insurance. just like it’s also easy to be against gay rights when you don’t have any friends who are homosexual.   or rip on illegal immigrants when you’ve never looked one in the eye and seen their fear or heard their story.  yeah,  it’s also easy to talk about “those lazy people who live off the government” when you don’t know anyone who struggles with mental illness, disabilities, or all kinds of other obstacles to self-sufficiency.

i remember shane claiborne saying something at his jesus for president tour in denver last year that “we vote according to what we see out our front window. “ in other words, when you live in a nice house in the ‘burbs and have a good job & a couple of cars & good health insurance and a 401k plan and can pay your bills, you will tend to vote a certain way.  and if you live in a place where there’s reduced rent & not too many running cars, well, you probably see things a little differently.

i live in the ‘burbs.  i live in a nice house, have a good education, we can basically pay our bills, and i have never gone a day in my life without health insurance. even though my mom was a single mom, somehow she always had a job with insurance and so i have always had that luxury in my life.  a chunk of years ago i would say that most of the people i was around—who were out my front window—were in the same boat as us.  i have no idea how they are voting, but my guess it is a little differently than me.  you see, now in the world that i live in most of my friends are part of the 46 million.  they do not have health insurance.  sure, some have medicaid and i can’t tell you how glad i am for that.  but a chunk of others are in the category of the “working poor.”   they make too much to qualify for federal aid but they work their tails off at jobs that no longer provide health insurance.  we all know that the days of great benefits that last forever are over.   profit margins are too tight and the first thing to always go are employee benefits, first and foremost medical coverage because it’s so expensive.   and because people desperately need jobs they have to—to survive—take jobs without health insurance.  then they live hoping & praying they won’t get sick, or that their kid won’t break their arm, or that some how, some way, they might be able to have access to health insurance in their future.

i find it so interesting to hear some of the facebook comments i have seen from conservative christians related to health care reform.  things like “why should i have to use my money to pay for those people who won’t get off their butts and work” and “it won’t be long before the US is socialist” and a host of other things that honestly i don’t take the time to even remember.   the thing that makes me sad is how a reactionary capitalist mentality has flooded christianity.  the mentality of be-prosperous-successful-take-care-of-me-and-my-family-only is more pervasive than we’d like to think.

Jesus calls us to care for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned, the rejected, the oppressed, the unprotected. what this means is we are supposed to give some of ours to help.  we are supposed to make sacrifices that we don’t necessarily want to make but are wiling to because Jesus reminds us of that  life-here-on-earth-is-not-about-gathering-wealth-and-taking-care-of-only-our-own-needs.  it’s about sacrificial love.  it’s about taking care of others needs.  it’s about seeing gaps and filling them.  it’s about humbling ourselves for the sake of others.  it’s about offering our coats, our food, our hands and our feet in a tangible way even when it costs us time & money & energy.

i do not want the government to take care of health care for us.  i wish that we, as christians, would.  that we’d take all the money that we waste on church video screens and building mortgages and big ol’ fat salaries and looking good and feeling good and directly invest it in making sure that in the communities we lived in (beyond just faith communities) there was no one who went without.  no one hungry.  no one terrified to get sick because they know it will sink them financially.  no one carrying the burdens of day-to-day life all on their own.  i think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  but that is not the way it is.   christians have not stepped in to make it work through private gift giving, and millions of our neighbors suffer terribly.  and to be honest, the problem feels so big and the options so few that often we don’t even know where to start.  i absolutely hate that we have many friends in the refuge without proper medical insurance.  it feels terrible.  but we don’t remotely have the $500 a month per person to keep them afloat, and it is a travesty that that is how much it costs.

so meanwhile, i see a potential option, a plan that might help do what is right on behalf of those in need, to offer medical care access for all.  as a christ-follower and a good tax-paying citizen with health care insurance, i am willing to give up some of my benefits for my friends.  sure, it might mean longer lines, not as good of care here and there, and some other wacky things that i am sure might end up being annoying.   but who cares?   if it means that my friends can get the treatment they need then bring it on.  we’ll get by no matter what.  but without medical coverage, others won’t.

when it comes to a christians’ response to health care, my take is that we should be leading the charge.  we should share our resources.  we should give a rip about our brothers & sisters who do not have what we have.  Jesus called us to lay down our lives for our friends and i don’t believe he meant “ friends just like us.”  i think he meant friends we might not see  outside our living room window. we have a responsibility as Christ-followers to bring the kingdom of God here on earth—now.  this means we will need to lay down our lives for others –men, women & children across all shapes & sizes & backgrounds—so that they can live.

God, give us  eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to respond.

ps:  i love all of sojourners work in this area.  they rock.

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a few other bloggers writing on this topic today:

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

97 Comments

  • We can agree to disagree, yes 🙂 I’ll just give my point of veiw — that I agree we are to care for those in need around us. I disagree in that I don’t believe we should lean on the governmnet to do it for us. I don’t believe people should be forced to either.

    If I ever did want to use an institution, I would choose one that has the same heart as Christ and was a good representation of Him. I will not (nor could ever see myself in the future) being a supporter of giving power & resources to a government to distribute as they see fit. I will not support relying on the government to give out to whom they deem necessary – especially a government that is one of the most ineffective & corrupt entities in the entire history of the world. I don’t think our government is the problem in our country – I think the problem is our hearts. Our greed our materialism and how the church has not stoood up and spoken against chasing things of this world. Now because of our failures, many are now turning to the government to do the work of the Church. I don’t think the ends justify the means here because in the long run I believe giving that much power to the government will be our destruction. making the government our savior, king, of most importance is an idol like anything else could be. I believe the govt & church are 2 separate entities and are meant to be separate with separate roles. I have seen too many people who actually need help not get it — yet I know it’s not because the government doesn’t have the resources. It’s because we have an ineffective government that is not a good steward of what they have been given and let too many people take advantage of the system. I don’t see the answer to this and the solution I vote for being to give more resources to the government and ask them to help others. but what will be will be. It’s not something I stress about, debate about in person or am actively campaigning for or against. I think one can just look at history though and sees what happens when government is relied on by it’s people to be it’s everything.

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  • but I still love ya & respect ur voice and i hope u can say the same. i do understand why you feel the way you do – I think a lot of it .. as always… is just our experience & information we each have had up until this point. just different information we each have up until this point in our lives

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  • wise and compassionate as always, friend! it would be good to see the church spend its money on people’s real needs vs. expensive equipment and buildings. i also see it as a better use of our tax money too. the government will not do a perfect job but it’s better than no care for far too many

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  • Thanks for stirring the topic Kathy, and thanks for your thoughts Randi. Please don’t feel personally slammed by this Randi, but rather as a general conversation starter.

    The cries of some Christians that we should be taking care of all of this thru individual beneficence of our private contributions to the lowly rings utterly hollow, and completely false. I say that moment has passed, and we have failed. If the idea had any merit, we would see Christians already taking care of their own, and even more so taking care of others as we are commanded. Instead, we have proven that “christianized” hyper-individualism doesn’t work in time of real need, to our real neighbors, over and over again for decades. Since the idea of fully caring for one another is deeply biblical and historic, I can only conclude that it is our myopic self-absorbed greed that is at fault. To react out of fear of socialism or capitalism is to miss the point. Instead, we are to act out of Love, as champions of the Kingdom of God as He taught us- caring for one another. To let any ideology keep us from that is to turn ideology into idolatry.
    In my opinion there is no problem with the health care system in this country, we have good doctors and nurses. The problem is access. We need access, plain and simple.
    Health INSURANCE companies are engaged in a morally bankrupt business, and we would be better off if all health insurance companies were put out of business as the kind of blood sucking leaches on society that they are, serving no good purpose and violating principles against natural monopolies in capitalism. They are gatekeepers of an artificial gate, playing a game of perpetual keep-away, complicating the simple thru pretzel billing, and sectioning off huge portions of our cash for their elite’s egrandizment.
    Medicaid for all.

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  • by the way only one more thing I promise haha….. I just think it’s interesting that I don’t think capitalism is the problem at all – in fact I think it’s the biggest blessing and best system in the world for a country to have. I always thought that capitalism and capitalist mentality is not how you described at all but instead was about “you will be rewarded proportionately to the work you put in. (what goes in comes out). So you do your best with what you’ve been given and with the fruit of your labor you take care of those around you and those less fortunate”.

    If there’s a family that can’t ‘input’ so they don’t get output ( can’t work) should they be taken care of – yes because many have in abundance. But Personal responsibility & accountability is the best way to help people get up and have long term success to be able to have their own fruit to spread to others. Getting a hand out with no accountability nor qualifications does nothing for a person’s long term self worth nor long term independence. What if they can’t work because they have a major addiction they can’t get over – if given money from the government – they will only ever get worse not better. If given money from a private organization/person – they can have a person/friend to be the one in their personal life & situation to come in and help them that can see what the bigger problem is and get them REAL help not just monetary bailout. Having capitalism is the only way we can get people from being dependent on the government to not being anymore…. any other system goes the other way creating more dependence…. and in those systems – once dependent always dependent.

    capitalism is all about having the wealth and the exchange of it in the hands of people & private companies rather than only one group (government) to do with as they please. I believe in sharing wealth yes — but not with the government.

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  • Hi Randi, I agree with your statements
    “I believe the govt & church are 2 separate entities and are meant to be separate with separate roles. … It’s because we have an ineffective government that is not a good steward of what they have been given…”
    and
    “I think one can just look at history though and sees what happens when government is relied on by it’s people to be it’s everything.”
    I so agree.
    Yet what do you say to my assertion that your idea of personal Christian response-ability to help one another is an absolute failure in this country? The U.S is the biggest banner waver for the god of capitalism (except for maybe China). Yet what has that meant for millions of people here who’s only two choices (if they get a life threatening illness) are financial ruin or death?
    Either Christians haven’t ponied up like we should have, or the problem is bigger than we can handle. either way, look at what we have now. We failed to deliver in good times, do you really think we can deliver the Kingdom for each other in bad times? Maybe so- I believe in the power given to us but it sure won’t sound like the self-righteous hyper-individualism I so often hear in radio rhetoric which hasn’t added a single fruit to the vine.

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  • Thanks Sage – just read your comments and will think and get back to you. As usual I’m just in this middle ground where I don’t like either ‘extreme’ / ‘side’. will write more soon – just wanted to let you know I saw them and hear you. I know that my voice won’t be popular on this issue around here and I’m okay with that – no offense or hurt feelings 🙂

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  • Thanks for considering my thoughts and questions, no offense or hurt feelings here either, and FYI you get my thoughts while kicking the smoking habit, so I am less diplomatic than usual!
    …the only ‘side’ to be on is that of the Kingdom of God…

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  • Having grown up in a country in Scandinavia where EVERYONE has access to health care, it used to be completely “free” now it costs a little bit but not hugely ( I have to pay about 17$ a visit to see a doctor but maximum you have to pay for three visits, i.e. maximum pay a year to see a doctor is about 50$ – not bad .. you get some govt aid for prescriptions as well, staying in hospitals costs something obviously as well but it is not huge again and there are govt subsidies) it’s beyond my understanding how you need a health insurance..and so costly too?! And I have no trouble seeing it state responsibility-hospitals etc. – why not?

    (We pay for it in taxes and it is shared help and sharing of resources.)

    and thinking just today I was complaining about the Finnish public health care system and how slow it is compared to COMPLETELY free and QUICK General Practioner System in Scotland (I LOVE them)..at least I have it, access, without paying 500 dollars a month for it. I truly feel bad and sorry for the system in the US and join you in hoping and praying that it will change.

    lots of love

    mimosa

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  • Thank you, Kathy, for opening this up from a faith perspective. I haven’t responded to your blog before and I apologize in advance if I say anything inappropriate. However…

    1) The parts of our medical system that work best are run by the government: Medicare and the VA. Around the world and here in the US, most people who have ever had government healthcare have loved it. If you suggest to Canadians or Brits that they adopt our system they laugh at you.

    2) Even if I have insurance, health care reform will bring down my premiums by lowering costs and removing what we pay extra to care for the uninsured.

    3) Health care costs are not only strangling the economy, they are also exerting great pressures on churches, especially small ones.

    4) We already have rationing: the rich get health care and it’s a dicey thing for everyone else. We already have a bureaucracy between us and our doctors: it’s a bloated, for-profit behemoth that rakes in billions of dollars a year. Give me the government anytime.

    5) I agree that in theory the church ought to take care of its own and of the poor. But under the current system it is impossible. You can’t pay for brain surgery with a bake sale. Do we want a high percentage of our mission giving going to pay the already wealthy medical industry? Who’s going to sign up for that? Mission giving is already down.

    6) And now please permit a little venting: Capitalism, being the systematic institutionalization of sin (mainly greed, but gluttony, lust, sloth, anger, and a few others figure prominently as well) is inherently evil. It is explicitly about serving mammon. Serving mammon is the whole point. Therefore, it cannot be harmonized with serving God or with the life and teachings of Jesus.

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  • I would call upon everyone reading this and more to avoid at all costs the naive mistake of thinking that giving the government control of health care would be anything less than a disaster of biblical proportions.

    We look upon the injustice of the present health care quicksand and we want a quick solution so people can get the care they need. Socialized medicine is going to create an exponentially worse state of injustice, and there will be just as many people who won’t get the care they need, if not more.

    People will have to wait *forever* to get treatment, and they will have to *qualify* for their treatment based on the criteria set forth by bureaucrats.

    Wake up. Don’t kid yourself. The very reasons people are so upset about our health care problems are the reasons they should be in fierce opposition to socialized medicine. You think what we are seeing now is unjust? You haven’t seen anything yet.

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  • Phil, at the present time people have to wait forever, as in never getting health care unless they go to the ER too late. And everybody who is fortunate enough to have insurance still has to qualify for their treatment based on the criteria set forth by bureaucrats as you fear, only they are corporate bureaucrats. I don’t know why you see this as some sort of vastly preferable situation. You talk of justice, I honestly don’t see how adding the profit motive does a thing to further justice in this area.

    Paul, I don’t see why you would put “sloth” on that list, most capitalists take pride in working excessively, unless perhaps sloth can be re-written as “golf”. 🙂

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  • Kathy–
    Great post! As always, I love your passion!
    Yup, church should be taking care of the poor. Don’t think Mother Teresa had insurance for her beloveds…

    Thanks again and enjoyed the lively debate!

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  • I’m always surprised by why there is such a debate about this issue in the US. Here in Australia we have had universal health care for about 30 years now and friends who are doctors and have travelled agree that our health care is some of the best in the world. It’s definately not perfect … after all it is run by people … but I don’t see why access to required health care should be determined by your financial status.

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  • Sage,
    on your first post – I do have fear of different systems of government. It would be fine if I knew the government would act out of “love” and be kingdom minded but they aren’t, don’t, won’t. I don’t have the same values as them. I am still an anti-abortion/ anti-euthanasia traditional. They already are talking of giving care based on attributes that I HIGHLY disagree with. I am an advocate for the elderly and in this first draft of the reform presented there was a very sneaky clause in there highlighting how the elderly would be the least on priority for care so would be the last to get it, if at all. Helping them die would be the priority. This reminds me WAY too much of socialist & communist countries who kill babies & elderly and anybody they don’t see as productive. You think people aren’t getting care now…. wait until the government has a say who gets what care and when. We will be descriminated against for being generally healthy and high profile diseases will get the most care. It will be based on politics & lobbying for “popular” diseases at the time. Care won’t be given to people (like the elderly) who literally can NOT work because they are not beneficial to society. We do not have the amount of doctors & nurses in this country to support all of our care. Statistics have shown this again and again. we do NOT have the resources right now to support all. Where will the government get all this money for new doctors & nurses? It will be a disaster to implement the way they are trying to. It needs to be a slow process not a quick reform.

    I already hate how our funding for research gets decided on by the government. High profile diseases like AIDS (which in our country is almost 100% only spread adult to adult by voluntary activity) gets a TON of money leaving no money for say Lymes Disease – one of the most under researched epidemics going on in our country which happens because of an involuntary accident (tick bite).

    But yes I do have fear of the whole system. Just as many have scars still from what their grandparents or parents saw & endured… I have heard too much from my grandparents who have seen what can happen when government has too much power. I will always vote for the people to have more power than the government. Including in healthcare.

    I don’t think it’s too late for the church. That’s just naive me that actually does have faith in the Body to not need the government to be what God called us to be. I think that God can absolutely change our hearts – but I imagine that if we as a body don’t turn from our ways – this will be a major wake up call that people trust the government to take care of people better than they trust the church. A major shift in our country & history will take place.

    but I understand all have different backgrounds & information – that’s just me 🙂

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  • Sage,
    for your 2nd comment . I just disagree. I still have hope in the church – as broken messed up off the path and disunified we all are — I don’t believe it’s too late. He will present His church to Himself radiant, pure – I believe in His work in the church. You think that capitalism is a god…. I think that by giving so much power & resources to government – we will prove how much our government is our god.

    I don’t think that capitalism itself is bad at all – a system is neither evil nor good.

    The problem is the people behind it and because most (the majority) of people in Washington and our government systems have HORRIBLE values & are self righteous individuals as you say – truly only looking out for themselves and their position in government….. I agree – so why would I want to give them MORE power & resources!?

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  • Thanks for the post. I really do not understand the politics behind all of this, however in three weeks regardless of 13 years of service to my company I will be without health insurance and unable to get it at a rate I can afford. They will cover me for a price but they will not cover anything related to my life threatening illness. The question is not if I get sick it is when I get sick. My hope is that I will figure something out before that happens but if not then I could die.

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  • As Christ followers, I think we should not be so concerned with the worldly cultural illusions that are capitalism and socialism and government as much as we should try to understand what Jesus was saying in his life and death and resurrection. Randi, you describe capitalism as “… capitalist mentality is… …about “you will be rewarded proportionately to the work you put in. (what goes in comes out).” Fine, but Jesus did not describe the Kingdom of God this way. Instead think of the equal pay of the workers for their day, the investments of the talents with expectation of return, and “he who is first shall be last, and who is last, first”. Taken together these are paradoxical, resist proof texting, and don’t seem to say a thing in firm support of any earthly economic or political system. Jesus is teaching us what it is to love God and love our neighbor.
    Both of us identify that there is evil in putting trust in any thing besides God, I warn against the idolatry of faith in capitalism, you warn of the idolatry of faith in government. we are both faithful to Christ and serve him by our warnings. Matthew 22:21 is likewise a very mystical answer to an entrapping question, but describes what it is to be “in the world, but not of the world”. We work with what is here, to the glory of God, as much as we can.
    If our motivation is fear, then it is not of God.
    If our motivation is greed, then it is not of God. Jesus was very clear about that.
    Melissa, there is a reason this argument is so persistent in the U.S.. It reveals the hidden downside of being such a creative and entrepreneural culture. It is the internalized myth that each one of us can “make it”, be a billionare, a top 2%er. We keep faith in ourselves (instead of God) and keep faith in the system, protecting the interests of the ultra rich because of our secret desire to be them. It takes a lot of readings of the sermon on the mount to start to break thru that persistent and tragic illusion. In spite of the rhetoric, most of us would rather not have any need for God, or at the very least don’t want to experience what that actually means.

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  • Also Randi, responding to some of your thoughtful points-
    The fact that there are not enough doctors, nurses, and hospitals for everyone. Well why the heck not? Is this somehow a good thing? Sounds like the kind of situation we used to accuse the USSR of, or more recently, Canada. We also used to not have an interstate highway system before Eisenhower, that didn’t keep us from building one. Yes, it will take some time.
    Your characterization of AIDS is just factually wrong, and while Lyme’s disease is disabling, it is not as death-dealing as HIV.
    I’m quite sure that you are right, government funding will continue to flow to the disease of the year, with others being shorted. No net change from the old system to a new one.
    You say “we do NOT have the resources right now to support all.” Ok, but we seem to have the resources to try to re-structure and hold Afganistan, which has kicked everyone’s imperial hiney back to whatever country they had come from for hundreds of years, over and over again thru history. Is that more important than healing the sick? I know what Jesus did given the choice of taking up the sword or healing the sick. He healed the sick, healed the sick, and healed the sick.
    At some level, it would help to humanize “the government”, so it is not some kind of evil object. WE are IT, in a certain way. I thought Americans were proud of having a representative democracy, and government is one of the things that goes along with that.

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  • I hear ya Sage… but I’m out of the debate. I’m not politically savvy nor smart enough to debate to your level right now. I only have the information I have and like always – the truth is always so hard to figure out. I don’t know whose information is right. Maybe someday I will feel like looking the truth up on these issues – but not anytime soon! haha. I too am dealing with a physical issue – you quitting smoking — me being pregnant and having horrible morning sickness!! haha SOO I just don’t feel like I can continue. I’ve said my peace and I have heard yours. Sorry I am not a better debator for u and can give better support for what I’m saying. I know there’s so much more I could say – but I just don’t have it today. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying – it’s very bad we don’t have the doctors/nurses/resources – but my point on that particular point was just it is going to take a lot of time & money to get there and the plan laid out in this healthcare reform will not work. they are trying to rush too much and it’s scary. Other people’s care will have to cut with the way this is being done and brought to the table. not everybody is going to get care – so we’re leaving it in their hands to say who until it all works out and they will cut the elderly.

    I think it’s interesting each ‘side’ can take parts of the Bible and support systems either way but I’m not going to do that…. because I don’t think teh BIble is clear how our government should be set up – only how the church should be. thanks for ur insight! I wish I was more “with it” so I could continue – very interesting conversation !:)

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  • ah, you never know what you are going to get when you hit “publish” 🙂 i appreciate the conversation & it is too hard for me to keep up with in a busy day today but i will make a few comments.

    first and foremost, and i am not sure it came out clearly in my post and may have gotten lost: i do not think the government should do for us what we should be doing for each other. i think part of all of this is that “the church” hasn’t taken good care of each other. the sharing of resources described in acts 2 is not a normal way of living for us; it’s an anomaly and it shouldn’t be. second, and i hear this in some of the comments and a few others via email, is the “we don’t want the government to do if or us, we’re supposed to be doing it.” okay, i agree with that completely, then HOW are we going to do it? how are we going to take care of the astronomical costs of providing health care for our friends who don’t have it? is your tithe going to go that instead? are you really ready to take on the medical expenses of someone who has no access? my point is that all sounds good in theory, i completely agree, i want us to do it, but saying it’s one thing and doing it’s another. meanwhile, i have friends with pre-existing conditions that plain ol’ can’t get the care they need. who is going to pay for them? they’re not poor enough for medicaid but they are just scraping by. that’s my question. who is going to do it? i know of some networks and co-ops that have been operating well but there a lot of limitations there, too.

    i completely recognize how tricky the whole thing is, i do hope it stirs up passion in us to consider some alternatives, but so far, i haven’t seen any on the table that actually make sure that all the people who can’t get it, do.

    randi – thanks for your perspectives. i love your passion & willingness to engage. yes, this is a good one to agree to disagree and i love that that is possible. i think what i said above applies the most. i completely agree with you that the idea of the government getting involved isn’t the best but i don’t see christians stepping up to the plate and making sure that needs are covered. sure, donating some stuff here and there, giving some money and some time, i get that, but i’m talking about actually making sure our friends don’t sink and have the care that they need. i would love to see more and more pockets of intentional communities where true sharing of resources was being lived out, including medical expenses. someday maybe that will be in our future, but i think that’s a long way off for most of us and requires a level of commitment and sacrifice most of us aren’t willing to make. anyway, thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts!

    sage – you crack me up. anyway, i want to emphasize health care access vs. health care insurance because i do believe that the insurance companies are a huge part of this problem, there’s no doubt. they are getting fat and happy off this huge social problem and it’s just plain wrong.

    ellen – yeah, i think it’s easy to talk about how “we want to help” but are we willing to give up our snazzy buildlings for it? love ya and hope to get reading tonight the other posts!

    mimosa – thanks for your thoughts here. it is funny how often we hear about socialized medicine in other countries as being archaic and terrible. i know there are downsides to everything, no doubt, but the freedom of knowing you are “covered” is a huge gift that many people in our country do not have. thanks for taking time to comment, i always love to hear from you!

    paul – thanks for taking time to comment and add some great thoughts to the mix. so well said, really. you never have to apologize here. people who read are all over the place on this issue and i like that. one of the things that i hope this continues to stir up is how messed up things have become and how unless we get off our tails and respond in tangible, practical ways nothing will ever change. to me, the injustice of “care for the rich and none for the poor” needs to be really examined but because capitalism is such a sacred cow in this country it stirs up the hornet’s nest. anyway, thanks for stopping by & hope to hear from you again….

    phil – thanks for taking time to comment, it is always interesting, all of the different perspectives. “disasters of biblical proportions” is some pretty strong language. it will be interesting to see how it all plays out and only time will tell.

    beth – yeah, something is definitely amiss! i look forward to reading the other posts this eve. thanks for taking time to comment. we have some good models for what is possible but we are so afraid to give up our comforts for them.

    melissa – thanks for offering your perspectives, too. like mimosa, you have a different experience from those of us here. i agree, i don’t think that financial status should determine who gets cared for and who doesn’t. that is just not okay.

    sylvia – thanks for taking time to share. you are a perfect example of this and the impact of not having insurance is having on you. it is wrong. you work hard. you pay your bills. you do what you need to do to get by and now you have to live in constant fear. that is not right. i am so sorry and angry on your behalf.

    laurie – thanks, i needed that 🙂

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  • It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die
    Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky
    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

    Then I go to my brother
    And I say brother help me please
    But he winds up knockin’ me
    Back down on my knees

    There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
    But now I think I’m able to carry on
    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will -Sam Cooke

    let’s hope so.

    peace

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  • Thanks for the response Kathy and as always loving tone 🙂 I know what you mean and I do hear you. I do see why you (you all) believe the way you do. And what I’m saying or dreaming does just seem unrealistic – impossible, out of reach, a lost cause and demanding a level of commitment/sacrifice like you said – that we just don’t see like we do in the Bible or dream of. I know I don’t have that level of commitment/sacrifice I need to/could. Wish it was an easier solution. *sigh* hard stuff!!

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  • Kathy, I love reading your blog, but I have to be careful whenever I click on ‘read more…’ because then I have a hard time stopping myself from your blog to the next one and the next, and soon hours have passed! But I love it!
    It is good to hear all these ideas and opinions, so much of what I am thinking. I do think the biggest piece for me is actually moving from theory or in general statements to the personal – knowing and talking to real people who have to worry about this because they have no insurance and the lack of compassion I hear from many people just infuriates me!
    I just watched a video clip someone sent me, against reform, where they break down the numbers of who is without insurance and cut out alot of the millions by saying they ‘choose’ not to get it because they can just get it for free if they really need it (there were a few young people they interviewed who still think they are invincible, but they include homeless people in there, too), and illegal immigrants don’t count because they shouldn’t be here anyways, etc, so, they whittle it down to ‘only 18 million’, as if that number is okay! I also agree that government doesn’t usually do a good job in running things efficiently, but what are our other options that will really look to meeting the need of people, regardless of how much money they make or where they were born? This taps into to so many issues that drive me crazy, but I will stop here. Thanks for getting us thinking and talking!

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  • The number of people who have limited access to health care because of no insurance is increasing daily and will probably affect you or someone you know in the next few years unless something changes.

    I have numerous family members and friends who work in the health care industry as health care providers, insurance billers and health insurance company bill processors. Most of them tell me variations of the same story – Many, many people, should they for some reason lose their current health care insurance and not be able to get group coverage through some employer, would be unable to afford to buy coverage.

    The primary reason – “Pre-existing conditions”. Unknown to most of us, health insurers scour through our medical records when we apply for insurance. Unknown to even more of us – many of our medical records are incorrect. Some of this is due to normal mistakes. A lot of it is due to health care providers using the wrong diagnosis codes for insurance claims. An insurance biller I know says this happens regularly. Another person I know who works in the field says it is often intentional, done to increase the payments the provider receives from the insurer.

    Most of us have no clue that something like this might be lurking in our records. Most people discover it years after the fact, at which time it is almost impossible to get the records corrected.

    I personally checked my records over a year ago and discovered that several appointments had been coded to show that I had a terminal condition, which was totally incorrect. It took almost a year to get it corrected, including over twenty five phone calls, letters, talking to the doctor, and going directly to the business office manager. Fortunately, I had insurance in the interim. Imagine my problem if I had been trying to buy insurance. Someone knowledgeable in the field said I probably would not have been able to buy any insurance.

    At the bare minimum, health insurance needs to be available to everyone. Everyone should pay the same price. Pre-existing conditions should be eliminated in determining who can be insured and what they pay. Why would anyone be against such a system?

    The biggest problem – Who will pay for coverage for those who can’t pay? Other problems – Who decides if the insurance will pay for the test or treatment you think you need? (My doctor friend says many patients absolutely demand tests and surgeries that are not only unnecessary, but sometimes harmful.) How long will you have to wait to see a doctor or get a treatment/surgery? (Again, my doctor friend says almost every day patients demand on being seen immediately who have only minor health issues, such as the sniffles.)

    I take Romans 13:8 literally – “Owe no man anything”. If all of Jesus’ followers did, including collectively as churches, can you imagine how much money that would free up to help those who need health care, lodging, food and the other necessities of life? Instead, we have house mortgages, church mortgages, car loans & credit card balances. We want more than what we have the money to pay for, so we’re in debt, and pay our creditors huge amounts of money for the privilege of being in debt. How can we possibly help those in need in any significant way? We’ve given that responsibility to the government by default.

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  • I’m an unapologetic entrepreneur and capitalist. I consider it one of my God-given gifts. I own a business that creates jobs for 5 employees. I try to compensate them handsomely, treat them with dignity and respect, encourage them to maximize their God-given abilities and yes, I pay 100% of their health insurance premiums. My father has a company that employs 40 people who have the same kind of work environment. Both companies are committed to mission work (which includes time AND money) in their respective communities.

    I’m curious. If we evil capitalists go away, who will create the jobs – the jobs that support families? the jobs that pay taxes, both as companies and individuals? the jobs that allow employees to give to Churches and other charitable organizations?

    Yes, we must help take care of the weakest members of society — but the government is comprised of individuals whose only interest is staying in office and amassing power. They don’t care a bit about the down-trodden unless there’s a vote to be had.

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  • I am waiting to be told of the country that has national health care where it is not wildly popular with the people who use it.

    If Capitalism was working, especially with regard to health care, we would not be having this conversation.

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  • Paul –

    I’m curious – what do you do for a living?

    I don’t discuss the abstract. I talk about specifics. I talk about what I can do and what I can influence others to do to better the lot of others. I am about solutions, not navel-gazing.

    Think about this — what country in the world are people risking everything to get into? What country in the world don’t most people want to leave? People risk THEIR LIVES to get into the US. Very few people want to leave. Why do you think this is?

    Do you think the government will create the jobs necessary to pay the taxes to pay for government healthcare? Visit the job creation statistics for the federal government from January 2009 through the present for that answer.

    There are flaws in the current system to be sure. I want to offer specific, workable solutions. What are you after?

    CZ

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  • CZ, talking specifics, wouldn’t it be better for your company if universal healthcare was already provided to your employees? You could invest that large amount of money back into the business, or perhaps hire another employee? It sounds like you are already in the most heavily taxed bracket (those above and below don’t pay as much in real terms) so I wouldn’t advocate raising your taxes. But wouldn’t government health care help your business in a real way, as a good capitalist?

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  • Sage –

    I am in the highest tax bracket (39% corporate tax – that means I don’t make ANY money on Mondays or Tuesdays) and 39& personal income tax (which means I don’t make money on M, T. or W’s). Net-net, I pay almost 50% of my INCOME (not profit but INCOME to taxes) as it standsnow.

    If I hire more employees, I can’t pay the entire insurance premium for everyone. I don’t have a single enployee with a college degree. I don’t have a single employee who makes less than $80,000 per year. I think that’s a very generous salary.

    Yes, government healthcare will help ME as my costs will go down dramatically. A government healthcare plan will not help my employees AT ALL!

    It’s the funny thing about good capitalists – we want to take care of our employees because we want to keep them. Government – it just wants a vote to stay in power.

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  • Thanks for confirming my guess about your situation. You pay a lot more than the 15% that those who never have to work a day in their life (are supposed to) pay, waiting for their dividend checks to show up. I personally fear that over-taxation at your level discourages honest enterprise.
    Nonetheless, I wish we had not just a robust “public option”, but outright single payer healthcare thru the government for everyone. It speaks very well for your business that you treat your employees well, even though it serves the interests of the shareholder(s) (presumably you)to do so. I can tell that you also want to do the right thing for your people.
    All very good, and thanks for confirming that a government health plan would serve the best interests of the shareholders of your company, which corporations are required to do. It mystifies me when capitalists rail against the idea of a public option, except when they are part of the private insurance system specifically at risk.

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  • Sage –

    Please tell me your age and your employment situation because like you, I have guesses about your situation.

    The tax rates that I am facing after the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010 will probably force me to sell my business. If I can’t make money, why risk it? Go to back to my original posts – I seek to create jobs that allow families to prosper, live in nice houses, and not have to worry about paying the grocery bill.

    Btw, the shareholders of my business are me, my, and I. Call me Miss Pronoun but my employees make far more than I do. The only profit I will EVER see is if I sell the business — the irony here is that the push for a single payer system will force me to sell the business, force the employees to take a pay cut, AND make them pay more of their salaries for inferior treatment.

    So if small business goes out of business, who is going to pay the tab?

    YOU DON”T LIKE CAPITALISTS – WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE?!!? IF THE GOVERNMENT CAN’T CREATE JOBS (AND THEY CAN’T), WHERE DOES THE REVENUE COME FROM?!!!?

    THE EVIL CAPITALIST WHO JUST HAPPENS TO CREATE JOBS AND PAY A BOATLOAD OF TAXES EACH YEAR,

    CZ

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  • Kathy,

    Thanks for posting this. I’m without healthcare–and it’s hard and I only have some minor annoyances that I deal with. i only know what it’s like to deal with my lack of insurance, but dear friends of mine are trying to raise a family–two boys without insurance. How they do it, I don’t know. As I write, my friend is undergoing tests and treatment for an abnormal EKG– how will she pay?

    Not a week goes by that I don’t seriously worry how I will pay for something–or rather, how my life will be destroyed if I suddenly break a bone or need surgery–or worse, have an ongoing, life-threatening illness that needs constant treatment. How would I ever pay for those things?

    As for me– I understand all the politics surrounding these issues. As an economist, I get it. It’s dangerous to the capitalist system. It’s dangerous in general. But we need healthcare.

    And I’m of the opinion that the government, created by the people and for the people SHOULD be leaned on in times of need, to try and repair the great social issues of our time, and yes, to provide healthcare in a very accessible way. Why can’t the church do that, I know some people have asked… but show me the churches in America that do that well… not my church (yet). Probably not many in the city of Denver. So who?

    And since when should Christians fight to protect the system of capitalism that permits the private healthcare system that we have? At the risk of repeating above arguments or triggering the defense mechanisms of those who love the system (me included– I often have a hard time not being hypnotized by the ideas of capitalism)–that is not the Jesus way– and any one who would try and argue otherwise is sorely mistaken.

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  • I, like most Americans want to reform the healthcare system to protect people from going bankrupt should a serious disease present itself.

    Is a single payer system the way to go? There are many on this blog who seem to think so – I’ve already set a reminder on my calendar to check back on 9-1-2014.

    There has never been a collective to date, which has worked.

    There has never been a country that willingly, chose anything other than democracy.

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  • Kathy, Thanks for stirring the pot. I too am a supporter of universal heathcare. I appreciate all the comments though some of them just make me cringe. I don’t get why people are so anti-government. I think we have an amazing opportunity living in this country to be involved in government and to shape what our society looks like. We aren’t living in a dictatorship. If you don’t like the politicians then run for office and make the changes you want to make. I think there is evil, greed, and corruption out there but it’s not where you think it might be. I have worked in a couple industries that in my opinion are really in control of the system as we know it. One is Pharmacuetical and the other is Medical Insurance. These companies make huge profits with CEOs that make millions of dollars. They employ people called lobbyists who work specifically to ensure the company’s agenda will be adhered to. Those political ads on television telling us that the elderly are going to be euthanized if universal health care passes are being paid for by these companies. They don’t want the government (we the people) to have more control of a system they already have control of.

    I have to say that I respect people that take public office. The jobs on the whole don’t pay that well compared to the private sector. The hours that they put in and the dedication to what they believe are in my estimation something to admire. Even if I don’t agree with a politician or their agenda I have the freedom to voice my opinion and to take action to replace that politician.

    There are churches that do take a stand on caring for the sick. Both my grandmothers are in an Apostolic rest home. It is privately funded by the Apostolic Church and for a nursing home one of the lovliest places I have ever seen. The church can make a difference. We as Christians can make a difference. I guess it depends on what we are willing to sacrifice and how willing we are to stand with our brothers and sisters in need. One more thing that I love about the government option is that you don’t have to be any certain religion to get help. It just helps you no matter who you are. What could be more Christlike?

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  • CZ, I admire your ability to create good jobs for people, and that kind of care moves into your community with care and stewardship. not everyone has that skill set and good jobs are always a good thing. I am not anti-capitalis, I am anti-idolatry. We love and serve God directly, not by way of serving some other system first in order to serve God down the line as a result of serving something else.
    You say “There has never been a collective to date, which has worked. ” Well, Jesus had a common purse system with his followers and disciples, and I suppose you can say that since the empire strung him up and excecuted him and his followers scattered, that it didn’t work. You can say that the Acts church collective which made sure everyone was covered for their needs in desperate times didn’t work (even though they helped bring down the Roman empire by the power of their example). I actually think that the greatest failure of the Acts church was in not integrating economic productivity into their structure, But since Jesus never talked about the value of serving capital, and they apparently trusted God day to day it was just a failure. My basic point is what do we really trust and who do we really serve?
    The very thoughtful stories here, esp. by Sylvia, Ryan, and Julie are so important.
    .
    a p.s. for the sake of detail, if you are interested.
    CZ, your stories don’t seem consistent. You say that you earn less than your employees (which I believe having run a small business before), but you assert that you will be put out of business if you loose the Bush tax cuts, which mostly have to do with inhereted wealth at the highest level. If you are in that income bracket, you are not making less than your employees (unless you count them all together)
    “WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush’s tax cuts, according to a new Congressional study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.”nytimes
    You say “— the irony here is that the push for a single payer system will force me to sell the business, force the employees to take a pay cut, AND make them pay more of their salaries for inferior treatment. ” Unless your company directly serves the current dysfunctional and doomed health insurance system, I just don’t see how any of those things would follow simply from introducing a government option to cover everyone. You can keep paying the good insurance for your employees, nothing would require that to change. You already agreed that universal coverage would free up more money for your business, so how would that force you to sell it, or make your employees take a pay cut?

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  • Kathy – Great post – it seems you and I were thinking very similarly for this synchroblog.

    You said: ” the thing that makes me sad is how a reactionary capitalist mentality has flooded christianity” and it makes me sad too – and it makes me sad that I was caught up in that mentality for quite a while until something came up in my own life that made me have to question the mentality and the foundation that it rested on.

    As I said in my post – there really is no scripture to pull out that supports the for or against position of government sponsored health care but the spirit of scripture supports the idea that if there is a way we can provide healthcare for everyone in our country then it is what we should do – and it can be done with a public option and/or universal health care and there is nothing evil about government run health care systems.

    Comments like “I disagree in that I don’t believe we should lean on the governmnet to do it for us and I don’t believe people should be forced to either.” sound like a shallow excuse to me.

    Just because we have a public option or a universal health care system does not do away with many things that the church should still do for the sick but the church cannot support the bill for healthcare in the society that we live in – the cost is too prohibitive and the cost is not going to change for the better until we get some sort of government run, not for profit health care system in place to compete with the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical organizations that have run amuck.

    Government run health care options are the only solution.

    If we try to reform without a public option there will only end up being more people without insurance as it will drive insurance prices up and cause ins. companies to come up with more new and complicated reasons and loopholes to get around the reforms.

    I believe most people against a public option or universal health care reform are against it because of personal preferences instead of some conviction or belief system. I believe as Christians we need to put others interest before our own and set our own rights and preferences aside for the good of the least of these.

    Someone told me that they believe that a country/society/culture can be judged by the way they treat those most vulnerable in their midst and I hear voices from all over the world accusing not just America but also American Christians of lacking compassion and love and of being self centered and individualistic…I am praying that this opportunity to provide health care to everyone would be a turning point for us here in America.

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  • Michael Babcock, is an Evangelical Christian and a professor at Liberty University, the school that Jerry Falwell founded. Babcock has written a book, “Unchristian America” which details the complete failings of the Church when it seeks to become part of a governmental process.

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  • Sage, and others, just to be clear: I have never said that our present health care crisis is somehow “vastly superior” or desirable. That is putting words in my mouth. There is certainly injustice, and there isn’t much about it that is pleasant. There are long wait times at present, and there is a certain amount of rationing, which is cause for concern and some kind of reform is certainly needed.

    But if the present universal single-payer proposal is implemented, I seriously don’t think the present injustice or problems will be solved. They will get worse. Maybe not immediately. In the honeymoon period, it will feel like bliss.

    So the present problems certainly need our attention, but the lesson we should learn from history is that the government is rarely very good at solving these kinds of complex problems without creating worse problems of its own in the process. Those problems may not emerge right away.

    We certainly can’t trust corporate bureaucrats. We can trust government bureaucrats even less. They are just as motivated by greed and power as anyone else.

    All that being said, to be honest, the present proposals for health care reform are hardly deserving of the term “socialism.” The concern here is that with rising costs and with the way things will almost certainly get out of control, it will easily turn in to that in a desperate attempt to address the new crisis. The increasing burden of cost will result in more control. More control means less freedom. Less freedom means more injustice.

    We will have to see how it turns out. But we won’t see for a long, long time. No one will be able to say “I told you so” just a few months or years after it is implemented and it seems to be going OK. Some of the kinks may take time to work out. Some of the serious problems may not surface for years. We didn’t get in to the mess we are in over night. The present system seemed fine years and years ago.

    The bottom line is: can you trust a government full of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to solve a complex socio-economic problem like our current health care crisis? And to solve it in a way that promotes freedom and well-being? We should know the answer to that. I realize we can’t trust corporate bureaucrats either. But the government by definition is there to regulate, not innovate.

    I don’t claim to have the answer, but I admire the question. 😀

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  • Why are we so conditioned to think of government as a bad thing and to sterotype politicians as corrupt and greedy? It’s like saying all white people are racists. Is it the media influence? Is it the church? Is it just plain old fear? Is it that the government will have too much control of our lives? Do we really have all that much control over our lives? As people we have always had some form of leadership or government. God raised up many leaders like Moses and King David. Is it so hard-fetched to believe that our leaders could be led by their love of humanity or is their only motivation power? Hasn’t God shown that he is ultimately in control no matter who is in power?

    So if we as followers of Christ know in our hearts that we should do what is right for our fellow man and a plan is presented to do that very thing. Why are we not trusting God to implement that plan? Instead of criticizing and drawing sides why are we not partnering with those who want to relieve a major stress in the lives of our fellow citizens? Why are we not gathering together in prayer for our leaders and beseeching God like Daniel did when he was being ruled by an unbelieving King? God answered Daniel’s prayers.

    When this country declared it’s independence from England it was a handful of men who led the way. I am sure it was scary for the people to go from a system that they understood to trusting the new leadership. I think that is what we are seeing today. People are so attached to the way things have been and they are afraid to change. There is new leadership in the White House. I just don’t see what the personal gain for these leaders is going to be to offer a public option. What was Senator Kennedy going to get out of it? Even though he knew he was dying he was working to get heathcare passed for every American. God knows the hearts of all men and women. He knows our hearts and He is the only one fit to judge. I hope people look beyond themselves on this issue and can see the bigger picture. I hope we can look to God and trust that He is in control.

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  • Kathy:

    I’m so glad that you had the courage to broach this topic. I’m coming to make this comment as someone who has lead a community similar to demographically to the refuge and I know all the things you have shared here about all the stereo types that people have about those people who live in difficult neighborhoods are untrue for the vast majority of our neighbors living in impoverished and economically challenged communities.

    However one of the things that bothered my conscious and drove me to seek Father to show me solutions was the large, though not majority, of people who were being enabled by me to continue not taking responsibility for themselves. No I’m not speaking of the Elderly, disabled mentally/developmentally/physically. I’m referring to the able bodied and minded, who have thrown the opportunities they have had to the wind by choice. Neither am a speaking of those who are the genuinely oppressed. I’m speaking of those who fall in the category that the Apostle said are worse than unbelievers, because they do not provide for their families.

    Nevertheless it is those few that I’m referring to that becomes the excuse for not caring for anyone. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people whom I know for certain have never lifted a finger to help anyone in genuine need who have used the excuse that what is in acts 2 with regard to the community of beleivers or the scriptures mandate regarding caring for windows, orphans… is not calling us to start a welfare state as an excuse for their doing nothing.

    Here’s my concern the people on both sides of this topic are simplifying the issue to much. One uses the above types of ludicrous excuses for doing nothing and the other side uses the facts of real need to show no discretion at all as to who or how much is handed to whom.

    Our Father is the most creative being and we are made in his image therefore as followers of Christ and bearers of His image we should be the most creative people on earth. And stop using extremes as an excuse for simplistic extreme responses in either direction. This is the case regarding health care and the case regarding providing for meeting every other need in the world.

    Because both extremes do not reflect Christ’s response and are irresponsible.

    That is why I do not support Obama’s plan. There is a better way we just haven’t found it yet, it will be irresponsible to just accept something and support something simply, because no other more responsible alternatives have been brought to the table.

    Tom Wilson

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  • holy smokes, this has been a real wing-dinger. so interesting, really. i am sorry that i cannot jump in on every comment and so sometimes it takes me a couple of days to catch up, but i will say i have appreciated the depth and breadth and uniqueness of the different comments. it is so hard because i think if we were all around a table looking each other in the eye it would feel better; the coldness sometimes of words on a screen along with strong language is sometimes very hard. it is obvious there is a lot of passion to this issue and i respect that. i knew by writing this post i was putting myself out there, too, and that is the risk that i am willing to take here at the carnival.

    one thing that is so apparent is this is a very complicated issue with no easy answer. this plan is not “the answer”. but i do believe that equal access must be integrated into the fabric of our culture when it comes to health care in some shape or form.

    as christians, one of the things i hear over and over is “we don’t want the government to do it.” okay, that’s fine, but then i ask: are you really going to? i am realistic enough to say “probably not.” sure, maybe jose & i could help pay for some stuff here and there, but really assume that burden, like for the long-long haul for our friends who can’t get health coverage? and i do fully believe that is what we are called to do. i’m not saying it’s not possible, i think these wonderfully radical ideas of Jesus are possible. i’m just saying i don’t have a lot of faith on behalf of those 46 million people that it’s coming anytime soon.

    anyway, thanks for taking time to comment. i do hope we can all respect we see this differently but that we let love & grace fill in all the things that bug us in these kinds of conversations.

    john – yeah, i hope so, too.

    debbie – great to hear from you in the fray! yes, i think that is what i am looking for too, more of the practical and real. i really do stand by my statement that it is easy to say when we are sitting in a different place. i know there are some that dont’ have insurance that aren’t pro-health-care-reform but i think they are few and far between. almost everyone i know with a bankruptcy in their story has medical bills somewhere in there that killed their ability to ever catch up. not always, but a lot of the time. did you read kimber’s post? i think you might like it because it had some specifics. love from afar.

    sam – i always love your perspectives here and i am glad that you shared some specifics. anyone with a pre-existing condition knows what that means these days. it means they are in BIG trouble in their future. it can be terrifying. the whole thing is really a big fat mess…did you ever see the movie sicko?

    CZ – thanks for offering your perspectives here. there are people all over the place on this issue that read this blog, that is for sure. i appreciate that you are one of those business owners who take good care of your people. i wish there were more like you because i know of a lot of business owners that are struggling to make ends meet and health insurance is the first to go. i respect their dilemma. but now jobs with good insurance are getting fewer and farther between, especially with people who are just struggling to get by – can’t qualify for medicaid but can’t get insurance, either. the issue is complicated. i hope we can all be respectful and continue to learn from each other and put faces and stories into the mix because that’s who we need to keep considering–not ourselves because we have good jobs & insurance at the moment—but those people who do not and will not anytime soon and are around the corner from a medical disaster…who is going to make sure they are taken care of?

    sage – i have thoroughly enjoyed the conversation you have offered here and think it’s a drag to really not be able to sit at the table together.

    ryan – you are always so articulate. thanks for offering your perspectives here and yes, as much as we might want to try to line it up Jesus’ ways are not the ways of the world. i admit, in so many ways i am totally bought into the ways of the world and perpetuate the madness in many subtle and direct ways, including this. i don’t know what all the right answers are, that’s for sure, i get it is so complicated, but i do think we had better be careful to ask ourselves the question as christ-followers–what ARE we supposed to do about this? (besides just talk about it, we’re good at that :))

    julie – thanks for taking time to comment and offering your perspectives. i think you bring up a lot of great points to consider. you reminded me how glad i am i don’t watch TV so i don’t see all those crazy commercials!

    liz – thanks for your post, too. i especially like what you said here and think it’s so true: “someone told me that they believe that a country/society/culture can be judged by the way they treat those most vulnerable in their midst.” i am very sad to say that we have a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality in full force and that unfortunately christians–not darwinists–are subtly perpetuating it.

    phil – yes, it’s not that i trust the government and think they are so hot at it. i like what you said at the end of your comment: “Can you trust a government full of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to solve a complex socio-economic problem like our current health care crisis? And to solve it in a way that promotes freedom and well-being? We should know the answer to that. I realize we can’t trust corporate bureaucrats either. But the government by definition is there to regulate, not innovate. I don’t claim to have the answer, but I admire the question.” yeah, it’s complicated no doubt. the whole idea of this conversation is to stir up in us–what are we supposed to think/consider/move/act/wonder about/care about related to this issue? thanks for your thoughts.

    tom – thanks for your thoughts as always. it is complicated and of course it’s not like i think this is the most amazing plan ever. but i do feel that access must be available to all and that i know many many able bodied people who work their butts off but that doesn’t equal health care coverage for themselves or their families. i agree, God is creative. we are stuck in a system that is messed up, there’s no doubt, and that will continue to be our dilemma. the biggest question to me is always: what am i supposed to do to make sure i’m not just worrying about myself but for those who may not have a voice or power in a moment that they need some. ah, it will be interesting to see what unfolds…

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  • I do watch TV. Not a ton because my antenna only gets one channel. I like the news programs. I like to hear people’s stories and what is happening around the world. It makes me feel connected and not so alone. This topic and the comments that have been written really got me thinking. I admit that when I wrote my comments before I hadn’t actually read the Obama Health Plan. I was going by what I have heard on the news. Words like socialism and capitalism have been thrown around a lot. I decided to be more informed so I looked up the plan on the Internet and read it. I also looked up socialism and capitalism and read more about those subjects as well.

    I feel like I am more informed now but even more perplexed as to why there is so much opposition to having a national health plan. The Obama plan may not be ideal but it’s generous and appears to me to benefit most people. I don’t think it’s a socialist plan either according to the definition of socialism.

    In my opinion, socialism seems to be a good idea at heart but is a flawed system that in the past hasn’t worked so well. Capitalism is a great system for those who are able to benefit from it but not everyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Do the working poor really have a chance to make it in a capitalistic society or will they always be the working poor? How can somebody making $10 an hour afford health care if their employer doesn’t offer it? These are the people that ring up our groceries, get us our coffee and care for our children in daycare. If we need these people to do these jobs in our society and we can afford to help them why don’t we? Wouldn’t our society be a much better place to live if more people could feel the generosity and not feel stuck in their circumstances?

    For what it’s worth I know that I am an idealist and that is how I see the world. I believe it’s a gift from God to believe that good things are possible. I appreciate all of you realists out there who bring your perspectives too. I think it’s probably somewhere in the middle where we are going to find clarity. Thanks for letting me share what was on my heart.

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  • “Jesus calls us to care for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned, the rejected, the oppressed, the unprotected.”

    Jesus did not call us to point to a government and say “what is done through that system, those actions are my actions. If that involves care for the poor, attribute that care to me.”

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  • julie – thanks for sharing & it is very inspiring to hear of such intentional work researching and learning and discovering…that’s one of the things i love about these kinds of conversations, for me at least, it causes me to think. it causes me to question. it causes me to learn. it causes me to wrestle. that’s the idea for sure.

    tracy – thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. yes, of course, i agree with you that the supporting the government plan does not let me off the hook as “my care”. that’s the last thing i’m trying to communicate. but i firmly believe that as a person with power, i can use it to benefit myself or i can use it to benefit someone without voice or margin or power.

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  • I would love to go to work to support my family and help pay down our HUGE medical debts…
    Problem is, someone will need to care for our son, who has autism. Will Randi be here at my home in the afternoon to meet his bus and take care of him until we get home? Gee, thanks, Randi!
    Or how about all the debt we’ve picked up as a result of my illness that lasted a couple of years? Now that the hospital is taking us to court, they will likely garnish my husband’s wages (he’s a family services coordinator, yeh, public servant)… Wow, that 1800 a month check just went down to 1200. The rent is 1100. How will we live? If we find a way for me to go to work, then our son loses badly needed services, BTW, because we will make too much.
    Capitalism is a great thing until it bites us in the butt, because we forgot one thing:
    the human condition. People are selfish.
    Unfortunately, these big churches with all the bells and whistles are the WORST offenders of perpetuating this. They bash folks who need assistance, closing food closets, limiting any or all benevolence funds– all the while talking smack about how irresponsible it is to have to depend on the government— WHILE THEY HIDE IN THEIR BIBLE STUDIES ON THEIR ASSES, OR IN THEIR LITTLE CHURCH AUDIENCE SINGING IN A FULL SOUND AND LIGHT SHOW, WASTING PRECIOUS RESOURCES FOR GOD’S ACTUAL WORK, FEEDING THEIR LITTLE MEGA-CHURCHY PIPE DREAM FANTASY ALONG WITH CHURCH LEADERS’ EGOS.
    The church NEEDS to be putting social services out of business and elevating people to new life circumstances– It could be the highest, most exciting times of the Church!
    But it isn’t. Yet. I hope.
    I wonder why I even bother still being a Christian… Good thing that’s not contingent on other Christians being merciful, because as a rule, American Christians are not exactly something I would describe anywhere close to what Jesus described.

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  • Thanks for throwing me in there Tami. I hear your rant and I agree so I am not angry – though don’t like my name being thrown in the same comment as the rant.

    I am sorry for your struggles. I just don’t see the ‘solutions’ being presented by the government great long term solutions at all. I’m just not satisfied with what they are presenting. For many reasons. I agree times are tough – but I don’t blame it on our economic system and I don’t think there is a quick fix to this like the government tries to make the people believe. As most have said and I’ll say again – I am just praying for a great awakening & for the church to truly rise up & BE the church so we don’t have to ‘count’ or rely on the government to do it. I am sorry that for the short term – this means a lot of pain – but it’s the churches fault not the governments so it’s our problem to fix. Whatever the solution it will take a lot of sacrifice & time and not look ‘easy’ for anybody – if it looks easy – it most likely will cause even more long term destruction.

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  • tami – well there’s no doubt, you are a real family deeply in the trenches on this issue. thanks for your passionate thoughts & yes, i agree that it is easy for christians to talk about doing this or doing that but the practicality of it actually happening in a tangible way where real needs get met by us instead of the system is a lot easier said than done. i do believe there’s enough resource in the christian system; the problem is the resources aren’t allocated in the way that they were originally designed to be. one thing to be careful of, though, is just really respecting everyone’s perspectives even when we totally disagree. i think the point you are making is so incredibly valid and needs to be said, but just be careful about throwing around names just so everyone can feel safe enough here to put in their two cents. i 100% agree with you that the church should put social services out of business. that is the day i dream for. i love you, my friend and am thankful for your voice & passion.

    randi – yes, i agree there’s no easy fix that is for sure. i do hope that this is a wake up call for many, though, and maybe will motivate some to consider tangible change & allocation of resources as communities. i don’t think it’s super likely, though, that this big health care debate & christians’ desire to keep the government out of it will actually equate to people being tangibly cared for by others in such a powerful and amazing way that they know they have their needs met. i do dream of that.

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  • Kathy,

    Thanks for an excellent post, which I have quoted and linked to in my own blog: http://theliberalspirit.com.

    To those commenters above who don’t think healthcare is a governmental responsibility, I ask:

    What about social security? Medicare? Education? Roads and bridges? Face it, there are some things that “we the people” (which is what a democratic government is) need to do collectively.

    A quote in my blogpost from another blogger: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

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  • Randi–
    I apologize. My health care bills are causing health care problems, I.E. insomnia and depression! No excuse for throwing you under the bus, I understand.

    Kathy–
    No, I don’t see the Christian population coming in on this any time soon. It’s a shame people look to the gov’t before they look to the Church– but it’s the Church’s utter failure that brought that on.

    One thing I didn’t mention is how we ARE getting through… We have key people in our family’s lives who pay copays for us regularly, see to it that we have groceries at times, and just love on us. We don’t have family per se, so they have become that for us. It’s very uncommon to have a community of Christians like that, but hey— I figure I must be God’s favorite. =0)
    Now that I have a little sleep under my belt, I can see that we are making it, though it’s grueling and hopeless quite often.

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  • One more thing: In response to someone who was trying to hash it out as far as “how far do we go/not go to help those in need?” Well, I would say Jesus would err on the side of grace and mercy. Not doing ANYTHING has gotten us here. DO SOMETHING, then adjust! I’ve gone to 2 funerals this year for people who killed themselves because they could no longer stand the physical, financial, and emotional pain of their illness (Crohns and bipolar). They didn’t have my community, and that just hits me right in the gut…

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  • My dad said to follow the money when it comes to political issues. Those spending a lot to elect a candidate or pass a new law feel they have the most to gain; those spending a lot to defeat the candidate or law feel they have the most to lose.

    Who is spending heavily to defeat health care reform? I’m not sure of the statistics, but from what I read, it is the insurance companies. (Does someone have the statistics?) If that is correct, that means they expect to lose some of their profits. So – Are they spending this money because they are concerned about us, or because they are concerned about their profits?

    A few months ago I arrived 20 minutes early for the first doctor’s appointment of the day. The clinic was open, but few patients had arrived.

    However, the pharmaceutical reps were arriving. To my surprise, they were pulling handcarts loaded with muffins, croissants, coffee and juice. I asked the receptionists who the food was for. She said it was for the doctors and that this happens regularly. Yesterday I read in the news that one of those companies is being fined in excess of two billion dollars for their marketing practices, especially for the stuff they give doctors. Does anyone really think that we actually need all of the meds prescribed to us?

    There is a significant difference between the Christian religion as it is practiced in the USA, and being a follower of Jesus. Religion is very involved in temples and priests, and those are very expensive. Followers of Jesus are concerned about Jesus and other people, and invest their time and money there. Follow the money – if it is being used mostly for properties and hiring employees, that is religion. If it is being invested in people, that is being a follower of Jesus.

    Somehow we have justified spending enormous amounts of money for the temple-priest system to supposedly attract a handful of people to Jesus. Who are we fooling? We are spending this money on ourselves. That is religion, pure and simple.

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  • “i firmly believe that as a person with power, i can use it to benefit myself or i can use it to benefit someone without voice or margin or power.”

    Kathy, thanks for saying this. It helped me clarify what’s going on in my heart around this.

    I guess I feel like the only power I have is inside me. I try to use that power for love. (I hope to get better at that.) I bring myself into relationship with other people, and encourage them to use their power for love as well. I’m uncomfortable trying to use government power for anything, let alone loving people. Does that make sense?

    That said, I don’t really mind if people pass government healthcare. Health care is already in the hands of a few powerful people who look just like empire to me. Making it part of a democratic process doesn’t seem *worse.* It’s just not something that looks like God’s kingdom to me. It looks like another sad attempt to do things our way, of getting out of making relationship central to our lives.

    I’ve been scared and sad around this whole discussion, because of the ways so many people are hurting around it. I’ve tried to speak from my heart; I hope I haven’t added to the pain. Love you. –Angela

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  • I am a pastor.

    I sense that most of the people trying to get into this country are not doing it for the health care. They are fleeing third world economies that have been wrecked by Capitalism.

    I have known good people doing good things both in government and in private industry. Most individuals I have met working in either seem to have the best of intentions and motivations. It is the system that is inherently twisted.

    Enthusiasts for Capitalism are welcome to bring their arguments to Jesus when they get the chance. I wish them the best of luck with that.

    Somehow the economies of the rest of the industrialized world have managed to survive with national health care systems. I don’t understand why it would destroy ours.

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  • O man…I am at the airport and wish I had the time right now to read all these responses!!
    Kathy…once again you have put the words on “paper” that stir in my head finding no way out…THANK YOU!
    The passion in this issue amazes me to no end…I love you and your voice!!!…I will be back to read more asap!!! 🙂

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  • christine – thanks for the link love & for the thoughts that you added. hey you guys, go over and read christine’s post. she adds some excellent perspectives from her many years as a doctor & seeing many systems around the world.

    obie – thanks for taking time to comment & for the link, too. good stuff. i love that quote, who said it? i think that is so true. i am not sure if you saw this or not, but it kinds of hits on the head some of the ideas behind what you are saying related to roads & education & social security & other things that are part of living together collectively: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jng4TnKqy6A&feature=autoshare_twitter. i appreciate your thoughts. nice to “meet” you!

    tami – thanks for taking care of that & also for your powerful voice in this conversation in general. you know what it looks like, feels like, is and that is a voice that we need to hear more and more. i know it is a strong statement i make but unless we know real people with real stories it is very easy to theorize (sp?). i am glad you see the ways that provision has indeed come. i sure do wish our community was filled with more margin, more resource. that has been something that is so sad to me, how the resource & margin often goes to places that don’t’ actually need it. anyway, that’s another story for another day. and yes, i am so sad at the loss of life. i know of someone else who took her life a few weeks ago out of loneliness and depression…yeah, we have to keep fighting to create safe, inclusive, challenging, loving, hopeful places to love & be loved.

    sam – i’m with tami, well said. i liked this, especially: “Somehow we have justified spending enormous amounts of money for the temple-priest system to supposedly attract a handful of people to Jesus. Who are we fooling? We are spending this money on ourselves. That is religion, pure and simple.” thanks for your contributions here, they are very insightful.

    angela – thanks for taking time to comment and risking a bit. i know it’s been a very volatile conversation on all kinds of fronts. like i said before, i am very glad i don’t watch TV because i can only imagine what’s out there day after day after day. and i am glad my comment helped clarify a bit where i am coming from. clearly, we are supposed to be doing this together. christ’s love extended tangibly. the kingdom in action now. and you & others i know are doing that right now in very real ways. and i also believe that this doesn’t get anyone off the hook or mean that now “the government” does it so we don’t have to. the needs will be just as great if universal access passes. but at least our friends would be able to go to a doctor if they need to and get the meds that they need and not live in that fear. there are plenty of other ones still left. keep on loving, my friend, keep on loving.

    paul – i am glad that you are part of the conversation & appreciate your thoughts. it has been an interesting one, that is for sure. i agree, the system is inherently flawed. and i do believe a little tweaking won’t do the trick. greed & power & money has superseded decency & dignity. it is so funny, isn’t it, how somehow this taps into our independent core and we think we are so much better than everyone else. i love the USA, but i am just saying that we can tend to be pretty haughty and pride-ful in more ways than one!

    donna – can’t wait to hear your thoughts! thanks for watching my back 🙂

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  • Tami –

    If you’re not already doing so, have you considered using an internet service like Lotsa Helping Hands?

    LHH allows you to organize, free of charge, a web site that lists the needs of your family and align them with individuals who are able to assist you. Most people truly want to help. In general, they don’t know what to do and/or they’re reluctant to ask for direction. LHH addresses these issues.

    With LHH, you are able to easily create a private and secure web site. You list needs (dinner on Wednesday night, a sitter in the mornings while you take your son to therapy, etc.). After inviting friends, family, Church members, etc. to join the electronic community, members are able to go on-line and volunteer for specific activities. Once someone commits to an activity, it is no longer visible to the e-public — so you won’t get 7 different people bringing dinner over on W night.

    Because the system is electronically-based, phone and e-mail tag regarding scheduling is eliminated. The system also sends out an e-mail “tickler” prior to the activity so that you’re not tasked with having to constantly remind people of their commitments.

    You have control over who joins your site and what needs are posted. You can also provide progress reports on how your family is doing. I think this helps to keep people engaged in the situation, particularly if volunteering has “slipped their mind” for a while.

    Here’s the web site
    http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/

    There are other sites available but in my opinion, this is the easiest for you and your users to navigate.

    There are always going to be the people who flake out on you at the last minute but you probably already know who they are. Unfortunately, LHH doesn’t yet have a way to deal with those folks…

    Hope this helps and good luck!

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  • Wow–
    Thank you! No, I’ve never heard of it. I just tried the link, but it didn’t access. I’ll try again a bit later. I belong to a network of other familiess who put non-financial needs out there, and it’s awesome!
    I look forward to checking this out.
    Thanks Again,
    Tami

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  • Tami –

    It’s my experience that the LHH web site has a lot of traffic on Sunday afternoons as “Coordinators” are busy listing activities. It’s kind of like calling Customer Service on Monday mornings – the wait times can seem eternal.

    Try night-time and early mornings for fastest response time.

    Good luck!

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  • You have a lot of great feedback. I especially like the opinions of the differences between the religious and the Jesus lovers! and I heartily agree!

    I wholeheartedly believe we should all have access to health care at a level you can afford. I do not believe that the government should be involved at any level! Throw it out on a bidding system if you will, and let them bid on it each several years, but I do not want the government to be that involved in my health care at all! They already try to force us to put toxins in our body in the name of life saving vaccines (and while many will disagree, if you read the real information they are more harmful than helpful), regulate drugs that always seem to be found harmful later, and the reasons go on! The government tends to regulate beyond usefulness.

    I have NOT had insurance available for much of my life, so it’s pretty black and white to say if you have insurance you are against it, and if you don’t you want it.

    I have been on public heath care – in both the “welfare” system in a few different states for a variety of reasons, and in a “local” system in Fort Worth, TX because one compassionate doctor I got a bad referral to was afraid I would die before I saw someone. The entire experience was a total nightmare from the get go. I really don’t care to go into all the details here, but only by the grace of God was I okay!

    IF we are to truly have a national health care system then we need to incorporate all forms of “alternative” care, including broad use of midwives and home births, naturopaths, herbalists, acupressure and acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritionists, and more! I find it incredibly amazing how we have one of the worst infant mortality rates of any developed nation along with the highest C-section rates. We need to address the failures we currently have before we FORCE everyone into the government agenda!

    I would love to see good quality health care available on a sliding scale to everyone. I truly would, but again, I do NOT want the government running that show! The only thing the government is running well at present is the military.

    JMHO!

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  • CZ – thanks for the link. i’ll get the scoop from tami. how did you find the carnival, btw?

    stacy – thanks for stopping by and adding your perspective and where you are coming from. i always appreciate the additions to the conversation. i totally respect that there are some like you and phil who do not or have not had health insurance who are against universal health care; i do not mean to imply that everyone with insurance is against it, either. my point, though, which i will stand by is that for most people (i’m not saying there are not exceptions) when you are actually walking in those shoes, living, breathing, experiencing what it feels like to not be able to get insurance because you have pre-existing conditions and all kinds of other obstacles, the need is different than someone who has never been in that scary, terrified spot. i hear lots of people not wanting the government involved, but i guess my response back is “what are people supposed to do while we wait? i don’t think all of the obstacles to health care access for folks are magically going to disappear. profits are at risk and systems will do almost anything to protect profits.

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  • “It may well be that our means are fairly limited and our possibilities restricted when it comes to applying pressure on our government. But is this a reason to do nothing? Despair is not an answer. Neither is resignation. Resignation only leads to indifference, which is not merely a sin but a punishment.”
    Elie Wiesel

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  • I guess it comes down to this: Christians are saying they want to help people, but they don’t want the government to handle the giving.

    I will make it easy for those Christians: I am on the verge of bankruptcy due to medical bills. I am college educated and work two jobs which do not offer health insurance. I applied for health insurance on my own to see if I could get it and I was turned down because I have acid reflux and high blood pressure. I have run up my credit cards with doctor and hospital bills related to chest pain that I get from my reflux and various tests and medicine. I have a young child and my husband works but doesn’t have insurance, either. Even with our combined income (less than 50K a year) we can’t keep up with our debt. We don’t own a home. We have an 8 yr old car with a crack in the windshield and steering problems. I cashed in my retirement last year to pay bills. Credit cards that I was paying without fail have closed because the banks decided to raise their interest rates to ones I can’t afford (I can’t pay 29.99% on a balance of 18K and that’s just one card.)

    I used to have a great job and insurance, I used to sponsor a child in Africa and give donations to various Christian organizations and to my church. I was laid off in a massive restructuring and have been taking any job I can get just to get by. I’m not eligible for government help.

    Any Christians out there want to save us from bankruptcy, I’d love to hear from you. I’ve asked my church for help and they said they can’t do anything.

    I am for health care for all because I found myself going from the world of the insured to the world of the uninsured because of things outside my control. I am one of those people who has been lost in the cracks and who is now looked down upon by so many as lazy or not willing to work or uneducated because I have hit rock bottom due to medical problems.

    It can happen to me, it can happen to you.

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  • Simply put:
    If ya don’t want government taking over healthcare, then by all means, CHURCH, take up the responsibilty yourselves! Otherwise don’t complain about evil government taking your money to help the poor, cuz doing NOTHING is just as evil.

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  • tami – elie wiesel is one of my favorites….powerful. and yes, i always tell people what you say–if the church really wants to do what it’s supposed to do, then put social services out of business…when it comes to health care, same thing. thanks for your passion

    m. – oh thanks for sharing this very real and painful story. you are exactly why i am in full support of universal access. i am not foolish enough to think it couldn’t be us. i am sorry for your pain and the long road you have been on…yes, it is easy for people to say “the church should do it..” but practically it doesn’t usually seem to happen that way, does it? what kind of support have you received? peace & hope to you and i do hope everyone reading listens very carefully to what you are saying. how did you find the carnival?

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  • M –

    I can’t save you from bankruptcy but I am willing to partner with you.

    High blood pressure and acid-reflux (indigestion) are inter-related and overwhelmingly (as in 90%) attributed to lifestyle (too much fat and sodium, little or no exercise, and smoking).

    I will personally commit to paying the fees for a gym if you will personally commit to losing 2 pounds per week. We can work together to find the right facility for your current work schedule. My husband battles with borderline hyper-tension so I’m also willing to share some tips that we use.

    If at any time, you fail to lose 5 pounds per month, the deal is off. Monthly weigh-ins (weekly are better and I know as I’m a former chubby chicken who had the SAME issues you do) with Weight Watchers (I’ll pay for it) will be required. If you do lose the weight, in all likelihood, the high blood pressure issue will go away.

    Diet and exercise are the best ways to ensure that you don’t get on the Coronary Artery Disease or Diabetic bus. Staying off of that bus means being with your children and grandchildren for a long time.

    Government healthcare may help you with prescription drugs but it won’t kick in for at least 3 years. Most importantly, government healthcare won’t address lifestyle issues.

    Who doesn’t like Elie Wiesel? When I read his works, I think of what I can do — not what others can do for me!

    M, let me know if you’re interested.

    CZ

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  • Wow, CZ—
    That is awesome!!!
    M, I hope you take CZ up on this either in full or in some form…
    Tami

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  • Tami – you do my heart good! How are you doing with the Lotsa Helping Hands web site?

    You have been in my prayers!

    xo

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  • CZ–
    Court is today… Pray hard. I have a feeling we can say goodbye to at least 1/4 of our paycheck for the next 5 months, courtesy of Boulder Community Hospital, who says they will not take our son’s medicaid, which he gets due to his auitism. He had a bunch of therapy at a rehabilitative hospital there– and is MUCH better off for it– just ask the REFUGE how many less times we’ve had to look for Josh or how many less times he’s had a meltdown there… amazing. But it does come at a huge cost…
    Anyone besides Kathy have a buncha stuff in their garage they want me to garage sale over the next 5 months, LOL??

    The Lotsa Helping Hands site is VERY cool– Some moms and I with kids with high-functioning autism have been searching for ways to help other moms without filing for a 501C3… Helping Hands might be it! Thank you! We do little things, like fundraising for building a fence for a boy who got a service dog,
    http://www.dogandhisboy.blogspot.com
    Patching up and recorating a home that had a lot of holes in the walls from a set of twins’ meltdowns, set up a peace place for another child in their home… And all under the radar so the family did not have to worry about the complications that can come with a gift.
    Fun stuff, CZ! And your offer reminds me of that as well… Kudos, and more importantly, thank you. You have done my heart good as well…
    One more item of fervent prayer… I have a test in my Stats class tonight… Last class before my internship, and I would LOVE to take an NC at this point!
    Tami

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  • Tami –

    Thanks for your story, your can-do attitude, and your optimism! Please tell me that W went well.

    I’ve been sharing your story with my husband’s daughter who is 22. While she is a dear girl, I’ve always been a little concerned about her lack of empathy/need to give back.

    Imagine my delight today when she asked me to donate because she is participating in a Walk Now for Autism.

    She wouldn’t be doing this if your story hadn’t motivated her!!!

    Thanks for helping MY family Tami! We’re trying to raise some significant money for your cause – please let me know if there’s some way to earmark something for your geography.

    CZ

    CZ

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  • cz – sorry for the delay, i forgot to comment back on this post, but thanks for the offer and for supporting tami & their heartbeat. they are amazing, amazing, amazing people.

    tami – don’t ever lose your passion for the marginalized…your voice is more powerful than you know.

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  • Tami –

    I’m trying to contact you at the gmail address but for whatever reason, the e-mail is not going through. I’ll keep trying. I just don’t want you to think that I’m ignoring you!

    CZ

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  • I just double-checked… it’s the correct one. Keep trying– I’ve never had trouble with gmail… something weird perhaps.

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  • For those who believe that the church and state are separate and that we should not give money to the government for them to use, I wonder how you get your mail every day — private couriers? When your house is burglarized do you call your church or the police? If you have a medical emergency do you call a priest/pastor or 911?

    We have been in need, went to our church (which we had put thousands of dollars into in better days) and we were told to contact welfare and the local city food bank. The church turned us away and toward the government, washing their hands of us. This literally happened. They also suggested going to 3rd party private charities. Somehow the money I’d given them had evaporated and when their own needy came calling, we were sent to the government. And the church was busy building a $500,000 sports field for their school and installing a new projector system for the church. Nice.

    Don’t tell me anything about how the church is separate when you and ALL of us are partaking in tons of government taxpayer funded things like Social Security, postal service, emergency services, and more. Or should we tell you to call your church when your home is on fire because you should not be using someone else’s money to put it out (and endangering innocent firefighters to boot!)? Your fire, your problem. See who cares enough to show up with a bucket.

    “I will not (nor could ever see myself in the future) being a supporter of giving power & resources to a government to distribute as they see fit. I will not support relying on the government to give out to whom they deem necessary – especially a government that is one of the most ineffective & corrupt entities in the entire history of the world.”

    Sorry Randi, you already do. You’re a taxpayer. Unless you’d like to opt out and give up so many of the taxpayer services that are there to save you if you should fail, fall or become helpless. Time to get off the high horse.

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  • Tom wrote:

    “However one of the things that bothered my conscious and drove me to seek Father to show me solutions was the large, though not majority, of people who were being enabled by me to continue not taking responsibility for themselves. No I’m not speaking of the Elderly, disabled mentally/developmentally/physically. I’m referring to the able bodied and minded, who have thrown the opportunities they have had to the wind by choice. Neither am a speaking of those who are the genuinely oppressed. I’m speaking of those who fall in the category that the Apostle said are worse than unbelievers, because they do not provide for their families.”

    The answer is we provide for them ANYWAY. We do not sit in judgement, as God will judge them. We are directed to be compassionate, to treat others as we wish to be treated. We leave to God what is HIS work, and do the work He told US to do, which is care for everyone. To sit in judgement as to who is worthy and who is not isn’t Christian at all. Christians should be humbling themselves and bowing down to Christ, obeying Him without question. Christ was obedient even unto DEATH, and you are asking why we should show love toward those who may be less than lovable? Wasn’t it Jesus who told us that it is easy to love the lovable? He came to save the lost. We should not lean on our own understanding. A person who looks able bodied may not be. A person who seems to have been frivolous may have good reason. Do not judge lest ye be judged.

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  • @ Momo — that’s a great response. Not so graceful – but that’s cool – I can see your passionate about it and will accept whatever tone I’m reading from you. I know that I have a lot to learn yes … I really stay away from political debates anymore — but I do think my opinion was worth typing.

    I guess healthcare *IS* different for me than the things you mentioned because it’s something we all need all the time…. there’s TOO much power in that because there is going to be limits so choices will have to be made that I don’t feel comfortable with the gov’t making. having the government take over healthcare isn’t going to give us the resources we need to make everybody get what they need.

    Right now, we don’t have such a need in the fire department that some people’s houses are saved and some are not. My friend Karen for example, has a son who is a year and a half and whose life was just saved with a kidney donation from a family friend. Through talking with that donor program, insurance and doctors — it’s known by all that if this healthcare passes…. there will be no more private donors. Donations will go into a bank and the gov’t will say who gets the kidney… little matthew who was told to be aborted will have never made that list and he would be dead by now.

    unlike the police or fire department — choices are made in healthcare every day that make the government be in a position to determine the value of one’s life over another – it seems like too much power to me to be given to a public entity rather than in the hands of the people. i vote for more power in the hands of the people. I’m sorry that the people have done such a poor job in many’s eyes…. but our lack of empathy and caring for each other doesn’t make it seem okay to me to let the government try.

    the government sure is INefficient at everything they do – can you imagine them handling our healthcare?

    I am sorry for how the church treated you. it is discouraging – makes us think twice about giving to church bodies whose money doesn’t go back out but stays in (even in ball fields that counts as in)

    I’m sorry I don’t have a lot of wisdom or crazy revelations to share – i just can’t get over the hump in my mind to give the government more power over our lives – perhaps of all the stories i read and had passed to me from my grandfather who stayed in germany to help re-build after the fall of hitler

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  • @Momo & Tom

    I didn’t feel judgement from Tom at all — in fact I was reading the book Boundaries while reading this and actually was thinking how wise his response was. It seems that he made it clear he wasn’t talking about truly oppressed people but people he was in relationship with who he knew he was enabling rather than giving life to. I know that how *I* would want to be treated if I was an able adult who just had boundary issues (that lead to laziness, lack of self worth, self esteem issues) — I would want somebody to believe in me enough to stop enabling me or making it seem like I “needed” help because I wasn’t as good as them…. but instead show some tough love (and YES stay alongside me and encourage me and check in and love on me and be there when I fall) that would help me build some of my own muscles in many areas of my life to make me stronger not keep me weaker. Maybe I over-read into Tom’s comment though, I just thought it was interesting how we could read the same thing and get such different opinions.

    I loved that book Boundaries btw

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  • Hi Randi- 🙂
    you wrote
    ” it seems like too much power to me to be given to a public entity rather than in the hands of the people. i vote for more power in the hands of the people. I’m sorry that the people have done such a poor job in many’s eyes…. but our lack of empathy and caring for each other doesn’t make it seem okay to me to let the government try.”
    [img]http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/q-photo-we-the-people-american-constitution.jpg[/img]
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    So Randi, What do you mean when you say ‘the people’, and what part of this document is offensive to you?

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  • @Sage

    this is getting too tricky because we are no longer talking ideologies but the nitty gritty of how our specific government is set up and works. It’s intriguing to me that you would even bring up the constitution? Do you respect and follow this man made document?

    It’s an interesting debate and not really one I want to get into…. because it’s so off topic of what Kathy’s heart was getting at…… but I guess it’s really not – because I truly see that so many are “against” universal healthcare not because they are uncaring, cold people — but maybe because they just have a different idea of the best way to get to the same means we want.

    To answer just your question though because I believe it deserves an answer….. When I say, “the people” I’m talking of the citizens of the United States. Not the government that represents them. In this preamble to the constitution, it was not part of the document that gave ‘power’ to any branch listed after… it was just that, a preamble. The document and amendments go on to distribute power and ‘lay out’ a framework of what the gov’t would look like and to get to these “ends” listed…. the founding father’s laid out what they believe would be the best way to get there. “general welfare” was only listed one other time in the entire document… and it was the general welfare of “the united states”…. and had nothing to do with citizen’s individual needs or healthcare.

    The constitution very clearly lays out what congress has the power to do or not to do. Control or not to control — and insurance/healthcare/individual welfare is not one of them.

    the fathers were very clear that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” …(10th amendment) thereby giving the power to the states…. or to, “the people”… and not the federal government. they didn’t want the fed. government to be entangled in the individual’s daily welfare.

    I agree with the constitution. whenever that doc mentions “United States” it talks about the fed government – 3 branches… and “the people” as the states and/or ‘the people’. and that’s the terminology I was going with .

    when it comes down to it, our congress is trying to take power they were never granted and we would have to re-write or amend this document to give it to them.

    now if you want to get into a healthcare debate on what each *state*’s viewpoint and stance should be on the ‘right’ for healthcare.. that’s more tricky for me. I don’t know…. I do trust the limited state government more than I do the federal…. for example momo’s example of fire departments and such… but I think it brings me back to the same argument I can’t get over in my head of not giving the government more and more power in our individual lives.

    anyway — back to what I was saying.

    I’m not saying one way or the other if that’s what we should do (scrap constitution and re-write it to give the legislative branch more power) — because many here could throw the constitution out the window and try again and make a new document to try to get the gov’t to operate like the church *should* … so I’m sure it’s not worth debating…. but that being said. I’m for keeping the constitution the way it is and keeping my hope in “the people” and not the United States.

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  • Thanks for the answer, Randi.
    I’m not interested in overthrowing the government or re-writing the constitution. I just literally did not understand what you meant by “the people” when you use that phrase.
    I understand that we use it differently though (after your explanation). I understand that as citizens of the United States each one of us is one of “the people”. Your neighbors are “the people”. Folks who work for the federal government in washington DC are also “the people” doing things which affect all of “the people” As a citizen inclusive representative democracy, we are not only the people, but the government itself in a way. WE are THE PEOLE that you are talking about, the same WE THE PEOPLE the the founders were talking about.
    Like you, I like more localized government for most things, but there are some things that the collective WE can do much better as one union than little states. I hear a lot of fear in your statements and I invite you to consider if your fear is your own gained from your own experience, or if it is inherited, or if it has been installed by someone you don’t even know.
    I fear another kind of power- one that I and others have immediate personal experience with. the power which is firmly in place between me (and my friends) and life saving health care. It is not “the public” or “the government”, It is and has been (within living memory) the “for profit insurance corporation”. Taking power away from the goverment is not going to result in the people having any more health care or any more power- corporations are there to step into the power vacuum, and we will be beholden to them in that future even more than we are now. And in spite of the Supreme Court’s recent decision, multinational corporations are not people, much less “the people”. I don’t trust them any more than you trust the federal government!

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  • yes “big” anything can be extremely destructive… because too much power given to *anything* (a major monopoloy business or industry or government) not kept in check is destructive.

    and yes I do have a lot of fear toward unchecked power. especially in gov’t. like I said — not sure if it’s because of what I’ve read, heard, had passed on down to me in journals, stories from my grandparent’s experiences in Germany or what….

    I agree that the federal corporate “we” as a bigger union can do some things better together….. I don’t think overtaking individual healthcare needs of the people is one of them. I would trust the “little states” over the feds any day – look at how responsible (irresponible) they have been without our money and with about every single commission or business they have taken over or created.

    not sure what the solution is, that’s for sure!

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  • momo – thanks for your powerful thoughts. how did you find this post? i am sorry for the late response but have been out of the country & am just catching up. i really appreciated what you said about the reality of what life-is-really-like-when-you-need-help-from-the-church-but-can’t-get-it. it all sounds well and good to say that “the church should do it” but in reality it just doesn’t typically happen. i have a long line of people i know who have real and tangible health care needs but zero people in line to actually meet them. i am sorry for your experience with your church, too, that really sucks. i was just in europe for a few days before our trip to africa and in talking about what health care is like there, it is amazing to hear how much of a non-issue it is for them and how freeing it is to know that their basic needs are taken care of. i have a few friends who have health problems BECAUSE of their lack of insurance. the stress that it is creating could all be relieved. again, i think it’s easy to be against health care reform when we have insurance, but try life without it and i’m guessing a lot of tunes would change. thanks again for sharing.

    randi & sage – oh it is always fun to leave the room and know that the conversation continues. i do think sometimes we can beat the thoughts to the ground and end up in the same place in the end but i love the debate/dialogue and believe it’s necessary to keep hacking at our assumptions.

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  • Great thoughts! My fave – “…that we’d take all the money that we waste on church video screens and building mortgages and big ol’ fat salaries and looking good and feeling good and directly invest it in making sure that in the communities we lived in (beyond just faith communities) there was no one who went without.” – I agree! I love how the believers in Acts sold all that they had and gave to those as they were in need. Compelled by the gospel, they gave ALL that they had so that none would be in need. In doing this, they were believing that the God that they put their trust and hope in would provide for their needs. I think what matters most is that hearts are changed and turned to the the Lord by His truth as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. As a follower of Jesus, His word is my ultimate guide and authority.

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  • It is a very interesting topic and responses are varied and articulated well. I have been on both sides of the track, figuritively speaking. I grew up with parents who had union insurance in the 70’s, had no insurance in the mid 80’s to mid 90’s. For the last 10 years I have enjoyed a decent Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. As an uninsured person, I had to rely on those who did and still do offer days of free or low cost medical exams and treatment. Almost every major city in America has generous medical providers who will volunteer on certain days, anyone who wants to come and wait for these services. Many doctors will significantly lower or waive costs to patients who they know cannot afford them. My experience has shown me that most people are quite charitable whether they are part of a religious organization or not and quite often are more chariaible than the “organized” church. I do not see a failure of charity, instead I see a failure in the delivery and promotion of it. My fears are not based on the good intentions of the liberal Obama administration in health care reform, but of our governments track record on every social reform in its history. Time and time again these policies of both parties have empowered our government while limiting those agencies that do help in the private sector. The real question is access and expenditure of this program. People who have benifits are losing them in this program because it will be “cheaper” for companies to drop this benifit under the new regulations. People already struggling will be fined if they don’t get insurance required under this policy. There are many answers that do not require this expenditure required under this plan. Open borders for health care policies as in auto insurance would create a better market for existing plans. Grants for medical education tuition in exchange for free or reduced clinical hours, on and on… compassion for the individuals struggling for these neccesaties is abundant and I resent the implication that the majority is turning a blind eye to the needs of the less fortunate in some of these comments. The people I deal with who are against this policy are not against helping those in need, they are aginst the policy that was decided on because, as written, it is detrimental to the values this country was founded on, it is detrimental to the fiscal growth of or economy. Worst of all it is an infringement on our liberty and freedom as individuals to seek out our future growth and development in society by limiting our opportunities and choices and allowing our government to dictate how, when and where we buy, seek, and receive these services. Hope to contribute more later. Bless you for receiving this. Everyone needs to depend on others from time to time. But all we should ever rely on our government for is equal liberty, justice and protection of person. When choosing the lesser of two evils, choose neither.

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    • thanks so much for sharing your experience and perspective. this is a tough topic, for sure!

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  • I really appreciated the angle you took on this. I hear a lot of folks defending the new health care law by saying it won’t affect those with insurance and it won’t result in longer lines, less quality care, etc. That may be true. But I like what you’re saying even more. That sometimes we’re called to sacrifice for the good of others. That’s a harder truth to swallow. It’s easy to be for health care reform when those of us with insurance won’t be affected by it, but when it hits our own wallets and lifestyle, that’s when our convictions are put to the test.

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