Can We Talk Politics About Health Care?

I don’t know why, but I’m on a lot of Republican mailing lists and get a lot of their “surveys”, which I am happy to fill out and mail back in the prepaid envelopes sans contribution.  For whatever reason the Democrats have never sent me a thing so I can’t comment on their propaganda. 

One of the big scare issues on a Republican survey is whether we want to turn over our health care to federal bureaucrats who will dictate to us how, when and where to get our health care. 

I find it ironic that there is any pretension that we have any freedom, choice or control now.  Consider that most persons who have insurance have no choice in who they get it from, what it costs or what it covers.  Persons who buy their own insurance, if they can afford to buy any at all, are at the mercy of insurance companies that show little compassion and have no reason to do so.  Once in an insurance program, consumers have little control over what doctors they can see, what procedures are covered, where they can get their medication and what medications are or are not covered. Uninsured persons are just at the mercy of the communities in which they live and the largesse of local hospitals.

My friends in medicine tell me that enormous amounts of their time, energy and money are spent on insurance company bureaucratic paper work nightmares.  A recent Diane Rehm show on NPR was dedicated to the ways that Medicare rules have severely distorted the ways in which compensation is distributed in medicine, not only for those on Medicare but for all insured persons of any age.  Moreover, the panel said, that distortion has also distorted the distribution of doctors and specialties to the detriment of over all health care services.

Is this the freedom of choice the Republicans want to preserve?  All their talk about reforming the system looks to me like a map for making the whole mess more complex and wasteful than it already is.  Their big scare piece is to allege that we will end up with the dreaded Canadian system.  For all of its faults, it’s not nearly as bad as what we already have and would be a huge improvement, but the fact is that no one is proposing the Canadian system for the U.S.

What does any of this have to do with God, Christ or theology?  Everything, because it is all about creating a more just society that provides conditions for the flourishing of life for everyone.  I don’t really know what the answer is, I just know that as Christians we have got to demand better and not be intimidated by hysterical, sensationalized scare tactics.


3 thoughts on “Can We Talk Politics About Health Care?”

  1. Scare tactics from the Republicans? Surely not! Oh, yea. I got the same scary \”survey\” from the Republicans. I scribbled on the \”survey\” what I thought of their policies and sent it back in the prepaid envelope. I also returned the \”We miss you\” letter that I received on Saturday, with some comments.I guess the Democrats haven\’t found me either.I\’m pleased with my health insurance coverage. However, I do pay over $20,000 per year for coverage for two people. Because of that fine coverage I only had to pay about $7,500 out of pocket for six days in the hospital. The good news is that I received excellent care. Without that excellent care and the contributions of countless people in the development of modern medicines, I probably would have died. The bad news is, \”What do the poor, or even average, folk do?\”I certainly don\’t know a good answer to the health care question, but it seems that a program based in community may be in order. In our \”US\” culture, that is probably a government program. The reviews on NPR of government programs in Germany and England have sounded more rational than what we are seeing in the good ole US of A.Oh, yea. The other good news about the hospital stay was my heartwarming experience. As I was recovering, I experienced that strange, warm, good feeling that one might experience in a crisis. I attributed it to the love of the Body of Christ made flesh in my family, friends, acquaintences, and workers who cared for me.

  2. Geezer,When we were in NYC we were covered by my wife\’s employer who had one of those old fashioned fully paid plans that covered everything for any doctor, hospital or medication. Once we moved we were covered by an expensive but reasonably good plan through my local congregation. The national church does not have a plan for active clergy at this time, and the diocesan plan was a sure guarantee for instant poverty. Now, in retirement, I am covered by Medicare and a very generous supplemental plan that is offered by the national church, but the prescription portion of it is tightly controlled with many limitations and restrictions. Still, it\’s a lot better than Medicare part D. However, as I look around the diocese I see that I was one of the few who had adequate coverage because many of the parishes are too poor to offer anything, and clergy salaries in those places are too low for much individual coverage. The wealthier people I sometimes hang out with can\’t figure out what the problem is. They remind me of a close and dear relative who wondered why people didn\’t fly in First Class if they thought Coach was so bad.CP

Leave a Reply