Friday, September 18, 2009

My thoughts on the health care reform debate....

I'm tired of the health care reform debate. To be honest I regrettably feel at the mercy of others to tell me what to think on much of this stuff and I hate that position. I am not an expert on any of these issues. I cannot speak with authority on many of these subjects. I wish I could. I hear one group and I think they make sense....I listen to another and they almost convince me. It seems like both sides involve fear and extreme cases to bully their point. I never, ever, ever feel like I can get a non-partisan, truthful, perspective. I dont have the time to do a masters level research project on the subjects either. I feel the same way I did in the season of choosing a President....grid locked.

My political posture has always been to be as educated, bi-partisam and open-minded as possible. I want to hear debate not spin. I want facts not dreams. I want to see a country that is faithful to the past, the constitution and the spirit of the American experiment...but I also want leaders that can navigate the realities of this century too.

As for healthcare....we have had our kids in State programs for health care since they were kids. Our ability to provide healthcare for ourselves has not been a reality until the last couple years. I went through almost 3 decades without healthcare...the cost was outside my ability as a pastor and churches rarely feel that pastors should be concerned about stuff like healthcare, retirement, dental, etc...your often left on your own to figure out how to take care of yourselves, family and the future...."Hey God will provide" is the mantra. So I have a bit of an acquaintance with the poverty side of this discussion. I've been to the "free clinics" and sat next to the toothless, meth addict waiting for their care. I know about generics, samples and medical coupons.

Even now I'm on the pay off your medical bills path....even with the coverage we have, the deductible level, really means, we pay most of everything and they get to collect monthly premiums. It seems like a extortion program based on fear of the unknown. What a deal for them: "You pay us every month and you pay for your medical bills every month and "IF" you get into some catastrophic medical situation...we might cover that."

It seems like a sweet deal...for someone.

On the other hand, my kids wouldn't have the health they have, had it not been for the generosity of our local hospitals and the state coverage. I am indebted to them for their care. Many times, I wonder why this "system" can't expand somehow to help in some way to include older people in the mix of coverage. Options, sliding scale, cooperatives, match funding, some sort of savings plan...I dont know, we can send men and women into space but we cannot figure out viable options for health care...? It seems crazy to me.

I have a hard time believing that the Canadian-European "Take most of your money" option is the only one available to us?

In the end, my Christian posture towards the poor always roots me in the camp that has the underprivileged, unborn, fatherless, neglected, disabled, elderly and the working poor in their hearts and minds. Scriptures like these ones below have always kept me tethered to a perspective of social responsibility that seems to resonate with liberals more than conservatives.

"Do unto others as you would have them do to you." -Matthew 7:12

"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward." -Matthew 10:42

"When the son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. And all the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 'for I was hungry and you gve Me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
-Matthew 25:31-40

Unfortunately, we have gotten to where we are as a country, as a result of both political parties...so my trust in all of them at this point is really low.

I am not sure where that leaves me now...other than in debt, paying medical bills and making choices about what to pay for and not pay for as a result. When you have to be talking about how much money you have to pay for your kids lunches and if you have enough...something has to change.

But, even changing leaders, appears to not make a difference....go figure.
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