Wednesday, July 22, 2009

healthcare arguments

some comments from people on facebook about President Obama's press conference tonight on healthcare reform:

He is full of it...and I don't know how Americans are so stupid to listen to him.

definitely totally full of crap, and I hate listening to the man, but I do because I want to know what he said so that I can refute it all!!! Grrr!!!

Obama's words don't match reality. If he's so concerned about the deficit, why did he spend trillions of dollars we didn't have.

I think responses like these show how self-centered we are as Americans. It's obvious the system is a mess. I have a hunch that most of the people who are complaining about the possible changes have the means to get good healthcare. They are getting what they want; so they are fearful of any change.

The problem with that attitude is that it doesn't consider those who can't afford healthcare. It baffles me how so many Christians just want to keep things the way they are going, especially financially--again, I think it's because they have what they need. They don't want taxes to go up. They don't care that the gap between rich and poor is growing.

How can anyone read the New Testament, especially the words of Jesus, and not take seriously the call to do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to help, give, care for others, live lives of simplicity?

I'm not advocating socialism or communism, but where do we find Capitalism encouraged in the NT?

Perhaps if the church were really living out the principles of Jesus, really giving away our wealth, sacrificing, seriously caring for the least of these; we wouldn't need the government to take action like this.


Dale said...

Because "the church" isn't doing what you think it should be doing, that is not an excuse to simply put it into the hands of the government. There is probably not a scriptural basis for that either. I'm not convinced that increased governmental control is a formula for success. And exactly how do we define success in this area? Better mortality rates? I see plenty of folks who don't pay a dime and get great health care because I don't have to discriminate based on ability to pay. I also see plenty of people with governmental insurance who think it is OK to demand that things be done their way and right now. How do you think that will fly as governmental control expands? If you think that rationing of care won't happen then you need to check out the V.A. and any city or county hospital system. It's clear that things cannot continue as is, but to simply swallow whatever pill is put before us simply because of who put it there is as bad as rejecting it for the same reason.

And along the lines of how people argue the point, the haves will argue to keep what they have and the have-nots will argue to redistribute. So where is that balance? How much is enough? And who decides that?

Dale said...

p.s. I missed the press conference so I have no idea what he said.

Jason said...

Quotes from Nancy Pelosi on the issue:
"We do have to be fiscally responsible. We will live by the rules of the CBO. But it's also true that the CBO doesn't count things that we know will save money, like prevention, wellness and end-of-life issues. You don't need to be a congressional accountant to know those will save money. We are very confident that this bill will have savings, and many of them will not be counted by the CBO. But they will save money. Outside groups can document them. We will live by the rules so we are fiscally sound and all the rest. But that doesn't mean we won't have other provisions that save money, but won't be scored."

I am slightly concerned about what she means when she says there are "savings" associated with "end-of- life issues". The bible also suggests that we care for the elderly. And by we I think it means the church, not the government.

More Nancy:
"We know we can squeeze more from the system. The minute the drug companies settled for $80 billion, we knew it was $160 billion. Right? If they're giving away 80? But in any event, they're supporting the bill and everybody likes that. But there could be more money. But when you want to squeeze more, you have to be careful about what you're squeezing. You have to make sure it's waste, fraud, and abuse. We don't have the capability of squeezing from the private sector. All we can squeeze is out of the public sector. And the president made the agreements he made. And maybe we'll be limited by that. But maybe not!"

I am a bit concerned about what "squeeze" means based on the way the government runs it's health care programs today. I am a republican, so I read "squeeze" as the rationing of costs and services. She may not mean that, she may mean something else. What do you think she means when she suggests this program isn't going to double our deficit because the system can be squeezed and the costs reduced?

I am a Christian and truly believe that our Lord has called on us to care for the poor, the sick, and the elderly. I believe he has commanded us to pay our taxes and respect our leaders. But I also believe that Christ and the early church were a bunch of socialists.

I don't believe that the bible in any way advocates the idea of turning all of our countries problems over to government run programs. I don't believe the government is an efficient provider of services. And I don't believe the poor will be better served by a government run health care system.

I do believe the end result will be a more equitable health care system. This has been done in many countries in the world and the results are fairly consistent.

Sue said...

You asked, "I'm not advocating socialism or communism, but where do we find Capitalism encouraged in the NT?"

Answer: The parable of the talents. Matt 25:14-30. Extend it to the OT, and there is much more support. My favorite is Proverbs 31, the Virtuous Wife, which not only sheds a positive light on the production side of capitalism, but also on the responsibility/charity side of it.

Todd said...


To use this parable, or any parable, as an endorsement of a political system is a big stretch--Jesus is telling stories to help people understand what God wants from his followers; I think on a relational level, not political.

If you read the following section on the sheep and the goats, you could interpret that God's criteria for our eternal fate is not about "following Him," or "accepting Jesus," or "being a Christian," but simply on how we treat the least of these.

My point is we need to be careful in how we apply these parables and teachings.

I'm not arguing for or against any political system; I don't think Jesus does either. And the OT reflects the various political systems of the time, rather than advocating a particular one.

The writers were communicating about the relationship between God and a particular group of people; I would be very careful about trying to apply much of the OT to politics today.

(Marriage in the OT rarely lines up with the one man/one woman definition of marriage.)

What concerns me is the idea among many Christians that capitalism and Christianity are synonymous; or at least that America's way of doing things is God's way.

We are the most powerful nation in the world, and many Christians seem to see that as evidence of God favoring us over other people groups.

But when I read the NT, I see a God who is most concerned with the poor, the oppressed, the other.

I think we are far too concerned with what God does for us rather than seeking to care for the other as Jesus commands.

Sue said...

Well, in all fairness, you did ask for support of the ideas. And this parable does that on several levels. However, I agree with you about the warped views of many people regarding capitalism and Christianity, and God's blessings, etc...

This parable does support several fundamental ideas of capitalism, perhaps metaphorically, without going so far as to endorse a system of government. 1) We are all gifted, but not at with the same, or even the same number of talents. We are not equal, as a socialized system (for instance) might strive for as ideal. 2) We are expected to use our talents to our fullest potential.

The story of the example of the parable (that of an authority and servant) could be that of many different political systems....but not a socialized one.

It speaks primarily, however, to the heart. (Somewhat along the lines of it doesn't matter what goes into the body so much as what comes out.) The exact system of government is not the issue, but the responsibility of the individual that goes along with the gifts does matter.

Christ was concerned about the poor and the downtrodden. He was also concerned about personal responsibility and diligence.

We have become a society of lazy entitlement seekers, growing fat on too much food, beer, and entertainment, and not enough work. Our educational and production markets are falling behind Indian and Chinese markets, not because we aren't smart enough, or don't have enough resource. We just aren't willing to work as many hours. There's a lack of diligence.

Socialism is not the solution. It will squelch what diligence and incentive and freedom remain.

Josh said...

I am currently a youth pastor of a southern baptist church (and a good friend of Todd's) who is currently unable to get health insurance for my wife because of what the health care companies have determined to be a pre-existing condition. although the first time they denied her when she left her teaching job to take care of our first child, it was for completely different reasons when they denied her again last week.

we are both young, healthy, and neither of us are requiring any ongoing care. the event and genetic trait that the insurance companies are continuing to deny my wife for would have never caused such a problem if they had done the routine test required in most european countries before prescribing a form of birth control. (if you've seen a birth control add that talks about a 1% of people who can have blood clot issues on the pill, well, Shey is in that one percent)

my family before me, both my wife and i, have dutifully contributed to the system, and when the health insurance companies choose to let you go, stop covering you, or simply change the rules, we are at their beckon call.

it's not my wife's fault she was born with a minor genetic trait that predisposes her to blood clots in response to large hormonal changes. but it is quite unfortunate that the health insurance companies who are most concerned with profit (with a nod here to capitalism thank you...) over helping people.

obama's health care solutions may not be the answer, but i can testify to the current system not working. i'd love to hear a more equitable system being offered however...

Sue said...

Josh, I empathize with you and your wife's situation.

I would agree with you that third party payors are not the solution and that the current system is broken.

I favor a system that gets rid of the third party payor (government or private), puts the money and the power back in the hands of the patient, and releases the medical industry from the shackles of the insurance companies.

Decreased government, decreased regulation, personal empowerment and responsibility, free ebb and flow of the markets without restraint.

Unfettered competition works.