We Interrupt Regularly Scheduled Programming to Rant on Healthcare

Published March 22, 2010 by Elspeth

 So turn away now if you’re too spiritual to be interested in politics, but I’ll be brief. The fact that we have morphed from a representative constitutional republic into some kind of soft-socialist, big government banana republic bordering on oligarchy isn’t news to anyone who is a student of real history and pays a modicum of attention.

The 2,500 page monstrosity of a healthcare bill passed last night. You all probably know that by now. What you probably know, but can’t prove without reading the monstrosity, is that there is no way it took 2,500 pages to enact the few changes they claim to have enacted last night. Who knows what else is in that bill? Well, I know that a government takeover of the entire student loan program was tucked in it. ALL student loans from the date of Obama’s signature will be government held loans. Remember that, folks,  no matter how the paper work you sign obscures it. The House passed this legislation last year but they couldn’t get through the Senate. So they tucked in this bill. As for the “substance” of the bill, I’ll just say this:

Aside from the tax increases, tricky accounting that deceitfully makes it seem like this bill cuts the deficit, and the further erosion of liberty, the sun still rose this morning despite passage of this bill. And if the Lord wills, it will rise again tomorrow. In fact, for the next several years, things for those of us who fall below the income threshold required for immediate tax increases, life will look pretty much the same on the whole.

But in 5 years, when the full weight of this law comes to bear, remember this day. It’s the day I predict that life as we know it will be “fundamentally transformed.” (I guess he did keep his campaign promise!)  The fallout of the insanity we witnessed last night most certainly puts us on the path to a single payer system. British and Canadian friends will chime in to say, “Well, what’s so wrong with that?”

I’ll tell you what’s so wrong with it. This ain’t Canada or The U.K.  Canada has a population of 34 million. United Kingdom? 64 million. The horror stories of Britain’s NHS are becoming legendary as their economic woes are affecting the quality of patient care and patient waiting periods even for the most serious medical problems. (You can find population stats here).

The population of the United States? 300 million. Almost ten times that of Canada and five times that of the U.K. Our deficit already, at this moment,  rivals that of the U.K. as a percentage of GDP, without universal healthcare. For those who have no stomach for talk of deficits and GDP comparisons, let me put this in even more simple terms:

We cannot afford this. Period. No matter what the pundits say, this was not good. Do I want to see anyone denied the medical care they need? Of course not, and please don’t insult me by implying otherwise. I just don’t see how putting us on a path where the whole country is denied quality healthcare makes life better for those without insurance now. I guess it does if your interpretation of fairness means that everyone is equally sick and impoverished.  Remember we are a nation in debt with a population of 300 million and 20 million illegals. This is no small, insignificant statistic. An ignored fact: it’s against the law for hospitals to deny emergency care to anyone who walks through their doors as things stood anyway. So what we’re really doing is trying to make sure no one gets a bill for their medical care. Entitlements once given, are extremely hard to withdraw.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (*sigh*), I should return to regularly scheduled programming. I haven’t even started my post on Biblical Womanhood and healthy eating, but I have put together a menu for this week, so I’ll share that with anyone who might be interested and prefers it much more than my political rantings:

  • Sunday: Smothered Chicken w/yellow rice, Collard greens, Corn bread, and Andrea’s Blueberry Banana Cake
  • Monday: Mushroom Bolognese, Caesar salad (the linked recipe is close to my own Bolognese, but I use fresh tomatoes)
  • Tuesday: Fish Pasties, Tomato Cucumber Salad
  • Wednesday: Brown Rice Skillet Meal, Steamed Green Beans, Parker House Rolls
  • Thursday: Vegetarian Bowtie Pasta w/spinach, Caesar Salad
  • Friday: Tacos, Corn, Black Bean Salad w/nachos
  • Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Most of the recipes above, I don’t have a link for, because they are my own or are from a cook book. If   a recipe interests you,  just ask, and I’ll post it as a comment as time permits.

Happy Monday, all!

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64 comments on “We Interrupt Regularly Scheduled Programming to Rant on Healthcare

  • Terry,

    Im not a huge fan of this bill,, but Im not sure why the opponents keep saying it’s the last step towards a single payer system. How is that the case? there was no public option even put in, was there? As far as I can see it, all this did was mandate that thousands more people give money to private insurance companies, whether they have the money to do so or not. How will that not help those said insurance companies, and ensure that the system as it it exists in the states will continue on in perpetuity?

    Now, the argument that you can’t afford it, well that may be totally legit. But again, how does that lead to a single-payer system? If the government does go so bankrupt it can’t even function, how is it going to set up a single-payer healthcare system? It seems to me like you can’t have it both ways. I confess I may be totally missing something here, but I’d like someone to explain to me in rational, plain english how this bill will lead to the US having a single payer healthcare system, becuse I don’t see anything like that here. In fact, the one thing I was hoping might come out of ‘reform’ would be that people like my mother might be able to buy in or qualify for medicaid, and its looking like not even that will happen. Instead, she’ll be mandated to buy coverage she can’t afford. But again, don’t see how that leads to anything other than lining the insurance companies’ pockets, and don’t see how it leads to a system like we have here in Canada.

    One more note, regarding the UK stats…you are aware, I am sure, that the UK has a two-tier medical system. That means that people can have private insruance and can go outside the public system at any time to pay for private medical care, just as Americans can. Now some Canadians have advocated for a similar system, but the opponents have argued that exactly what is happening in the UK might happen here- that funding would be drained from the public system and people who use it would suffer. But either way, Im not sure it’s fair to hold up the UK’s statistic and say “Single Payer is therefore a nightmare” because they are not a truly single-payer system, and any and all of those people that are waiting are free at any time to go and pay for the healthcare they want and need, just as folks are int he US.

    So in conclusion, I agree with you, Terry, that this bill may end up doing more harm than good in the long run, but Im in no way convinced that it takes the US into a single payer system.

  • I’ll get back to you in more detail later, Nicole (“school” starts at 10:00 around here, :)

    But you’re right. We’re probably on the road to something more like the U.K. than Canada. In which case, I can rest my case, can’t I?

  • I love reading your political “rants.” It sickens me what is going on. It also makes me realize that there’s more to the political situation. The kids and I have been reading “The Light and the Glory For Children” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. It’s “Discovering God’s Plan for America from Christopher Columbus to George Washington.” For me it has been great.

    Last week we read about the Puritans and how they started off in America. They came here to practice their beliefs, their “Covenant Way” of life. After a while, they began to forget these things and became complacent in their walk with God and all the good things they were experiencing were taking over. Well, all kinds of bad things started happening to their crops and they had Indian’s raiding their villages. It took a lot for God to get their attention again, but He did and they turned their hearts back to Him.

    Then the “Great Awakening” happened. What a wonderful time, spiritually, for America. I’ve been so incredibly convicted of sin in my own life lately. True revival starts within our own hearts, if we choose to listen to God. To be like Jesus is what we should strive for and it’s not easy.

    All this to say that I pray the horrible political things happening in America these days will be a spiritual awakening for the believers today.

    Sorry if this is rambling and not making much sense.
    Love your blog!
    Emily

  • Many of these people already pay nothing under the current system; we do. As of 2001, the uninsured seeking health care resulted in the direct cost of $98 billion dollars. The government covers roughly $30 billion of this, with hospitals and doctors covering the rest. These costs are then passed onto us in the form of taxes and higher costs for hospital visits and care with doctors. If the cost remained the same (it likely already has increased and will more due to the recession), covering our current system for another ten years will actually be $40 billion more expensive than the government health plan.

    In addition to the cost burden, many hospitals across the nation are struggling to remain solvent or have already gone bankrupt due to providing health-care to the uninsured. When these hospitals close their doors, entire communities are effected as they are no longer able to receive care close to home. The closure of medical facilities results in less research being conducted and less opportunity for medical personnel to be trained.

    Whether this bill is the appropriate measure for health care reform is certainly debatable, but the issue simply isn’t as black and white as many conservatives want to make it, nor is the reform purely socialist. If anything, the measures largely cater to the insurance companies, the groups who have taken away much choice from the American consumer, and does not begin to address the abuses committed by these corporations. Abolishing pre-existing condition denials and increasing the age young people can stay on their parents insurance plan is a start, but ideally more reforms to private insurance are necessary. Many social ills that have required action in our nations history started with unpopular legislation, including much of the civil rights movement. It is my sincere hope that opening the door for meaningful reform could be the catalyst towards progress in this area for the US. An honest look at the system affirms the fact we cannot afford our current system much longer, either.

  • Well said, Amy. I’m not one who is convinced this bill is grat, but a lot of the rhetoric against it makes no sense to me, and does make the current system out to be great, which it is NOT. I wish I was smart enough to know how exactly this bill will or won’t affect Americans, I confess I am not, but I appreciated the points you made.

    And you read that bill? you go girl! Haha :)

  • Well, Im not sure, Terry… I mean some could arague that the US already does have a two-tier system because of Medicare and Medicaid. And I don’t see anything in this bill that would move the US away from it’s current strcuture of private insurance for most and Medicare and Medicaid for some, into a system that abolished medicare and medicaid and set up a government-managed single payer system for some and a private system for others. Again, I think I’d need some convincing to see how this bill leads to that.

    Hope you have a good day at ‘school’. :)

  • Yes I did, crazy person that I am. ;) The first time I read the bill was just a speed read, but the second time more in-depth. There was a rumor that Tricare was going to be taxed as a Cadillac plan which seemed ludicrous seeing as it’s largely military treating military without much money exchanged. My husband and I decided to read the bill again rather than worry about something that might not be there and sure enough, no tax on Tricare. There were some odd things in the bill though.

    I’m in the ‘not smart enough’ camp with you. Hopefully this bill might be the start for some meaningful change and reform but only time will tell.

    Btw, I’ve always enjoyed reading your perspective on the Canadian system. Hearing the actual experiences of others sure beats endless rhetoric. Most of the Canadians I know have expressed appreciation for the health care system despite the flaws.

  • There is a repair man in our house which has sent the kiddos into a tailspin, unable to pay attention to the story I was trying to read to them so I have a minute.

    Here’s my theory Nicole. I think that while it appears on the surface to be a gimme to the health insurance companies, and it may even seem that way for a year or two, the insurance companies are going to be forced to raise premiums to the stratosphere, causing a health care crisis bigger than what we have now. This bill signals the death knell for most private insurers, in my opinion, because the new mandates have to be paid for by someone, namely the consumer. As the premium crisis mounts, the public option will seem much more palatable to a greater percentage of people. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think this is by design. Surely I am not the only one who thought of this.

    Amy, I concluded long ago that your are several IQ points more intelligent than me. You proved it by reading and deciphering the bill. There are some good things in this bill, but there are some notable absences and some things that are down right unethical. For example (and I blame the GOP for this too ’cause they could have done it while they were in charge), there are still states, such as AL, where there one insurance company holds 98% of the policies, the rest being held by gov’t. Why can’t we buy health insurance across state lines like we buy all other types of insurance? Talk about generating competition, which has the added benefit of reducing premiums?

    I even have a slight problem with the pre-existing conditions provision, but I think I might be misunderstanding it. I think that insurance companies should be stopped from denying coverage for exisiting customers based on pre-existing conditions. I am very happy they can’t arbitrarily drop customers when they get sick. But I can’t go buy home owners insurance at the moment my house is burning and expect to find coverage for a reasonable rate, and certainly can’t expect the company to cover the present damage from the fire. Am I wrong or heartless, or just missing a major piece of the puzzle?

    I guess in the end, I’d rather see the government revise the eligibility requirements within Medicaid and existing programs while opening up competition and tort reform first. Then go from there.

    I don’t think, and never have, that our system wasn’t in need of some reform. I cringe when I hear people like Beck and Hannity imply such nonsense. That said, my conservatism wasn’t grown in a vacuum.I am not a white, blue blood, lifelong republican who has an innate problem with government “taking my money to give to someone else.” Heck,we don’t have all that much money!

    I am someone who was born and raised in a community that has been ravaged by sin and the effects of government subsidization of it and taking away the penalty of bad choices, removing incentives for hard work, and all that comesm from it. I don’tthink this issue is black and white. Not at all. I just don’t trust the government as the sole agent to fix it. And I certainly loathe the fact that they passed a 2500 page bill.

    Maybe I need to stop my bellyaching and read it like you did. Maybe I’ll be as sympathetic to it as you are.

  • As a Canadian, I must also confess that I find the US system confusing – and this new bill has only added to that!! And so, in my confusion, may I ask what a good alternative might be to ensure that everyone has coverage? I’d love to hear the perspective from those that are familiar with who is allowed coverage, who isn’t, etc.

    And as Amy said, I’d have to agree that despite the numerous flaws in our health care system, most folks I know (and my family included!) are happy to put up with some of the frustrations as a trade off for knowing that we always have access to appropriate care. I admit I was shocked when I first came across an article a few years ago that mentioned how expensive it was to have a baby – as in, actually deliver the baby :) I honestly had never even considered that side of the equation!!

  • Kudos to you for reading the bill!!

    You are a very wise young woman and your assessment of the situation very closely mirrors my own. The bottom line is that God has allowed this legislation at this time, let us as Christians submit to His will and wait and see.

    My intuition tells me that this law will not accurately be judged until 50 years or so have passed as so often is the case with history.

  • I forgot to mention something: Let’s not forget something major here that has been conveniently overlooked in the media. This bill, in the end, came down to abortion.

    And I stand on the side of the Catholic bishops in saying the whole executive order banning funding of abortions is a deceitful crock- political smoke and mirrors which can be rescinded by the president as easily as they can be written.

    Even for those who are pro-abortion, the fact is that it is wrong to use taxpayer funds to pay for a procedure thatat least half the American public believe is morally reprehensible.

  • Kari,

    Believe-you-me.. as an american living in Canada (married a Cannuck, have been a permanent resident here for six years or so) who is having her first baby, I think ALL THE TIME about what we would be paying if we lived in the US to have a baby. As my husband owns his own small business (very small, it’s just him) and I am now a stay at home wife, purchasing insurance would be so outrageous for us, and that is a large reason why we live in Canada and wouldn’t consider moving to the states.

    But as Terry said, the US isn’t Canada, and I know that many Americans who have good private insurance would be not happy with what we have. For instance, Terry roccommended to me that I get a pediatrician for the baby, but as you know here in Canada a pediatrician is a specialist, and children are treated by family doctors unless there is a special need, at which time they are referred to a pediatrician. now, I have zero problem with this (probably in part because I was a military kid and used to the tricare system, which is often similar to our Canadian system), but some Americans with good insurance coverage would chide at that lack of ‘choice’. But then again of course there are millions of Americans who would gladly take our system as they don’t currently have any choices… so it’s obviously a very complicated issue.

  • Terry,

    First, on the abortion thing. this is where I must not be smart enough to understand what is going on, because isn’ there already a pre-existing federal law from the 1970s that prohibits federal funding to pay for abortion? Has that been thrown out? Im confused.

    Second, I actually agree with you on the pre-existing conditions thing in theory. If a private insurance business doesn’t want to give coverage to a crack-smoker, I can understand that. But again… I guess that’s why I favor the system we have here, because it’s not about a private insurance company trying to make a dime over life and death health care issues, because we have cut out that middle man. So some could argue that yes, people hwo make poorer health choices are more ofa drain on the system, but then you have to stop and say where do you point the finger and who do you deem as so irresponsible they don’t qualify for coverage? A drug addict? An overweight person? Someone who drinks too much aspertame? someone with a chronic illness they had no choice in getting? So, at the end of the day I’d prefer the non-judgemental system we have, where folks get covered and their medical history doesn’t matter, even if it maybe ‘unfair’ on some level.

    But again… that’s our system and I know that many Americans, and certainly enough of them with the voices that ‘matter’ as far as how governemtn is run, would not like our system, and the changes that it would require (not to mention the impact ont he economy with so much of it consisting of insurance businesses). So in short, as I’ve said before, i don’t know what the solution is for the US.

  • We can agree to disagree on the nature of the healthcare debate.

    But on the aborion issue, yes. It appears you missed something because federal abortion funding has been a part of the senate bill from the start.

    One pro-life Democrat, Bart Stupak, refused to go along with it in the house and got several pro-life democrats together to go with him.

    In the end, the provision remained in the bill but Obama pacified the Stupak coalition by signing an executive order restricting federal funding for abortion.

    I’m sure you realize that the very nature of an executive order means that in the end,the abortion funding provision within the bill carries more weight. I’llhave to look into that old law you referenced fromthe 70’s because the fight to keepthe feds from using tax dollars tofund abortion has been going on as long as I’ve been paying attention to politics. And any law can be overrode by another as long as it wasn’t a constitutional amendment.

    Sheesh! Doesn’t anyone think my menu this week looks tasty? LOL :)

  • Distractions abound here today too, Terry. Our movers are finishing day 2 of pack up and my hyper little person is out riding her bike with daddy in “the circle”. Not too sure what “the circle” is, but she’s happy about this. ;)

    Ideally the bill should have targeted much more private insurance reform, such as torte reform, capping malpractice pay-outs, and establishing a healthy competitive marketplace. Since this did not happen, the cynic in me firmly believes the insurance companies are lining the pockets of politicians.

    Wrt the pre-existing condition, there are several issues to consider. Somebody like my sister who has a chronic illness and must switch insurance companies could be denied coverage as a result of their condition. They have been receiving care and were adequately covered and may be changing through o fault of their own, a layoff perhaps or jumping from your parents plan to that of your grad school as Lynny is set to do this fall. Diabetes, athama, heart murmurs, auto-immune illness, caner and a myriad other illnesses would be found in this category. The provision would protect this group from denials which most people would probably feel fair as they have done their best to take care of themselves and shouldn’t be penalized for issues that are out of their control.

    Women who are pregnant when they switch insurance plans or first get coverage are vulnerable to pre-existing condition denials. It’s a well established fact that prenatal care prevents many negative outcomes and with it costly issues. To deny a woman coverage due to pregnancy is foolish for the insurance company from a financial perspective.

    For the other group, they will be paid for in some way, shape, or form. This high risk group is typically the one that brings about the sky high uninsured treatment rates, showing up at hospitals only after the cancer, diabetes, or other issue is out of control and costing far more in time and money than they would have otherwise. Offering preventive care through insurance avoids much burden on the tax payer, resulting in fairness for the system rather than fairness for the person per se.

    I’d also add with insuring people in general that we prevent many health emergencies when we provide health access to the poor. TB has been on the rise in many western nations, as have vaccine preventable diseases. Other airborne illnesses have the potential to spark outbreaks in the population in general, many of which thrive in poverty. When we provide care for the less fortunate, we not only help them but we help ourselves seeing as we all share public spaces where infections can spread. We prevent outbreaks from occurring as people can get help and public health officials can track trends and see when a potential problem may be coming about.

    As cold and callous as it sounds, the health care crisis should be looked at from an economic stand point rather than a human one. In what way can we best use money to address the fiscal reality of our health care system, provide adequate public health protections for society at large, and get the most benefit for the common good? What reform would provide the greatest benefit overall? Knowing that we pay billions upon billions for the uninsured in a way that is not effective, how can we best utilize resources to address their needs and lessen the cost burden? What is the cost on productivity, tax revenue, and life expectancy without government reform? These are among the questions we need to ask of politicians, medical officials, and economists regardless of political beliefs. Liberals are just as guilty as conservatives of overtly emotional reactions and rhetoric on this issue, causing us never to have any meaningful debate.

    As far as the abortion issue goes, this excerpt from the CBS website sums up the final bill well:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20000846-503544.html

    “Abortion:

    * The bill segregates private insurance premium funds from taxpayer funds. Individuals would have to pay for abortion coverage by making two separate payments, private funds would have to be kept in a separate account from federal and taxpayer funds.
    * No health care plan would be required to offer abortion coverage. States could pass legislation choosing to opt out of offering abortion coverage through the exchange. ”

    As much as I abhor abortion, the last point especially is technically right as far as the Constitution goes, giving the power to individual states rather than a federal initiative. It is quite far from the cries of socialism and government takeover that I’ve heard a few of the talking heads claiming was in the bill when it came to abortion.

  • I’ve thought the same about life without Tricare. Sarah cost us a whopping $25 to be born and all of her doctors visit since have been fully covered, except for her ER trip of $12. Tricare is not perfect by a long shot, but I’m sincerely thankful to be able to go to the doctor without financial worries when needed, for myself and my daughter.

    From your comment it seems Tricare might be a bit more flexible now, Nicole. We can opt for a military or civilian provider and can choose either a ped or a family practice doc for Sarah. I’ve done both for her at different times, but actually prefer the family practice as we can both see the same doctor. This is great for practical reasons, but also provides the doctor with the benefit of having a full medical history for Sarah thanks to my chart being available in her care too. Essential when you have the “wonderful” genes my family does! haha

  • Terry, your meal plan does sound tasty! :) It’s just difficult to think about food while pondering such unappetizing topics as diabetes and abortion.

  • I’m thinking the same. Let us hope we’ll have grandkids and great-grandchildren who will marvel at the silliness today brought!

  • Thanks for the info, Amy.

    On the pre-exisiting conditions I agree with you up to a point. In cases where the change of plans of is necessary, and medical coverage was already being provided, I think the denial of coverage for pre-existing condition is good. Pregnant mothers, people long-term chronic conditions, etc.

    Since everyone in the country is going to be required by law to get insurance (The Amish are exempt, right?) these cases may be few and far between, but initially, I pictured people choosing to forgo buying coverage, get the bad news from the doctor, and then run out and get coverage and the insurance company can’t say no.

    I also wondered about families that forgo insurance, choosing instead to utilize things like Samaritan Ministries. Are their constitutional rights being trampled? Do they have recourse? Because frankly, since I am pretty sure my childbearing years are behind me, I like the idea of ministries like that as an alternative to traditional insurance.

  • Amy,

    Hmm… maybe it has changed. I seem to recall when I was a kid going to the base clinic to see a doctor when needed, with referrals to civilian doctors when needed. I don’t remember having a private family doctor until my father retired and we no longer lived neara a military base. Now, that being said, it could be that my parents just opted to use the base clinic instead of seeking a private doctor with all the moves we made… and I just didn’t know any different. But whateve rit was, it always worked for us. Glad you are happy with Tricare for the most part for your family. :)

  • Ok, Terry, it was the Hyde Amendment I was referring to.

    and I looked it up, and it looks like it is a rider to spendingbills, and had to be renewed every year, which is why stupak et al were trying to get it put in this bill permanently. A brief history of the law is found here:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121402281

    in clear language. So, as of right now, with Hyde in place, there is a ban, and with this executive order, it adds extra assurance. But either could be overturned, I suppose.

  • I think ALL THE TIME about what we would be paying if we lived in the US to have a baby.

    Hospital births can be expensive. There are alternatives.
    ********************
    I don’t think the real issue here is whether healthcare needs to be reformed. Or even whether a “nationalized” program is a viable alternative to what we’ve got.

    We need to get a better perspective on the overall state of our nation’s spiritual health (fluttering pulse–shallow breathing–apathetic or hostile demeanor——WAIT, isolated signs of true Life!!!!) before we can assess the topic of physical health care.

    While it may be debatable as to whether our founding fathers were primarily Christian in their beliefs, it is evident they valued many key Biblical precepts concerning the governing of our nation. Honesty, hard work and community collaboration were built into the backbone of America, largely because of the spiritually positive influence of the Christian faith. Sure, there have always been problems–human nature dictates this. But we have fallen so, so far.

    Over the years, reverence for God has been marginalized as we’ve become enamored with worshiping the human intellect and capability of “the human spirit” and what “we” can do when we set our minds to it. We’ve been building our own modern tower of Babel.

    Our country’s elected leaders have for many years been undermining the constitutional foundations of our country while tossing handouts to people to keep us from protesting the steady erosion of one or another Constitutionally gifted freedom. The trade seems fair and tolerable but they have been quietly altering laws and many apparently consider themselves to be above the previously established laws of this land.

    I highly doubt there is any deliberate attempt to be evil. These folks probably believe they do have the answer to all our problems. The enemy of souls is cunning and subtle in the way he worms his way into our lives.

    And for the most part, our greed and self-centeredness has prevented us from thinking clearly about what our acceptance of such “help” will mean for our children and grandchildren. Perhaps many will feel that is an unfair blanket statement, but it’s hard to ignore that American me-ism has reached epidemic levels.

    We have placed God on the back-burner and sell out a bit more with every generation, to the point where kids grow up looking to the govt to feed, clothe and house them.

    The church is partly to blame for the destruction of our society because we’ve fallen for the lies that we need big houses, lots of clothes, the best quality food and health care and education (you know, so we can maintain our cushy lifestyles).

    We’re Laodicea and have become largely apathetic to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    On the way to our favorite $40 per plate restaurant, we look the other way so as to avoid seeing the unwed pregnant teenager neighbor who desperately needs nourishing meals and a friend who will share her burden. We build bigger church buildings instead of investing in the rebuilding of broken lives. We cluck our tongues in disgust at those who turn to the govt welfare programs. But it doesn’t cross our minds to approach our church families about pooling resources so that we can offer food and shelter to the needy families we might encounter. We get irritated that all the illegal aliens are flooding our borders, burdening taxpayers through our already partially socialized medical and educational systems. I believe that these people ought to seek to become citizens in a legal manner, but our outrage concerning the mishandling of tax money often blinds us to the fact that many of them are trying to escape from horrible living circumstances. And guess who’s likely doing the menial jobs in our country that we’ve become too good to do?

    If American people had not abandoned solid Biblical teaching in our homes, schools and churches, I wonder if there would even be much demand for the kind of government assistance we see today. Christians are to be unconcerned with climbing the social ladder. We are to be learning to live contentedly with whatever means God has seen fit to provide. We are to be watching for people with whom we can share Christ’s love. I don’t mean going on mission trips or pestering people about “getting saved”. I mean we are to have a concern that prompts us to develop real and honest relationships with individuals whom we encounter on an everyday basis. We are to be minding the needs of our own families instead of pawning off the care of our kids and elders on others.

    And we are told that we ought to WORK if we want to eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

    We’re selfish. And even much of the stink that’s made over medical welfare indicates this. We don’t want to part with our money, “treasures” or our freedoms. Especially not to those who didn’t earn these things. Yet, according to the Bible, Jesus has offered us forgiveness that we certainly don’t deserve. God blesses us with the things of the world so that we can bless others. And, as far as I can tell, the only freedom He has guaranteed us is the freedom to serve and worship the Lord that Christ has made possible. If we don’t want to be good stewards of that which we’ve been given, perhaps the Lord has seen fit to remove accessibility to these good things.

    The American people have invited human government to be “god” and we are likely going to be soon called to pay our dues. How should we respond?

    I agree in part with Taunya’s comment concerning God allowing this to happen. We are to submit to ruling authorities because ultimately, they answer to God and we have (supposedly) placed our trust in Him.

    In our country, though, creation and enforcement of our law rests, in part, on the heads of the voting populace. According to scripture, we are not to place our hopes in any human institution, yet are to be law abiding and trustworthy citizens. In the US, this law that we are to obey is based in our constitution, and not the whims of whoever happens to be in office.

    If the law of the land is being ignored by the current elected officials, do we–as godly, law abiding citizens–submit to their demands or (according to our law) hold them accountable to the law (both of God and the country which they supposedly serve).

    With our unique form of government, it’s a tough call either way, because WE bear part of the responsibility for proliferation of godlessness if we say nothing. We also bear responsibility if we try to take action that proves to be unChristlike or focused on worldly things.

    In the end, it’s not legislative change that will bring permanent healing, anyway. But as a relatively “free” society, we do face a challenge as far as obediently carrying out our God-given responsibility before both God and man.

    I’ve been begging the Lord to give my husband wisdom in this area.
    For well over a year now, the only definite recourse I see for American Christians is to repent of our lack of concern for the things of the Lord, humble ourselves before the Him and plead with Him to change hearts–And, to give us the opportunity and strength to serve Him boldly and unashamedly regardless of what happens.

    Okay, then. There’s my cyber-ramble for the day.

  • Um… my older son is autistic and would be entitled to ****$27,0000**** worth of help through the local regional center if we qualified for Medicaid. We pay our taxes. We have insurance. So we qualify for NO HELP AT ALL. I think people on Medicaid must get unicorns and free pony rides. Being lower middle class stinks if you have a child with a disability and don’t qualify for anyone’s idea of “charity.”

  • Mrs C,

    Im sorry to heara that your son could get help that he doesn’t qualify for, that must be very frustrating for you. Im not sure about unicorns and pony rides, but I do know that medicaid helped save my nephew’s life, who was born with gastroschisis and spent his first 6 months in the philadelphia children’s hospital. Despite the fact that my sister’s husband works up to 60 hours a week, because it’s not muc more than minimum wage my sister qualifies for Medicaid. And thank God, because they would have no coverage otherwise (her husband doesn’t have any, but she and her babies have basic coverage) and my nephew probably wouldn’t be alive today (and certainly wouldn’t thriving the way he is).

    Im not sure if your comment was against the idea of medicaid or for it, but I think your comment highlighed the fact that healthcare costs are so often out of reach for working class families, something I know full-well.

  • Heather,

    The birth of the child in the hospital is far from the only cost associated with pregnancy and having children (as I am sure you are fully aware). Prenantal care in itself requires one to see a doctor at least once amonth. Had I not had prenantal care, I wouldn’t have known that I was borderline gestational diabetic, and wouldn’t have gotten the help I needed in monitoring my blood sugar levels so that my baby didn’t get dangerously big and make delivery difficult and/or dangerous, not to mention the negative health consequences on the baby. In addition, I’ve had an inflamed pubic bone that needed attention from my doctor, as well as a recent UTI that had required a round of antibiotics and of course the follow-up. And of course for all of these things, lab work was required along the way to test blood, urine, etc.

    So even if I were into a home birth (which I am not considering the number of women I have known who have needed emercency c-sections or other medical concerns during labor), the cost of pregnancy and childbirth IS expensive. Had we had to pay out of pocket for that in the US, or have a private coverage plan that covered us, it would have been very expensive, or in the case of out-of-pocket, literally undoable for us. Hence why I prefer our system in Canada, where we can be a lower-middle class family and still have children and not go bankrupt. Im not saying its impossible for folks in the US to do that, but for us and our situation we prefer living in Canada and our system here.

  • That may be true,armchairhousewife,but the fact is ,you’re not paying for your healthcare.Someone else is.I’m sure,that if you’re lower middle class,you don’t pay enough taxes to cover the expenses you mentioned above.As a Christian,I believe stealing is immoral.

  • Haha, Mary ann, that’s terribly classy of you to accuse someone of stealing, “as a Christian”, but as it turns out, we DO pay for our healthcare, thank you very much.

    Both my husband and I (until two weeks ago when I left work) pay an employee health tax on our income, and in addition my employer paid an employer health tax for me. While on post-tax income we are roughly lower-middle class, I can assure that you my husband pays well more into the system than he takes out personally, and as his income has gone up and so have his taxes, he has been more than happy to pay his fair share if it means health care coverage not only for us, but for our neighbors who might have less.

    In addition, in Canada our healthcare costs overall are not nearly what they cost in the US, becuase we are a non-profit system and have cut out the middle man for insurance, so that even when you do have to pay out pocket (which I did before I was granted immigrant status here) it is still WAY less than it costs in the US to pay out of pocket for healthcare. So unfortunately, as is often the case with Americans, you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to the canadian system.

    And in addition… I can assure that to the majority of Canadians, it is a national, patriotic value that we are proud to have a system that covers everyone, even if that means that some pay a bit more and some a bit less. We don’t viewing it “Stealing”, as you so charmingly put it, but another S word, “Sharing”, as we are a democratic nation and have CHOSEN to have a socialized system where all are cared for. So we don’t look down on those who make less and accuse them of stealing, just as most Americans, “Christian” or otherwise, wouldn’t accuse poor or low income children of “stealing” their public education.

  • Wow,You actually chose socialism?You’re obviously not very bright.I think now I will not continue to cast my pearls before swine.

  • Armchair housewife you handled that unfortunate comment with grace and class. As a Christian I am concerned about those with less and am willing to share and help in any way I can. Just for the record I would be considered an “upper middle class” American so I am sure I would be contributing quite a bit.

    It seems to me that what is motivating some Christians is good old-fashioned greed. Terry I am not talking about you, I understand your political beliefs as we have talked many times. But I am seeing a lot of really upset tight-fisted people these days.

    In all honesty Social Security, the public school system and medicaid are all socialistic programs as well. Why should I have to pay taxes so that other people’s children have an education? I homeschool and I have to finance that on my own. Why shouldn’t other people finance their children’s education? How can we be okay with socialized education and retirement but not healthcare?

    Also on the topic of the lawsuits to challenge forced insurance coverage. The government already forces us to buy car insurance and has for years. If you don’t buy it and get caught driving you are fined every time you are caught. It would seem to me if forced health insurance is unconstitutional forced car insurance would be to and yet I don’t see anyone challenging that. If they did in the past they must have lost because it is mandatory.

  • You know what Henderson?Maybe we should pay to let everyone have a house as well.You know it would be so immoral to let someone sleep out in the cold.So unlike a Christian to allow such a thing.We could go on and on with this.But,since I’m so unclassy,I’ll just have to say that maybe the poor need more incentives and less entitlements.Maybe that would be a way of loving thy neighbor as thyself.Isn’t it my right to give my money away as I please?I can tell you that the poor will be receiving less charity if the government continues to steal.

  • I’m well aware of the potential costs and hazards of having children.

    Nicole, I’m not about to presume that all women ought to have trouble-free home births just because I’ve been able to. I will have to say, though, that a conscientious midwife will carefully monitor weight change, diet, urinary and pelvic discomfort and blood sugar changes and urge her client to seek more specialized oversight if it looks as though anything is out of line. Some midwives also are qualified to draw blood for preliminary testing–or they have connections with clinics that will do the draw. Prenatal care does not necessarily have to break the bank, particularly if there is no indication of any problem.

    Often, there are circumstances that are totally beyond the control of the woman which require special attention and I would never suggest that someone who discovers she is in a high-risk situation would seek less-than-specialized care.

    Sometimes midwife-assisted births do end in emergency sections. But, so do some hospital births. In such cases, it is interesting to me how midwives often get treated as incompetent (despite the fact that they recognized the need for intervention) while hospital staff are viewed as heroes. But, do we really know how many hospital emergencies are actually due to mishandling of the labors by the staff? I’ve heard of excessive use of pitocin and induction just because it was more convenient for the Dr’s schedule. My dr completely missed my second delivery because he had counted on a slow pushing phase as in my first. He’s a good Dr., and we called him in plenty of time.

    I was surprised to learn recently that many women opt for 1st preg c-sections just for convenience. And because many hospitals refuse to attempt vbac, they require that subsequent pregs be delivered similarly (upping costs tremendously). I also think it is notable how many women I’ve heard go for epidurals as a matter of course. The anesthesia ups costs and has been suspect in low APGAR scores and other newborn drama.

    This is getting long, but what was rattling in the back of my brain when I commented before is that often medical attention is sought before we even ask the Lord what He would have us do. I’m not accusing you or any other reader of this. But I’ve seen it even in myself and this tendency makes perfect sense to me of why so many people are up in arms over possible health care rationing.

    I’ve seriously wondered how many of our health/financial/personal problems God has allowed specifically to prompt us to turn to Him and ask for help while we instead continue to run to human wisdom and systems.

    We say that we believe God is sovereign and that we trust Him above all but on a practical level, where in our order of action does prayer and petition and waiting for Him to direct actually come into play?

  • Mrs Henderson,

    I appreciarte your more eloquent restating of my very own points. And the thing is… as I have said many times before here when this topic comes up, Im not saying that the Canadian system is for the US. I believe in democracy and the self-determination of a people, and if the US citizenry does not want any sort of single-payer or government-managed health care, then it shouldn’t be forced upon them, no matter how happy I am with what I have here in Canada. As I’ve said before, many folks, perhaps such as yourself if you really like your coverage you have, might not be happy with what we have here in Canada, and I respect that.

    I just chide when 1) Americans who often don’t know better poo-poo our system (don’t mean you, Terry, I know you didn’t poo-poo the canadian system), and 2) I don’t get the connection of the changes this bill will bring to our system anyway, as it in no way makes the American system any closer to ours. They are night and day, and this bill doesn’t make the US system more like ours… it continues to rely on privitized insurance and doesn’t expand medicaid or medicare (at least to my knowledge anyway).

    Again, to me it goes back to democracy, and the self-determination of a people, which Im pretty sure is supposed to be a cornerstone of “The American Way.” Here in Canada, they/we (I’ve only lived here six years so I continue to get my pronouns mixed up :) ) decided long ago, and continue to reaffirm through the democratic process, the value of a socialized healthcare system so that all can have access to basic medical coverage, much as the US has done in the way of schooling, infrustructure, medicare, etc. That doesn’t make us thieves or swine, it makes us a people who exercised their freedoms and made a decision as a community, and have continued to be mostly happy with that decision for more than half a century. It may not be what Americans want, and I can respect that, but we just want to be careful not to accuse other people who do things different of sin.

    Always appreciate your two cents Mrs Henderson. :)

    -Nicole

  • Heather,

    And I am not saying that home-births are wrong, and I certainly have no problem what soever with midwives. Here in Ontario you have a choice between OB and Midwife, and both are covered by our provincial healthcare. I went with OB because my family doctor recommended it with my history of miscarraige, but i can assure you that if I get pregnant again, I will be having a midwife, as I have heard wonderful things about the care they give, and I am all for them. And if a woman wants to have a home birth, fantastic. I am just personally thankful that I don’t *have* to make that choice out of financial neccessity, that I can have a hospital birth and have the coverage to do so.

    And I agree with you all the way through your points regarding delivery and labor… I have no plans to have an epidural,and I pray every day the Lord will allow me to have a Vbac, I don’t want a C-section at all. In fact, we have hired a doula to help me with the pain management and the labor coaching precisely for those reasons. So we’re on the same track when it comes to all of that.

    But my point still remains the same, which is that in OUR situation (just my own, not everyone else’s), with my husband being self-employed and me desiring to be a stay at home wife now, to purchase insurance to cover us or to pay out of pocket in the US would be very cost-prohibitive. yes, we could do it, and I know the Lord would lead us and guide us if we needed to do it, but again I am thankful for our Canadian system that allows us to pay less overall for costs and to pay via taxes. Again, I know that isn’t what many/most Americans want, and Im not suggesting its even the right thing for the US. Im simply saying that in my situation, with our story, WE are thankful for what we have here.

    And as for waiting on the lord and turning to Him for our needs… I agree with you completely, Heather. Caleb and I started out completely broke as a couple, with debt and everything else,and have often had to look to Him literally for food on the table and to pay the basic bills, especially our first few years of marriage. And when we lived in the US and had no coverage and got sick, well we couldn’t afford the doctor bill so we prayed and eventually we got better and god provided. But all that being said, Im still glad that I have a doctor I can go to, and am thankful for that provision, and I don’t see it as not relying on God to be thankful for our healthcare system. I see our good, affordable healthcare as provision from the Lord, not as soemthing that makes me rely less on Him.

    And this has become an exhausting discussion. Haha… we all feel so passionately about this, and as I have been on both sides of the border I guess I have even more to chime in about. But in the end, the lst thing I want is for this issue to be divisive amongst believers.. in fact Im so tired of the political divide in the US church I have strayed largely from following politics much at all. Sigh… Lord have mercy, eh? :)

  • Hmm… well i think that comment pretty well speaks for itself, ma’am. I’m sorry that the politics of healthcare means so much to you that you can’t engage politely with fellow sisters.. that’s a real shame.

  • What I meant was that it seems rather cruel to offer special help to Medicaid recipients through public agencies that other people can never hope to receive for *their* disabled kids. This is not a Medicaid program per se, but is billed through the Medicaid system. But the program is offered through the Regional Center… again… the Regional Center is funded through my taxes. WHY could they not try to bill my insurance, and then when insurance doesn’t pay, charge a sliding scale fee or offer the services to my son free of charge?

    I guess I’m just trying to state that not everyone has access to healthcare that meets their needs at all. I don’t see the “church” helping with bearing one another’s burdens, either. Want to know the last time someone asked me if they could help our family with childcare? Babysitting for just a couple hours so Mom and Dad can get out?

    Um… you probably don’t… but we’ve never been asked. Never. Been. Asked. And the oldest of the three autistic children (out of six) that I do have is 14!! No one wants to really help one another if the needs are a little odd or there is no return of the favour on the horizon. I can see where Christians could easily be swayed into voting for government help when people don’t help each other.

    I guess it just bothers me, and I wanted to say that.

  • God bless ya, Armchair Housewife and Hendersonfamily. I am not sure that I would compare health care to auto insurance because the government owns the roads but not our bodies.

    Yet.

    I can’t wait to get my new house on mary ann’s tax money! mmm… I think it is going to have a tile roof and a big-screen tv with theatre seating. I’m feeling incentivised to provide dairy-free popcorn. Party at my place. :)

  • Wow! I went to bed thinking the conversation was over, woke up, and there were 10 more comments.

    Thank you all for handling yourselves with such grace. Those who needed to defend their positions did so well, so I have nothing to add. Wait, yes I do!

    On the issue of this bill being the same as auto insurance. It’s actually not the same becasue the auto insurance policy that we are all familair with are individual state mandates. The 10th amendment allows for states to make these requirements of their citizen, and in the case of auto ins. that is what has happened.

    This is different because not only is it the feds imposing mandates on individual citizens, but on states as well. Further, there were incentives offered to certain senators for their respective states in order to garner their support for the bill. Some have called it bribes, but whatever you want to call it, you have situation where all states are required to fulfill the mandate and some states get benefit that others don’t. There is a case to be made here. Whether or not the states can win, I don’t know.

    As for the Canadian system, As Nicole and I have discussed at length, I don’t have a problem with it because it’s what the people wanted and are willing to pay for. I just don’t know how it could work in a country of 300 million that’s drowning in red ink.

    You’re right Taunya with your public school comparison. While I believe that the poublic school system, in terms of pure law, is questionable, the fact is that it is a fact of life and I wouldn’t deny those children whose parents can’t or won’t (more appropriately) educate them the opportunity to learn. In my opinion, parents who don’t send their kids to public school should have the school portions of their property taxes exempted.

    Let me reiterate this. I am not nor have I ever been overtly opposed to reasonable health care reforms. I just think there was a better way to do this that didn’t have to include trampling on individual rights.

    I also think it’s dangerous for anyone of us to say it’s alright for government to do this or that just because we personally might need the help. That’s exactly how we got where we are.

    Let me offer an example. Early last year, interests rates were low, so we went to our bank considering the possibility of refinancing. Our payment history and credit are good so we didn’t anticpate any problems. Of course, in the wake of the mortgage mess, banks are not looking to lose any money on interest since they are already losing so much already. They didn’t want to refinance us outright, but since is the first home we have ever owned, we were told we were eligible for a refi under some new Obama housing initiative. Of course, that meant they could drop our rate and not lose any money the the gov’t. would give them a tax credit.

    Despite the fact that we would have saved a few hundred dollars per month, we politely refused the offer. The banker was shocked, but we stood on principle.

  • I was thinking about Mrs.C’s comment regarding the help her son needs and cannot get because they fall within the dreaded middle: not enough income to pay for it and too much income to qualify for any state assistance.

    It occurred to me how sad that is, that in America, where there are so many churches with doctors and lawyers and wealthy businessmen that we cannot get the help we need for each other within the church community.

    I know that people have to makea living, and I am not suggesting that all doctors work pro bono for people in the church, or even that people shouldn’t pay for services. But why can’t we figure out a way to serve one another? How sad is this? It is as Heather so eloquently put it, we are Laodecia.

    At our church, if someone is in need of psychiatric care, there is a wonderful doctor who gives his time to offer counseling one night per week to those who need it. I’m not sure if the church is paying him or not. I do know that the patient isn’t asked to pay anything.

    I don’t even know who the doctor is; I only know about him because an extended family member took advantage of the service and told me about it. They go to great lengths to protect the privacy of the parishioners who go to him because seeing a shrink is still seen as a sign of weakness among many Christians.

    Anyway, imagine if every believer who could do this did it on even a small scale. And believers created a network between churches. Mrs.C’s son could most certainly get the help he needed for a price she could afford to pay, if not free!!

    The problem is that we, the American church, are disconnected from each other. Our churches are not the communities they are supposed to be. It’s all a facade.

    Andrea has a series of links up today on the subject of church and community. I suggest we all read them, fall on our face before God and try to do better so that for the people of God, government isn’t the first place we have to turn when times get tough.

  • Terry,

    Just wanted to make a comment that ties to both the comments comparing this bill to auto insurannce mandates and the issue of the church helping to pay for medical costs, and it comes down to one word: cost.

    I agree in principal that the idea of a state mandating insurance coverage might not be mcuh different that mandating auto insurance, but the truth is that while most people pay, what, 50-150 dollars a month at most for auto insurance in most states (unless they have a heinous driving record) paying for your own insurance premium can be up to ten times that amount if you had dependents (and more if you have any pre-existing condtions). I always go back to the example of my mother, who was dropped from her insurance when my father left her a few years ago. She can eek out enough money for a 50 dollar insurance premium for her car with her income, but the amoutn she’d need to pay a month for an insurance premium, especially at her age and with some of her pre-existing conditions, would be impossible for her to do. So, that’s where I am rubbed by the mandates… some people simply WONT be able to do it, period. Which means they’ll either have to subsidize it (in which case I say why not forget the whole m ess and just extend medicaid to these people and quit payign more mone yo middle men) or people like my mom will face fines or jail. Either way, I don’t see it as ‘reform’.

    And with the church helping… again, I know for a tiny little church like I go to, who had a hard enough time keepig the basic bills going, to fork out thousands of dollars for someone’s medical bills would be an impossibility, barring a miracle. Now, i do know that some medical insurance co-op type things do exists in a few rare believing communities (like amongst some of the new monastic groups) where they pool their funds and pay that way, but even those folks will admit that if something catastrophic h appened, they probably wouldn’t have the resources to pay. It’s the sheer magnitutde of the cost of medical care, especially when there is a real problem, that makes it seemed out of the realm of possibility, I think, for most christian commiunities, to look at helping out. Not to say that God wouldn’t make a away if we did it in faith… I am sure He could and would, but I can see why it had remained a daunting concept to many believing communities.

  • Mrs C,

    I get what you are saying, and that IS very frustrating. And that’s exactly whee people like my mom are… eventhough she lives well below the poverty line when it comes to income, she doesn’t qualify for any medicaid, etc, becuase technically she owns her own home (a part of the divorce settelement after my father left her) so she’s considered to be too wealthy for the program or any of its benefits. meanwhile, she is desperate to sell the house becuse she can’t afford to keep it running, but there are no buyers in her very econoically depressed part of her state.

    So I totally know what you meanby the loophole.. where you really could use the help but can’t get any, and it sucks.

  • Hey Nicole,

    I’m pretty sure I know where you’re coming from and I really don’t have a huge issue with a socialized health care system. I’ve actually had a similar discussion with my Aussie sis in law (who has experienced one higher risk preg, non-insurance covered emergency section here and prefers their system). Via the available Aussie testing, she has recently confirmed she has celiac and some other health concerns and so I’m sure she is thankful for the care she gets. I won’t go into all the details, but she has mentioned some personal instances that indicate their system is far from ideal, though.

    I understand the Aussies DO pay pretty hefty taxes for the “free” care, and they also have options for private specialists who must be paid out of pocket.

    While she see’s nothing inherently wrong with their nationalized (she corrected me, by clarifying my use of the term “socialized” ;)) medicine, I realized later that I had inadvertently insulted her by railing against the possibility for America. On the other hand, she readily agrees that it probably wouldn’t work here.

    When I initially expressed my dismay over the Pres election results, I had listed this supposed desire of the Americans for centralized health care along with gay marriage and a few other obvious sins “we” have been told we actually want as part of this ambiguous package of “change” that was promised.

    I wouldn’t consider a tax-payer supported socialized medical system to be necessarily wrong if the majority of US citizens actually agreed on the system–and I believed that it would be handled with integrity.

    On a purely political level, my real concern is that those who have been entrusted with the oversight of our country’s affairs are proving to be untrustworthy in their motives and actions. If they have no regard for the law they are supposed to uphold and no personal standard of right and wrong other than “I think this would be a good idea”, then it is anyone’s guess where this mess will eventually go.

    While “transparency” in govt. seems to have been a great platform on which to run, it also primes people to believe that whatever official propaganda line we get fed is the truth concerning what’s happening behind closed doors.

    History repeatedly testifies to the disastrous and oppressive results of what happens when reverence for God is abandoned by a society–either willingly by the people or forcibly by the leaders. I’ve been a bit concerned about how some will insist we could never end up in the horrifying state as did Germany under Hitler. Americans are too savvy and patriotic and religious they say. Of course, those types are the ones who tend to be brutally terminated when nationalistic “great society” brainwashing fails to convert. Godless people are capable of unbelievable depths of evil and it is foolhardy to think that could never happen here.

    Today, it looks as though the US may be perched precariously on the edge of a very similar precipice. Whether we return to the Lord in brokenness or simply rally around a personality or human Constitution, freedom and “rights” is yet to be seen. I’m praying we (as a nation) choose wisely.

    You’re right, it is an exhausting discussion. One I actually was not intending to enter because there are strong emotions involved and so many unseen details of why people do or do not want socialized medical care.

    And again, you have hit an important point on the politics being a divisive issue for the church. It really should not be, and, I suppose if we lived in an openly hostile country, it wouldn’t be a concern at all. Sadly, when we have many temporal options, we tend to get distracted from things of eternal importance (like freely sharing our blessings with a needy brother or sister simply because Christ emptied Himself for us). Perhaps, we are about to have some of that distraction removed?

    Like the Israelites who continually took their easy existence for granted,
    Americans have been treading a path toward discipline for our lack of thankfulness and true dependence on Christ alone for our daily bread.

    “Lord have mercy” is indeed the position we ought to adopt.

  • Yes, Nicole, it would be daunting…hence my reference to a network among churches. I would never suggest that any one church could do this alone. But together, with God on our side? Why does it seem sound so unreasonable when looked at through such a prism? Especially since would be fulfilling our God-given, Biblically mandated duty to care for the needy in our midst. And what a witness to the world such a network would be. Talk about John 13:35 in practical action!

    We have divided ourselves along silly denominattional lines, have developed puny faith, and have relegated ourselves to nothing more than a people who assemble weekly but still turn to Caesar to meet our most pressing needs! ugh!

  • I think Teri is very wise in her statements. People need to be held accountable to the church and each other.I know that, because of our wealth,America has always been a very charitable nation and helped the poor and needy.We need to do more,though,and it needs to be up close and personal instead of just receiving a government check without any accountability.You know,it’s difficult for most of us to do what we’re supposed to do in regards to others.We all fall short.But Jesus said the poor will always be with us so I don’t think poverty can be cured,completely.I also think that it’s unacceptable that I have to give the government a higher percent than the 10% given to the church.But then again,we are reaping percussions of sins of previous generations,somewhat.Pooling resources to help those in need is an excellent idea and one that is done in many churches but then again,asking for help and attending church and being accountable is difficult for many to do. I also think that giving should be done anonomously(without church and government involvement)to help those that may feel guilt or shame in accepting help ,but that is my choice.Pastors should encourage people to do that as well.

  • Oh i agree, its something we ought to be doing. I think the divisiveness in the church, as you point out, along silly denominational lines, etc, has really led tothe terrible ineffectiveness of the church in the world in all things, and this is just a prime example.

    But again.. not to beat a dead horse or keep going around in circles, because we really do agree in principle here for the most part, but I guess, just becuase I am a Christian and believe my primary citizenship is to heaven, and believe I need to look to Him as my provider in all things, I am not totally opposed to the idea of a freely-elected government that is by the people and for the people doing things for hte greater good of the community it is elected to lead. So while I DO think that the church should be stepping up in all areas of need in the world and certinly for those within its walls, I am not theologically or philosophically opposed to the idea that as a civil society, as acommunity on that level, that we pool our resources to make certain things happen for the better good. I guess i don’t see it as looking to Ceasar neccessarily, if it is chosen by a democratic process. WE are the governement when we live in a society where we have the freedom to vote people in and out. Do they always represent us well? of course not… but who’s fault, ultimately, is that? But if my majority vote we choose as a civil society to pool our resources and make certain things happen for the good of all, I really don’t have a problem with that. i don’t see it as neccessarily counterindicative to depending on God. I think God can provide for us in that way, too. I imagine this is where weprobably part ways to some degree philosophically, and Im not treying to keep the argument going, but I did just want to say that, becuse I think there is a big difference between a democratic society wher epeople as a majority agree to something and decide to do it together, and something that is forced upon people from the top down. I guess, atthe end of the day, Im saying I don’t think community cooperation for the good of all HAS to be done solely within the confines of the church. Im sure you know what Im saying. :)

    Ok, off to my OB appontment… Im telling you being pregnant is a full time job these days.. .it seems like I have some sort of doctor appointment every day! Haha! :)

    God Bless,

    nicole

  • Yes, being pregnant is a full time job during the home stretch! Hang in there.

    I know we agree in principle, and the problem is one you have accurately described. In this country, the people are not on board and the gov’t. acted anyway, unlike what you guys have north of the border.

    In the end I do think, our eternal citizenship not withstanding, the church should be embarrassed that we are so impotent when it comes to caring for our own right here on earth. We have eternal life now and we should be living and loving like it now.

    We destroy our witness with the way we live.

  • Heather,

    Many good points there, I would be intereted to know more about how the aussie system differs from ours (we don’t have paid specialists, for instance, unless you count a chiropractor as a specialist).

    And you make a very good point, one that I make even with other Canadians, and that is that our healthcre is not “Free”. It is absolutely paid for, and yes, by our taxes. And I would say that, generally, our taxes are highter than those folks in the US, for sure, and I am sure that many Americans, again, wouldnt’ be happy about that.

    But, again… while everyone everywhere throughout history complains about taxes, obviously the average Canadian is not so overwhelmed and burdened by the tax load that there are masses of people rising up to protest, or leave the country. And our economy is doing just fine, we weathered last year’s crisis a lot better than the US and many other countries, actually, so obviously our tax rate is also not overly burdensome to free enterprise, entrepenuerialship, etc. In addition, I know many small businesses, non-profits (I worked for one of each), etc, are able to do well and exist in canada precisley because, while they do pay an employer health tax for their employees to help cover the cost of health care, they do not have to pay insurance premiums or hire HR people to organize basic insurance for their employees, which actually helps keep their business costs down. So, yeswe have higher taxes but I must say that as someone who lived in the US the first 24 years of my life and now Canada for 6, anecdotally at least it seems to me that Americans are much more likely to complain about taxes than Canadians. Don’t get me wrong, Canadians complain, too.. I mean, like I said we’ve all done it throughout time. but, if you take my husband or his father as an example, if the subject comes up, they both say hey it sucks, but its part of life and Id rather be taxed and know I have good roads, schools, and healthcare for my kids and neighbors than none at all. And my mother in law, god love her, says they ought to be taking more, and doing more. So there you go… sometimes just a different mind set. :)

    As for us turning into a Nazi-esque state… yeah, i can’t really get on the bandwagon with the idea that w are close to that as a nation, particularly becuse I really believe a lot of that rhetoric comes from anti-Obama sentiment that is an attack on him personally, or the right’s rabid attacks on anything left of center, and I can’t buy into it. now, that being said… if you study end times prophesy,the anti Christ is coming, no doubt, and my husband and I really believe he may well come in our lifetime. Anything is possible… but Im not one to be sitting on edge thinking that we’re about to have some dictatorial overthrow of our democracy.. .clearly the tea partiers wouldn’t allow that, right? :)

    Ok,I really need to go get ready for my OB appointment. Haha… great discussion, and I think the most important thing we agree on is that this should NOT be a divisive issue in the church. I really don’t want to keep sounding like Im being a downer on the US, I love my country of birth, but I really must say that, again, I prefer the canadian church in that for the most part politics are simply NOT nearly the issue that they arein the US, people are all over the spectrum politically and it just is not the cause of division that we see in the church in the states. that is something we are very thanful for, but that really comes down toa different political climate in general in Canada,and certainly no indication of canadian believers being more ‘righteous’ or anything like that.

    Lord have mercy, indeeed. :)

  • Well, looks as though you brought out two very important points.

    Concerning taxes: Jesus said to pay ‘em.

    He didn’t say anything about whether it was fair or right or whether we agree with how they’re being used. He did say this during a time when the people had really no say in how the govt treated them and I would go back again to saying that if our elected leaders are mishandling their responsibility, our law places the holding to account in the hands of the people. We have legal recourse and a responsibility to hold our leadership up to the demands of our nation’s law.

    If the law of our country is overthrown in spite of legal and ethical attempts to uphold it, then we must accept the new form of govt which is handed to us. God often has brought in oppressive, pagan government as a form of discipline when His people have turned aside from truth.

    Concerning complaint:

    Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world… Philippians 2:14-15

    There really is no answer to that except “Okay, Lord, strengthen me so that I may bring honor instead of shame to the precious name of Jesus Christ”.

    Concerning Obama-haters:

    I’m not wild about him and his like being “in charge” but know they are only there because God has allowed it. And the Lord is capable of turning the kings hand in His hand.

    1 Timothy 2 addresses this situation perfectly:

    First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men,
    for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.
    This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
    who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    Again, what can we say but “Yes Lord! I will pray faithfully for the breaking and conversion of souls of those who are leading our country–even if it means serious hardship for myself, I truly do want those people to come to know Christ as Lord and Savior”

    Yeah. Dispensational prophecy plays out that we are looking for Antichrist to emerge at any moment. Other eschatologies read differently. I’m still working through the details of these systems. Regardless of which one is right, we are all required to live on a day to day basis–trusting in God’s goodness and provision. Obeying as He directs. Loving those around us. Praying for His will to be accomplished.

    Really, there is not much else we CAN do.

  • eh. Guess I added a third point (or fourth, if you count my antichrist remark).

    On a side note, has anyone else noticed what a fragile global society we actually have built for ourselves?

    Pretty much everything from banking to phone connection to military movement to food distribution is reliant on electronics and satellite communication.

    If something took out our satellite systems, most of us would be reduced to living a pre 1800’s existence. Many communities would be isolated and people would have to learn to rely on each other in order to survive.

  • Most cities have ministerial alliances which help people regardless of denomination or even if they don’t go to church. These alliances help run food pantries and things like that. Many churches give to womens’ shelters or food pantries, etc., that can be used by anybody whether they go to church or not. I’ve never know of any church that refused to help some needy person, if they were able to help, because they were not of a certain denomination, or because they were not church goers. I have never in my life ever heard of any church saying, “We won’t give you money because you are not Catholic/Baptist/Whatever,” have you?

    I think churches do encourage anonymous help — at least the ones I’ve been in have encouraged that.

    Oh, and churches get scammed, too, just like Welfare does. Everybody in the ministerial alliance knows who the “frequent fliers” are — those able-bodied persons who refuse to work, but live off of churches. They go from church to church throughout the city — usually sending in their wives while they wait outside in the car. It is very sad.

    Also, has anybody ever thought of requiring these para-church organizations to help the poor, especially poor Christians? Many Christians refuse to tithe to their churches for a variety of reasons (if you don’t think your church is worthy to tithe to, you shouldn’t be going there), but send the money to para-church organizations instead.

    If the para-church organizations have taken the place of the church, then they should do the duty of the church in helping the poor in the same way that people think churches should.

  • I’m amazed. Really. I could care LESS about the dollar amount spent on the bill and who pays for it. To me, its about the very person of Christ. By getting up and arms and worrying about the dollar bill, people have become Martha’s instead of Marys. Mine, mine, mine, mine give me mine and let me keep it alllllll…….. yeah well, this is the reason why we are where we are.

    My husband is a retired Marine, I was in the Army AND served as deputy in my home town. We sacrificed our lives for our country and our community. We pay taxes and have supported our country in ways many ladies on this blog could or would never do. See how freedom works? You choose to stay home safe and cozy and knocking this government and that government yet have YOU personally sacrificed anything for that magical word “freedom?” What have you done to earn freedom? What have you given? Some taxes? Well, sorry, it wasnt taxes that fought the Revolution.

    I defy any person to tell me that me and mine dont deserve health care coverage. My life and the life of my family cant and WONT be given a dollar value. I dont care what your income is.

    I’m sorry Terry but when I read some of this stuff it boils my blood. I dont care about the biblical woman hood blah blah blah… I care about my friends and loved ones being able to have the care they need and deserve when they need to be seen. I’m a Christian in the most basic form. I try to help my neighbors carry their burden, to give them ease and to let them know they are worthy and valuable and deserving, not because of how much money they put into IRS but because they are fellow human beings whom Christ commanded us to love. Do any of you know what angels you entertain? Maybe its that person whom you’ve put down as being lazy and undeserving…

    Until anyone of you walk in anothers shoes you cannot possibly know or understand how hard that person is trying to better their situation BUT for the so called conservative Christian who cant see the sufferings of her fellow man because she’s focused on a dollar bill. What you have isnt yours, its GOD’s. ALL of it. Try to hold onto it all you want. Dont think God cant get it back, one way or another.

    Does that make me a socialist? I guess so. I want everyone who needs to have their eyes checked, teeth fixed and diabetes monitored to be able to do that. Yes, the poor are always with us but that does not excuse us from helping them.

    Again, I apologize for my tirade Terry but I feel righteously angry.

    Its not about us, its about GOD. Do any of you REALLY think that God doesnt have a hand in this? Do you REALLY think this isnt part of his plan? Do you think that ranting and raving and tossing numbers and figures out means anything to God?

    If you do, then you really dont know him.

  • No apologies, necessary,Tracy. I get where you’re coming from and I hope you read the post at the top of the blog.

    It would be great if the dollar amounts didn’t matter. If our country wasn’t in the financial mess it’s in. I want everyone to get the care they need.
    But the reality is, Tracy, that the money simply isn’t there. If we hadn’t spent billions on senseless war, we might be in better shape, but just wanting everyone to be able to get care doesn’t magically make it so.

    Sadly, I believe that in a very few years, we are all going to see that this is a moot point. As much as the prospect frightens me in my humanity, I believe this country is heading for another depression, and a serious one. In my spirit, I know God will care for his people. I try not to mention my belief that this will happen because I hate to be Miss Doom ‘n’ Gloom.

    I thank you for your family’s service to this country. Yes, you deserve care and I want to see people have what they need. I’m sorry if it seems I am not a Christian, but the Bible has plenty to say about money- how we manage it personally, and how governments distribute it.

    I know you didn’t mean to say that I’m not a believer, but I still felt the need to defend myself. We live in the real world, and just decreeing properity for everyone won’t work. The money has to be there for it to happen.

    America is in debt. It’s people are in debt. You can’t write a check from an overdrawn account. If we could raise taxes and get people care, then maybe. but we are so far in debt that we can’t raise enough taxes to do it that way.

    History will speak fot itself. For our part, we are trying to prepare as best we can for what’s ahead.

  • I am glad you realized I said you werent a Christian! :o)

    Terry, we have always been in debt and will continue to be in debt.

    I dont do the future. I focus on today. Thats whats promised to me. Trust me, I know what COULD happen and what MIGHT happen but right now is now. We’ve had our own shares of challenges and what its taught me is to trust HIM. Nothing else. We do what we are called to do and leave it in God’s hands. To do otherwise is to tell God what he needs to do.

    True, it cant be magically taken away but let me ask you this, if it were you and yours, personally affected, where would you be, what would you think? This isnt homeowners or car insurance Terry, this is about who determines another quality of life when it comes to health care? I have three children who are not covered right now. This bill allows my hubby to place them back on our policy. I say THANK YOU JESUS.

    If history has told us anything Terry, its that life is revolutionary and reactionary. We revolve around and come back to the same point, then we react. This country has been in a depression but God had a hand in it, didnt he? When it was time for us to stop wandering in the desert the economy gained strength. It happened before and it will happen again.

    This country is no longer a Christian nation and the sooner we see that the better. We cannot expect a nonChristian nation to think and act biblically. It wont happen.

    Personally, I pray and leave it to God. I’m not a stupid person or ill informed. I just understand that this is not my battle or my war. I’ll have faith in God to take care of me and mine and others and I will continue to pray HIS will be done and my will be aligned with him.

  • Mary Ann since you can not comment without insulting others I have nothing further to say to you.

  • Tracy, I don’t expect you to read all the comments, who has time for that? But I did say that there were a few good things in this bill. The fact that you can cover your kids is one of them.

    If only our legislators could do what needs to be done and stop. But there is a lot of other stuff tucked in here as well.

    You’re right that this isn’t a Christian nation, and I don’t expect it to operate as such.

    As to the future, I don’t dwell on it. I don’t walk around in a constant state of panic. Really. I do believe that we are to do as the Bible says and consider the ant,who prepares for winter in the springtime. To see the handwriting on the wall and live as if we don’t seems foolish to us. There is such a wealth of wisdom for daily living in the Scriptures, you know?

    I know you weren’t trying to say I wasn’t a Christian but you came down pretty hard on me. Ultimately, my position is that the huge need among us is an indictment of the church. We live like kings compared to most of the world, and still we grasp for more. If we had been giving what we were consuming, there would be so much less need- in the church and out!

  • Terry, actually it wasnt you that I was referring to although there does seem to be gloom and doom, but its your blog! :o) and I have freedom of choice to read it until you block me!

    No, I was referring to anything anyone who sits on their pedestals complaining yet not contributing. Spewing out nonsense and fearmongering. Its not Christlike.

    There is nothing wrong with preparing for tomorrow. I do by paying bills, buying groceries, making plans for our children in the event of our death and by trying to prepare for a retirement. BUT I just wont add another gray hair to my lovely head by getting worked up about something that we have little control over. I mean really, do we have control over this? I can pray and let my congressman know how I feel and then I go about my business. They have to answer for what they do just like I do. With great responsibility comes great accountability.

    One more thing, if I’m going to be against any form of governmental interference then I have to remember not to accept ANYTHING from said government, if we are going to get technical about it, if we arent going to accept “handouts” then plan on living off the grid. Electricity is socialism, dont drive, money spent on gasoline goes back into the government in one way or another. Dont drive, the roads are maintained by the state (government) turn your television off cause FCC (FEDERAL) has a hand in your broadband, which brings me to the computer. Time to shut it off.

    Government is government, they do what they do. I do what I do. I pray.

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