I’ve been meaning to write a post or two about health care but my own personal thoughts have been so jumbled as I’ve sought to process some information amidst all the heckling, shouting, screaming, finger pointing, and demonizing.
While I have these forming thoughts, I also have questions [perhaps like many of you]:
What did you think of President Obama’s speech?
Did it clarify your questions and assuage any concerns?
Health care reform: What should we do? How does our lens as Christ followers inform that decision?
Here are some highlights of President Obama’s speech [cnn article]:
“First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have. What this plan will do is to make the insurance you have work better for you. Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime. We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick. And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies – because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives.”
“My health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a “government takeover” of the entire health care system. As proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to choose a publicly-sponsored insurance option, administered by the government just like Medicaid or Medicare. So let me set the record straight. My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition.”
“Under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance – just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. Likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers. There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage, and 95% of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements. But we cannot have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees. “
“I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. They provide a legitimate service, and employ a lot of our friends and neighbors. I just want to hold them accountable. The insurance reforms that I’ve already mentioned would do just that. But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear – it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance.”
Saw this video several weeks ago and thought it provided a good general overview of some of the issues at hand.
I think it’s time we move beyond vilifying and demonizing one another as people who monopolize compassion or completely lack it. No one wants anyone to die or to go broke. But we have a system that can be improved, right?
My perspective is simple [while I acknowledge the situation is complex and the solutions even more so]. As a country and government, I don’t believe we have to provide universal health care. While I personally acknowledge it is a moral issue from my worldview, I have to understand that people have fundamentally different views about the role and purposes of government.
So, while we don’t have to, it is amazing to consider that as a country and as the people of this country…
We can do this.
We don’t have to but we get to. Doesn’t this contribute to our collective idea of liberties and the pursuit of happiness?