A recent mini-movement on facebook has people posting this as their status: Name “thinks that no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day”
Most people agree with this statement. The question is, what are we going to do about it? Some believe there needs to be some form of government intervention to prevent people from dying due to lack of health care. For others, the idea of the government being asked to sort out the mess is like asking a pig to clean up your room. It’s not going to be helpful, and will probably make things worse.
People that want the government to fix the health care problem are not socialists. They do not want to wage class warfare or kill your grandmother. People that want the government to stay out of it are not heartless. They are not greedy, corporate thugs, hording all the medicine so that poor children will die.
There is however, a great disconnect that few on either side recognize. Those that want the government to stay out of health care often make the argument that the government is not effective or efficient. They resent the idea that BIG GOV will come in and make decisions for their lives and their money.
They want to trust competition and the market to regulate health care. They want private charities, churches and philanthropists to be freed of burdensome taxes so that they may help those in need. I read on some message board that, “Jesus never told me to give away other people’s money.”
On the other side, people that want the government to do something do not trust the goodness of corporations. They feel that health care has spun out of control becaue of greed and fiscal iresponsibility, and to think that same group will somehow reform a wildly profitable system is crazy. They feel that it is the role of government to take care of those that cannot take care of themselves, and that those that benefit most from the systems in place in our society should bear the brunt of the cost.
And here’s the disconnect. Many that feel that government cannot be trusted to reform health care have no problem trusting government to defend our borders. They are all-too-ready to have the government tell people who they should marry, what can be on their TV, and tell women if they can have a safe abortion.
Likewise, those that trust the government to reform healthcare also want the government to get out of their bedrooms and churches.
Certainly there are those that break these lines, but there is a disconnect, and there are inconsistencies on both sides of the debate that few want to acknowledge.
Liberals trust the government to help take care of the sick and the poor, but do not trust the government to regulate “morality” issues. Conservatives trust the government to regulate “morality” issues, but want government to stay out of health care and the economy. (I put morality in quotes because I believe all of these issues are about morality, not just the ones that have to do with sex and gender.)
I’m not sure of what the implications of this are, but I cannot help but feel if more people at least understood and acknowledged their own inconsistencies, they would not be so quick to point out others’.
It seems like all can agree that sick kids should get medicine, abortions need to be reduced, and lives need to be defended from invaders and terrorists. The question is how can we do those things most effectively? That is why this conversation and debate can be so good. Maybe we can come up with some answers.
Unfortunately, the debate has been more about shouting, rumors, lies, and fear. Above all, it seems as if many are out simply to win, and be right, instead of doing what is right. If the debate were about humility, compromise, questions, compassion and honesty, we might get somewhere. I’m not sure if we are any closer to an answer now then we were three months ago.
In the meantime, there is another sick kid not getting medicine. There is another single Mom dying slowly of a disease that could be cured. This nation’s life expectancy is among the lowest of industrialized countries and our infant mortality is among the highest.
In the end, I cannot help but think that no, Jesus might not have told me to give away other people’s money. But the prophets told me something very simple. Kings and kingdoms are judged on one criteria: How do you take care of your children and widows? It’s a question not enough people are asking.