Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thinking About Health Care

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the recently enacted comprehensive health care reform bill or whatever it’s called. The most recent news is that a federal judge has ruled a part of the bill unconstitutional – that part being the requirement that everyone buy health care insurance.

In theory, and at first glance, mandatory health insurance might seem like a good idea; after all, most doctors, physician groups, and hospitals provide the services that they do with the aim of making money. If everyone has health insurance then doctors, clinics and hospitals have a better chance of getting paid.

But our current laws say that sick people have to be treated regardless of ability to pay. I agree that we should show compassion, and sick people should be cared for. But lately a lot of those businesses that provide the care have found it necessary to shut their doors because they can no longer afford to provide services without getting paid. People without insurance might use local emergency rooms for non-life-threatening reasons, and those charges often have to be written off. At some point it doesn’t make sense for for-profit organizations to continue operating at a loss, and so they go out of business, and no one receives the needed care.

There may be a few cold-hearted people out there who would be comfortable with telling someone that there is no medical care available until they show proof of insurance or ability to pay. That wouldn’t be me.

Maybe we could ask people who don’t want to buy health insurance to sign a statement agreeing to not get a disease or have medical problems that cost more than they can afford. Or we could ask them to waive their right to future medical care in lieu of having insurance.

Maybe we could raise taxes to pay for keeping hospitals open, and anyone who could prove they had paid taxes during the previous year would be eligible for medical care.

And a recent article by Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press shows that even our top politicians have trouble making up their minds on how to handle this controversial issue. According to the article, presidential hopeful Barack Obama was against forcing people to get health insurance. But we all know that mandatory insurance is a key feature of the Bill that President Barack Obama recently signed into law.

Even if the politicians want to claim that we’re not a Christian nation, we’re still a nation that claims many Christians as citizens and some of us might appreciate Jesus’ response when he was asked “When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?” And the King replied “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m hoping somebody finds it soon, before we all get too sick to debate the issue

What thinkest thou?


  1. In formulating a response to your question, I came across this map showing which countries have and don't have some sort of government healthcare plan.

    When you look at this map, I think the more important question to ask is: WHY doesn't America?

  2. sorry the link I tried to put in the comment didn't work. Here it is: