There. I’ve said it. I’m sure that I’m going to get blasted for this one. (unfriend) Okay, hold on…let me put on my hard hat and prepare to receive my beating from all of my conservative friends.
Call me a commie or liberal or whatever else you want to throw at me. Tell me the “facts” from Faux News, Rush and Glenn and anyone else who supports the notion that providing health insurance is one of the signs of the coming apocalypse and that Obama was written about in the book of Revelations. It doesn’t matter that I cite facts from independent news organizations such as FactCheck.org (run by the Annenberg Foundation that is somehow connected to President Obama’s terrorist friend, Bill Ayers) or Politifact a “project of the St. Petersburg Times to help you find the truth in American politics.” (now Florida’s a red state so I wouldn’t THINK anyone would have problems with their research, but I’m sure I’m wrong).
So instead of looking at this from a political point of view, let’s look at universal health insurance from a Christian point of view. Oh, now I’ve done it–mixing politics and religion. But I don’t want this to be a political issue. I want us to stop and consider how Jesus would have handled universal health insurance. The proverbial “What Would Jesus Do” conundrum.
Let’s look at the works of Jesus. No one can argue that he was part of the status quo. He didn’t agree with the leaders of his day and, as we know, he purposely challenged the leaders with doing what was/is right. Don’t get all soap-boxy on me and claim I’m saying that Jesus was a Democrat. Quite frankly, I think Jesus would have laughed at any political categorization of himself and would have likely responded with something similar to “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:20-21).
Matthew 14:13-15 says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” I don’t think that he asked to see their insurance card, or asked about their deductible, or questioned if it was a pre-existing condition. As a matter of fact, he embraced their pre-existing condition. He had compassion and healed them.
In fact, Jesus commands his disciples to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-9). I think, according to a friend of mine, that this is either communism or socialism. But it certainly can’t be considered Christian. Oh, wait…it is.
I seriously do not understand the so called “compassionate conservatives” claim that we are ruining our country by considering universal health care. Every other industrialized country manages to provide health care for its citizens. Are they perfect? No. But not many things are perfect. Are there going to be instances where people die because they don’t meet so-called “established guidelines of care?” Probably. But without health insurance people die every day in America. From VERY curable diseases. And often, because they waited so long to get the care they needed, it ends up costing taxpayers A LOT MORE than if the person had been able to walk into a clinic and get the care before it became so expensive.
I also hate the argument that, “if our health care system is so broken, how come leaders of every other country come to America for treatment?” This is ridiculous–we go to other countries to get care that we cannot get here. We buy drugs from Canada; we get surgery in Europe; we go to South America for experimental treatment. People go where they need to go to get the care they need. We do have some of the finest hospitals and doctors in the world. We also have some of the worst insurance. And as for the claim that we have “perfect health care?” Well, according to the CIA, the US life expectancy rate is ranked 50. We are worse than Bosnia.
I just don’t understand how so many people believe we shouldn’t offer health insurance to everyone. I don’t understand how so many people scream that the poor (or middle class who cannot afford health insurance and are not offered any by their employer) are undeserving of assistance. How can people scream, “If you’ve caused yourself to be on a bad path, it is your own darn fault and you pick yourself up and deal with it.” Where is the compassion? I know, I know, there are people out there who cheat the system, who get things they don’t deserve, who only want a hand out and not a hand up. You know what? That isn’t my problem. God didn’t tell me that I only have to help those who truly need help. Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2).
Just as those who are against universal health insurance claim that people will abuse the system and that they personally know of people who already do abuse the system, I can cite stories of people who need care, who need medical help and cannot get it because they don’t have insurance. The system is abusing them. Where is the outrage in that? They cannot even get private insurance because they cannot afford it (or because they have a pre-existing condition). They cannot get a job because they are sick or unable to work because of their medical condition. Please explain to me what these people are supposed to do? Are we supposed to ignore them and hope that they will go away?
I do not propose that providing universal health insurance will be easy. I don’t even propose that it will be cheap. And I’m not going to argue about whether or not we can make it affordable–that’s why I elect people who are much smarter than me. Is it going to cost us more? Probably. But it will cost us much more in the long run if we turn our backs on those in need. Let me leave you with this thought, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45).