It’s Easy to Be Against Healthcare reform When You Have Insurance


I have been thinking for some time of giving some of my views about the current debate on healthcare reform in spite of the fact that I usually try to steer away from political issues.  Then yesterday when I was uploading Kathy Escobar’s post I visited her blog and was delighted to see that the spirited discussion that is already going on about healthcare.  I realized too that Kathy expressed most of my sentiments and so I did not really need to add my own article.

i am strongly and adamantly in support of universal health care.  i know some of you are cringing right now and that’s fine, we will agree to disagree.  we live in one of the wealthiest, most-educated, most christianized, supposedly most sophisticated nations in the world and 46 million people in this country do not have health insurance and access to proper health care.  i believe that is wrong. Read the entire article here.

Having trained as a medical doctor and worked in countries with both socialized and privatized healthcare I am very aware of the pros and cons on both sides.  But I must confess that I have never worked in another country where people are afraid of going bankrupt because they get sick.  Evidently in the US half of all bankruptcies are due to illness.   Nor have I been in a country that thinks it has the  best health care system in the world yet allows eighteen thousand people to die each year because they are uninsured.  And the US has the highest infant mortality of any Western nation.  These factors alone give me cause for concern so I am delighted to see that other far more able voices than mine are being raised about this issue.

Kathy’s article is part of a synchroblog that ran through August.  Here are some of the other articles which as you can see don’t all express the same viewpoint.

12 Responses

  1. I am also in favor or helthcare reform and that the least among us may receive all proper and necessary medical treatment without regard to what they can afford.
    On the other hand, I see a government that can’t even run a cash for clunkers program. (Many dealers are in financial hardship waiting for the allocated, promised money), and when was the last time you stood in line at the DMV? In fact, other than the tyranical military, can you think of any government program that has run well? I can’t, and they have all cost substantially more than originally projected to where medicade and medicare are on the verge of bankruptcy! We should do this to the whole country? I am sorry, but the cost of universal healthcare in the current proposals: is a burden I do not want to see on the backs of my children and grandchildren. Nevermind what the actual cost will turn out to be. (Forgive me for being selfish, but I care about my children, grandchildren, and their future).
    So: I am in favor of healthcare reform (it needs it badly) but what I see being proposed in Washington is a federal take over of the helathcare industry and at an enormous cost — and that has nothing to do with reform.
    Again, I apologize, but as I age I am not looking forward to standing in line at the UHC (Universal Health Care) office and waiting for my clunker healthcare.

    • I agree that healthcare reform should not be a burden but then private healthcare is a huge burden too. that is why the US spends twice as much on healthcare as any other country. And it seems that this is a burden that more and more people are unable to cope with. The increase in health care premiums climbs every year and it is becoming impossible for many people to continue. And the burden of bankruptcy for those who have health care but cannot afford the copays for a chronic illness is a huge burden that more and more are facing…. and often it is a burden that is being shared with children and grandchildren who are helping to pay for the healthcare costs.
      there is no perfect system and both public and private healthcare systems around the world are in trouble but part of the reason for that is litigation and huge administrative costs of private systems.

  2. Thank you for this fantastic post. I’ve just come across your blog and I’m actually from Seattle originally but have lived in England for the last 4 years, so have experienced both forms of healthcare. Having been away from the US for the past seven years, I’m always in awe of how so many people genuinely fear government programs. People list the DMV as an example of the government not being able to run anything, but what about public schools, universities and libraries? And if the US put half as much time and money into its healthcare system as into its miliatary then perhaps then we would really have the best healthcare in the world.

    I really do wonder how we can trust insurance companies more than the government we have elected to provide for us.

    Anyway, lots could be said for healthcare reform, but thanks for this great post.

  3. Alisha,
    Thanks I agree with you. I think that all of us have selective hearing as it were when trying to work out what government does well and what it does not. And believing insurance companies – especially those who are in it for profit have our best interests at heart seems irrational to me. One of the reasons that healthcare in the US is so expensive is because all of the insurance systems have to have every bit of equipment so that they can be competitive with everyone else. And that means that makes it a lot more expensive.
    There has been quite a bit of discussion where this article is posted on facebook. I wish that i could repeat it here. lots of comments from overseas and people who are confused by the US fear of government programs. Very interesting.

  4. I am confused by the whole debate going on in the USofA, as a belgian. In don’t understand what’s wrong with socialism (we have them in our government most of the time, and I like them a lot more than the so-called liberal party) or why Obama would be a socialist…

    We have health care through different ‘mutualiteiten’ here (the catholic one, the socialist one, the neutral one, etc… they work for the government in some kind of way, but don’t ask me to explain, especially not in english) who are not meant to make profit for themselves, but just to do their job. And it is not perfect, but it works… Still some will slip through the holes of the net, but it works for most people. People are not becoming poor when they get sick. I didn’t even believe that such a thing could be possible in a civilised country before I learned about how it works in the USA…

    Now, as an almost Christian anarchist, I don’t trust the government that much. But the last thing I would trust with such a thing as healthcare is companies whose purpose is to make money. On the other hand, as a christian I think we should take care for each other, and if we would live up to not the ‘the protestant work ethic’ and individualism, but to the real ‘christian work ethic’ of Eph 4:28 we’d need none of both. But that’s theory I’m affraid…

    shalom

    Bram

    • Bram,
      As an Australian living in the US I don’t understand the intense fear of socialism either. Christian mutual concern as expressed in the Bible certainly has many of the marks of what in this country is called socialism – which it seems to me has been redefined as concern for the common good rather than just concern about the government taking over

  5. It’s very interesting to me, Christine … I’m very much in favor reforming our health care system. But I’m not so much in favor of the current bill. My main issue with it is that it does little to restrain the current greed that is exhibited by private insurance and the pharmaceutical industries. I don’t believe that those industries should properly be privately run, nor should they be profit-making entities. Making those two changes would help a lot of the current problems while assuaging the fears of many. Of course, it would take a long time to make the shift and I’m not cognizant enough of how such things work to know how to make that shift either.

    We have plenty of examples of government organized entities which are quite efficient and well run. I’m thinking here of our energy grid (electric, natural gas and other utilities). Our police, fire and emergency systems are very efficient and are not privately held nor are they profit-making entities.

    I am really quite dismayed to see the polarization of this discussion and debate. There’s no reason for it. What’s appealing to me is when I hear how other countries have debated similar issues (South Africa for example) and were able to maintain civil discourse during the whole discussion without demonizing other parties or officials. That is not helpful to the country or the people in it … namely ourselves. As my mother used to say, “It’s cutting our nose off to spite our face.”

    • Sonya I agree with you wholeheartedly – how we can allow healthcare insurance to be a for profit venture I am not sure and the polarization and demonization that goes on particularly amongst Christians really appalls me. But I think those who oppose reform love to feed the polarization so that no serious change happens to a system they profit from big time.

  6. This is very encouraging. I attended three health care forums in Rhode Island, and went face to face with people who told me in one breath that they were Christian, and in the next that people who made ‘bad choices’ would just have to suffer the consequences.
    The ‘bad choice’ was being unable to afford, or to get, medical insurance.
    I’m a nurse, and I only want to do my job. I resent all the time I waste filling out forms for insurance, making calls to see what’s covered. It’s much worse for doctors. The profit motive is a wrench in the system.
    I hope that the President will get us a public option. It’s second best to single-payer, but without competition the insurance corporations will continue to skim off profits and interfere with health care.

  7. […] ‘bad choices’ could just go ahead and die–well I find this really refreshing. Godspace takes the point of view that it’s contrary to Christian values to deny health care to the […]

  8. Amen.

    As an American, born and raised, I can tell you that a large part of the fear of Socialism is that people don’t know what they’re talking about. A lot of Americans can’t tell the difference between the terms Socialist, Communist, Fascist, or even Nazi. (Of course, there are certain voices who are fostering the idea that they’re all the same thing!)

    For my own part, I’ve outgrown my fear of Socialism. I had to choose between believing that we should take care of “the least of these” rather than practice social Darwinism.

  9. Christine,

    Tony Jones also wrote on the subject back in July and hit a couple of very interesting points about the potential for a public option in health care to free those with entrepreneurial instincts and other independent/self-employed types to do what they do best, which could result in economic benefit for the nation as a whole.

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2009/07/whats-a-christian-to-think-abo.html

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