Jesus and Healthcare

One common claim I hear from some liberal theologians, thinkers, and politicians is Jesus supported universal healthcare.

Somehow, Jesus healing people gets equated with universal healthcare insurance. I’m never sure how that leap is made.

If those liberals actually believed in Jesus’ healthcare methods and practiced them, I might be more convinced of their arguments.

As it is, even if I grant the premise that Jesus supported universal healthcare coverage because he healed people, it is still an inaccurate statement because Jesus’ plan was not universal.

There are two very loud passages that show this: John 5 and Acts 3. In John 5, Jesus walked past all kinds of sick people to heal one then walked past all the sick again to leave. In Acts 3, the lame man at the gate was older, so Jesus would have passed by this man.

I am not trying to make light of healthcare and the deep brokenness of this system. This current debate is something I have followed since the election of Barack Obama and conservatives and liberals alike have only left me utterly frustrated.

What I do wish to point out is that Jesus will frustrate any theology. You can’t line Jesus up and say, “See! He’s a liberal!” Nor can you line him up and say, “See! He’s a conservative!”

Jesus will frustrate both sides if you are honest in your assessment of Jesus.

I get frustrated as well. Jesus just won’t fit in my box!

But that is the Jesus that is mean and wild, which will not fit our nice pictures of Jesus “meek and mild.”

Healthcare again… and yeah, I know, no one cares

The rolling out of the “Affordable” healthcare act continues to go unnoticed, and it continues to be predicted by the most optimistic of supporters as a near disaster.

David Brooks points out a few of the messes HERE, and includes this conclusion from experts in the field, including supporters of Obama:

They predict Obamacare will collapse and do serious damage to the underlying health system.

Serious damage.

I am no expert by any stretch of the definition, but I saw this coming from the outset.

Sure, we’ll adjust to a “new normal,” but that new normal will still include millions of people (like myself) who have no options for affordable healthcare, and we’ll only end up paying huge fines to NOT have healthcare. That’s a scenario that is worse than my current situation.

Millions of people who are barely scraping by, trying to piece together part time jobs to afford living will have more out of pocket expenses. They will have to have a couple of more part time jobs because the part time jobs they have now will cut their hours to avoid offering healthcare options to those working over 30 hours a week.

Costs of healthcare and delivering it will continue to go up, millions will continue to be without healthcare…

I know, I know…

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sorry to bore you.

 

Some of the Issue of “Affordable” Healthcare

It’s too bad this thing gets so close to rolling out before people actually start talking about what I’ve known for three years.

1. This is NOT affordable.

2. This will NOT help me (and many others in the middle class) get healthcare, but we will paying MORE… for nothing.

3. This will cause the working poor MORE problems.

Let’s be clear (yet again). I am not in favor of what we have, but what we are headed into will only turn out worse for millions of people like me.

Here are some of the issues:

Boost insurance costs. Officially the “Affordable Care Act,” ObamaCare promised to lower premiums for families. But regulators decided to impose a 3.5% surcharge on insurance plans sold through federally run exchanges. There’s also a $63 fee for every person covered by employers. And the law adds a “premium tax” that will require insurers to pay more than $100 billion over the next decade. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation expects insurers to simply pass this tax onto individuals and small businesses, boosting premiums another 2.5%.

Push millions off employer coverage. In February, the Congressional Budget Office said that 7 million will likely lose their employer coverage thanks to ObamaCare — nearly twice its previous estimate. That number could be as high as 20 million, the CBO says.

Cause premiums to skyrocket. In December, state insurance commissioners warned Obama administration officials that the law’s market regulations would likely cause “rate shocks,” particularly for younger, healthier people forced by ObamaCare to subsidize premiums for those who are older and sicker.

“We are very concerned about what will happen if essentially there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

That same month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said ObamaCare will likely cause premiums to double for some small businesses and individuals.

And a more recent survey of insurers in five major cities by the American Action Forum found they expect premiums to climb an average 169%.

“Affordable” Healthcare Act

Finally! A piece that honestly looks at what the legislation does and doesn’t do!

I am NOT the guy who says, “Hey, we have a great healthcare system as it is.” I don’t. I am someone who fits right in that gap of 24 million people who STILL won’t have “affordable” health insurance even if this legislation is enacted.

I AM one of those folks who has several things not in my favor:

1. I am not wealthy, so I can’t buy off a politician.

2. I am not “poor,” which would help me get some sort of tax credit to pay for really bad coverage.

3. I do not work for a large corporation that is able to take advantage of decent pricing to provide health insurance.

4. I am part of a denomination that is “Creationist” in its Genesis 1 theology, but Darwinian in its policies to help each other. (In other words, they take a “live and let live” approach to caring for their ministers.)

But what has been hidden from Americans through this mess is that this act doesn’t solve any issues, really. We can say, “Well, it helps more than before.” What a nice feeling! We can all feel good and go home now. But, if it helps the numbers go from 30 million uninsured to 24 million uninsured, guess what? There are still 24 million uninsured.

If you can’t tell, I’m a bit passionate about this subject.

Yet, I’m not in the camp of either liberals or conservatives. I’m in the camp that says, “The whole system needs a fresh overhaul,” and no one wants to be in that camp. If you’re in that camp you realize that everyone has to give up something and in our country, no one wants to give up anything. 

We are a long way from a solution on this matter. We are a long way from true solutions on a lot of matters because no one, and YES, I mean no one, is willing to think long term anymore. We are selfish, short-term thinkers and feelers. Mostly feelers. Not many thinkers.

You would think it would warrant a call to your congressman, but unless you’ve forked over some serious money for their re-election campaign, they aren’t listening, either.

My name is Mr. Smith and I’m running for president.

Healthcare (non)Reform

This is yet another gripe on healthcare (non)reform.

Let us review so I can properly tick off my conservative AND liberal friends:

1. I am not for repealing healthcare reform back to what we have. What have is lousy. If you need examples, I am a living one. So are other members of my family. Don’t get me started! ;)

2. I am FOR working harder to accomplish something far better than what is about to go into play.

3. I am NOT for universal healthcare. Not single payer. The examples in Europe that everyone touts are not the panacea we make them out to be. (For instance, in Germany just the healthcare portion of their income tax is 15% per person. That is what Merkel is proposing to help pay for a system that is being crushed by deficit spending. Add other income tax on top of that and it’s a disaster.)

But what gets my blood boiling today is seeing how bigger companies are beginning to respond to the current (non)reform and what that will mean for me and my family.

I have a friend who works at a major corporation. They are switching all of their healthcare options to HSAs next year. Why? Because the (non)reform plan is going to tax the “cadillac” plans. 3M is going to change how they give benefits to their retirees.

More companies will be making the same moves.

Why? Because they don’t want to fork over the taxes and there is no need to make them. They are big enough to shift the game.

I am NOT saying we tax the major corporations anyway. I am attempting to point out a major flaw in the current (non)reform plan. It’s this: When you try to tax one part of the plan to pay for another part of the plan it blows up. You can’t tie your revenue source to a part of your plan you want people to NOT be involved in! Why does the government keep trying this?!?!

In my city we have a great bus system. Yet, during the time when gas prices were $4 a gallon they lost money while ridership was up. Why? Because their main source of revenue is tied to the gas tax. So here is a system that is trying to get people off the road, but their main revenue stream depends on people being ON the road. Go figure.

So, let’s review.

The healthcare (non)reforms wants everyone in. To do that they are going to form these “exchanges” so they can come up with “affordable” plans for people like me who can’t afford anything right now. How will they make it affordable? They will subsidize it. How will they subsidize it? By taxing “cadillac” plans that major corporations use for their employees.

EXCEPT… the major corporations are now figuring ways to dump major portions of those “cadillac” plans. The result? I still won’t find an affordable plan and I will be FORCED into a system that will cost me MORE money!

So, what are Republicans running on this fall? They promise to repeal the current plan. Their plan? The mantra of “We have the best healthcare system in the world.”

Democrats are trying to tout how good this plan is.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… I’m working a full time gig, two part-time gigs, with my wife working part-time, and no place to find affordable health insurance. And I’m “middle class.” Oh, and I live in a state that is about to elect a governor who’s only plan for raising revenue is raising income taxes.

Let the good times roll!

Healthcare Reform, the Kansas Jayhawks, and the Apocalypse

All was not lost on the weekend. Joe Mauer signed a long-term deal with the Twins. We’re pretty happy about that.

That came hours before the final vote on healthcare “reform,” so it helped soften that blow.

Couple that with the crushing defeat of the Kansas Jayhawks  in the NCAA tournament, and, well, it’s a wonder the Apocalypse didn’t sweep us all away!

So, we have this new healthcare bill. It does not signal the end of democracy as we know it. Some would disagree. As I have said before, and will continue to say, this was a bad bill. It does not come out of a belief that our healthcare system is fine. It’s not. It’s horribly broken.

This doesn’t fix anything. But, that’s the way it goes.

What is missing from politics is reasoned discussion. My friend, Lance, and I can sit for hours in a coffee shop and discuss this issue and walk away friends. We will not agree fully on this subject, but we can have a civil discussion on it. I deeply admire his passion and respect his views.

But beyond two guys in a coffee shop, we can’t seem to have any civil debate anymore in this country and that is a crying shame.

One thing I know: It does not matter what type of government I live under. My allegiance is far past whatever human government I live under. I love my country. Yet, the sea change we are experiencing does not change me. I am so thankful for the Kingdom and the King I serve. It keeps me in a true state of content.

That’s good news when I consider the Jayhawks are sitting home and I have no compelling interest to watch the NCAA tournament anymore.

More on Healthcare “Reform”

I have a tab on this blog with more thoughts on healthcare “reform,” but I needed to add this update from Chuck Colson.

I know there are people applauding this legislation. It’s becoming the liberal version of “patriotism.” Remember the “old days” of the Iraq War when the liberals got upset when Republicans challenged their “patriotism” because they opposed the war in Iraq (after voting for it)? This is the liberal version. Somehow, if we oppose this silly piece of legislation we are not caring about healthcare reform and want status quo. Get a life!

The House bill calls for 111 new government agencies. It gives tax breaks to certain groups (when this bill didn’t pass through a tax committee). The biggest laugher is this: most of our congressional representatives haven’t read this thing.

Lest you think I am just for status quo, please read my full posting under the “Healthcare Reform” tab. This system is broken. But this bill ain’t fixin’ it!