National universal health care expresses faith values

By Contributor Sam Fletcher

Sam Fletcher

Parts of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” could easily end up on the chopping block this week. With it would go the “individual mandate”, or a requirement to either be covered or pay a tax, while expanding Medicare for a portion of the population meeting a certain level of income.

While, in theory, the individual mandate would drive down general insurance costs, this is yet to be tested. It is probable that an individual mandate would simply enrich private insurance companies. Without a competing, public health service available to all, we must take on faith that profit-minded insurance companies would lower their prices for the average American.

A national public health care system, like those found in most Western and Eastern nations, would be a much better solution. An opt-in public system could compete with private companies while providing medical care and support to those in need.

Hospitals and medical care have long been basic tenants of faith praxis. Starting in ancient Greece (the home of today’s modern medicine), temples and priests provided the most advanced medical care available, with clean spaces available and libraries of case studies and medical reports available for research.

Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and Muslims have all founded areas where the sick may be cared for, and medical research may be advanced, since the most ancient of times. Pooling resources to care for the sick was seen as the utmost expression of charity, and is universal to all faiths.

Many of our modern hospitals in America were founded by religious denominations, many in an era before health care costs skyrocketed for the private citizen, and medical care could be more widely available.

With Jesus, the gentle healer, as an example for Christians in America, it is thoroughly unChristian and unloving to deny health care to those who simply lack the funds under our pricey and luxurious health care system. People of faith should put their money where their mouth is and demand a public health care system that does not discriminate between the rich and the poor.

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4 responses to “National universal health care expresses faith values

  1. This is a tough one for me…the bygone era of pills, pokes and minor surgeries doesn’t equate to the MRI, brain surgery, organ transplant level of techonolgy and mediceine. A free clinic is one thing…free access to multmillion dollar investments and their products seems to be apples and oranges. Ive yet to hear of a system option that seems fair, open and protective of the society that has produced the healthcare breakthroughs we have. I wish it was as simple as just provide it Obama…but it isn’t as the recent non-partisan budget forcasts about the trillion plus cost it’s bloomed too now and who knows how much more it will rise. Free isn’t free.

    • I wish I was knowledgable enough to talk about the feasibility and details and etc. I do think that if our people had a strong enough desire for a reasonable, practical health care system, we could make it happen. Will EVERY procedure and medication be covered? I don’t know. But I feel pretty sure that vast majority of what people need for medical care could be provided, especially shifting resources away from the overgrown military. I’d rather have a public health care system that’s 90% “perfect” than the system we have now, which only works for minority of Americans.

    • Yet we are already paying. The system as is forces Hospitals to give healthcare to those who can’t pay, making people with insurance and tax payers pick up the tab.

      A better solution would be to find an answer to the cost conundrum http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande When the places that provide the best care (Mayo, John Hopkins, Seattle Children’s Hospital) are the cheapest and the most expensive places are we you find the worse care, something is broken in our system. The problem is not healthcare but our bad way of providing it. It is not more expensive testing and techniques that are driving cost up. but needless testing and needless procedures that are gumming the system (and making a lot of mediocre to below average doctors very rich). Solve that problem and we cut down our cost and improve healthcare.

  2. Then there is the issue of fraud:

    “Bates Drug Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $602,271 to settle allegations that it double-billed Medicare and Medicaid. The U.S. Department of Justice along with Washington state officials announced the deal Tuesday. It included accusations that Bates, an employee-owned pharmacy that has been doing business in Spokane for about 70 years, submitted false claims between May 2006 and January 2011.” (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/mar/28/bates-drug-stores-inc-agrees-to-pay-settlement/)

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