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Healthcare …and Caring

March 21, 2010

Te

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of insurance, but those who are sick…” Mk 2 v17

I did not need insurance (I had it) until I got Parkinson’s. Then I couldn’t get it.

The day after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s I was given the dreaded label “pre-existing condition”. It’s code for “don’t insure”  …and there’s nothing one can do about it.

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Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN – Te | photo
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I went for a while with no insurance.  It was a good experiment, a bad experience.  I soon found out how the free market medical system works:

I went to refill my prescriptions at Target. I had noticed a discrepancy in recent receipts so I brought the receipts with me.

I asked, “What’s the deal?  You’re charging more for the same  drugs.”

They said, “You pay more if you don’t have insurance.”

HUH?!?

I asked, “You charge more for the exact same prescription that takes exactly the same amount of work to fill to one paying cash as to one you have to file a claim to?”

They said, “We have a contract with the insurance companies.”

I said, “I’ll sign a contract.”

They said, “It doesn’t work that way.”

I asked, “Why not?”

I pointed out that what they were doing by charging the uninsured more is they were forcing the uninsured to subsidize the insurance companies making insurance more affordable to those who could already afford it, making the system even more out of whack.

I asked, “How can you work here and be a part of such a practice?”

I think it was about this time the security guard showed up. Evidentially Target, who likes to brag about how they give back to the community, doesn’t like public discussions of how they “take back” in pharmacy.

I wondered what Christ would have done, what he would have said.

As I paid for my uninsured-over-priced prescriptions, the cashier, in a voice no one else could hear, said, “I totally agree with you.”

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No free-market insurance company is going to insure me. If one did, I’d make sure I had no stock in that company.  It’s how capitalism works.  And how it doesn’t.

Capitalism without God is godless. Godless capitalism is heartless. A heartless capitalist only cares about his finances.

I’m not a socialist. I’m not for making everything equal. God didn’t. Difference is beauty. The beauty of ethnicity, of cultures, of man and woman. Add love to difference and you have a thing of God.

We do not all have the same health issues. God chose different issues for different people for different purposes. Add love to the differences and you put the care back in healthcare.

We need to give our capitalism a heart so it can be more kind, more caring, less bottom-line, more Christ-like.

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I don’t mind paying more for insurance, but not everyone can. I pay almost 10,000.00 per year when one adds in the deductible, which is a given. If one does need care, the co-pay adds to the bill. Dental is also additional. The one health insurance “provider” that would give me insurance? The state of Minnesota. I thank God for government in health care.

I applaud those who care enough to risk their political futures to try to correct the injustices of our current system.  I applaud those who see issues with the sought changes.  Is it a bill that should be passed?  I don’t know.

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Christ? Christ was a one-man universal healthcare provider. There were no economic barriers to his care. He never charged a penny. It mattered not what one could afford. His care was available to all – rich or poor, from conception to death …and for a few, even past death. He even cared for those who were ungrateful. His biggest opposition? Pharisee talk radio.

The beauty of Christ – he cared.

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10 Comments

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  1. March 21, 2010

    Lovely.

    I’m reading Daniel Bell’s classic The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. In his 1978 foreword to the paperback he wrote, “I am a socialist in economics. For me, socialism is not statism, or the collective ownership of the means of production. It is a judgment on the priorities of economic policy. It is for that reason that I believe that _in this realm,_ the community takes precedence over the individual in the values that legitimate economic policy. The first lien on the resources of a society therefore should be to establish that ‘social minimum’ which would allow individuals to lead a life of self-respect, to be members of the community. This means a set of priorities that ensures work for those who seek it, a degree of adequate security against the hazards of the market, and adequate access to medical care and protection against the ravages of disease and illness.”

    Now that’s socialism we can believe in.

  2. Diane Eickhoff #
    March 21, 2010

    Thanks for putting a human face (yours) on one of the worst abuses of our healthcare system. I am touched.

  3. Tina #
    March 21, 2010

    Thank you for sharing. What you share is true, we need to provide health care for those who need it. However, this health care does it by choosing death for some who “they” deem unimportant. To choose good health for some and then collect money to kill babies is a total insurrection against a holy God. This causes me to weep. Albert Mohler has shared his heart about this here… http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/03/16/this-is-life-were-talking-about-abortion-and-the-health-care-bill/

  4. Te #
    March 21, 2010

    From the New York Times, Sunday 8:43 pm:

    House Democrats clinched their victory on Sunday with an agreement on abortion. Democratic opponents of abortion rights, led by Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, announced that they would vote for the legislation after Mr. Obama promised to issue an executive order “to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services” if the bill passed.

  5. Tina #
    March 21, 2010

    We’ll have to wait to see if they hold to their promises. Let us pray they do so but I think there is a deeper problem that has to be overcome and that is their greed… just as Stupak himself said …
    “What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

  6. Ben #
    March 21, 2010

    Thanks tom for a reasonable, personal response to our health care mess. It is refreshing set against the backdrop of so much foolish, selfish, Americanism coming from so many Christians these days. All the best to you. And for you and thousands (or is it millions) of others, I hope this bill passes.

  7. Tim Johnson #
    March 22, 2010

    Sadly, it appears to me that you have fallen for the claim that “the best way to achieve much needed healthcare reform is to support government run health care.”
    You wrote: Capitalism without God is godless. My response: So what? Anything without God is godless.
    You wrote: Godless capitalism is heartless. My response: What alternative economic system is better? What alternative economic system does more to constrain evil? Why not rather encourage God in the marketplace.
    You wrote: A heartless capitalist only cares about his finances. My response: I completely disagree. The very nature of capitalism demands that the capitalist care about his customers. That is the way the economic system works far, far better than any other economic system. Customers have choices – they’re not forced to do business with anyone.
    Sorry brother, we disagree on this one.
    God Bless,
    Tim

    • Todd Indehar #
      March 22, 2010

      Thank you Tim for your thoughtful comments above. The lack of economic literacy level of many otherwise thoughtful Christians is sad. I have no doubt that if this bill (I won’t call it a health care bill or a healthcare reform bill) is allowed to stand, untold amounts of suffering and evil will result.

    • Te #
      March 22, 2010

      Tim,

      Where do you get your “sadly” claim concerning what I have “fallen for”? It amazes me the pigeon-holing that happens if one doesn’t tow-the-line in certain approved ways.

      I would love to say AMEN to your capitalism model …if I could, but I can’t. The problem with the model is it makes an assumption that is not always true. It assumes for every customer there are multiple caring capitalists providing multiple choices. That may be true with envelopes, but its not with Parkinson’s.

      There are not only no choices, there is no capitalist. I’m a customer without a capitalist. A customer without a capitalist is a customer with no choices. It really doesn’t matter if a non-existent capitalist cares or not.

      Now if what you are saying is that we should never do something we can’t make money at, then that’s the end of discussion. I know you well enough, though, that I know you wouldn’t say that.

      So, the question is what to do with things capitalism rejects? There is no money to be made insuring one with Parkinsons. If there was someone, would be doing it.

      That’s why I say we need capitalism with a heart. We need to do something Christ would do. We need to go where capitalism does not.

      I’m not trying to be self serving, I’m simply trying to bring the rhetoric into the realities of where people live and I can speak to it most easily using the example I’m most familiar with – me.

      If we were really like Christ, we wouldn’t need insurance. We would bear one another’s burdens. I have had Parkinson’s 10 years. I have yet to have a brother or sister offer financial help with medical bills. No caring capitalist will insure me. I have one choice – Minnesota Care – government doing what no one else will.

      We get on our soap boxes and preach about the evils of government doing what we don’t. If the followers of Christ followed Christ and truly cared for those in need, there would be no need for any government social services. We need to stop blaming government for our failures. It’s OUR mess.

  8. Tom W #
    March 23, 2010

    Well spoken Tom… Does this relate to the sign I saw in your yard as I drove by the other day?
    I am glad for the State of MN setting up MN care under Arnie C.
    Tom

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