Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is Government Health Care a Christian Solution?

An advantage of having a blog that is is somewhat widely read is that I get letters and emails from people all over the world who have various opinions on a variety of issues. The following letter came to my email from a Christian man named "Chuck Brown." Chuck is greatly concerned about our health care system in the United States and he wrote a letter articulating how he felt Christians should view the health care debate. I do not necessarily agree, nor disagree, with Chuck's letter. I'm still processing much of what he writes. However, with his permission, I am posting the letter below and asking you, my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ, to respond to his arguments for government health care. The only rule of thumb for the comment stream is that I ask you respond with your viewpoint in a kind, gracious and civil spirit.

"I have really good private health insurance through my employer. I pay a small fortune for it every month, and my employer pays them a much bigger fortune just for me and my family. My needs are being met right now, but I do not trust the private health insurance interests because, as 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “...the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

The private health insurance interests do not love you and me. They do not love the sick. They love only what is in someone’s pockets — yours and mine. I am personally convinced that they would gladly let a sick child die to save a dollar. This is why I am in favor of the health care reform plan taking shape in the U.S. Congress right now, including a government-run health insurance option to work in competition with private health care insurance. If you please, I would like to make the following four major points:

1) I would like to see the uninsured become insured. As a Christian, I would have to do that even if it was not what I wanted to do, but I want to do this. I make under $250,000 per year. Nonetheless, if it were to come down to it, I would be personally glad to pay more taxes to help these uninsured people. It is just plain the right thing to do.

2) The private health insurance interests are not in business to provide health care. They are in business for the same reason most other businesses are — to make money and as much of it as possible for their stockholders — and I am probably one of those stockholders. Back in the late 1980s, the private health insurance interests duped American businesses into thinking that they could control skyrocketing health care costs by taking over virtually the whole system. No doubt some cost savings were achieved for a while early in the game. Nonetheless, the overall costs of private health care kept rising at a tremendous annual rate over time, and it is still rising fast. One of the reasons was private health insurance profits.

I recently read an article that highlighted the story of a man who was a manager in a private health insurance company for 3 years. Most companies and small businesses feel fortunate to take home a 5 percent or 10 percent annual profit. The insurance manager said the annual profit for his company, over those 3 years, were 29 percent, 37 percent, and 49 percent. Where does that come from — your pocket and mine — while the cost of health insurance continues to skyrocket. Private health insurance is expensive because it is the only game in town. When you are the only game in town, you can jack prices into the stratosphere. The government-run option in the health care reform plan would create the competition and price control pressure necessary to put an end to this. If you dislike the multi-million dollar executive bonuses at failed Wall Street investment banks, the private health insurance rip-off should have your soul literally on fire. If it does not, you need to pinch yourself to see if you are still alive.

3) How soon we all forget. Many of us have selective amnesia, but I do not. I actually remember the time about 10 years ago when the private health insurance interests were denying treatments and drugs to patients right and left so they could line their pockets with the proceeds from human misery. That all changed rather suddenly when the federal politicians started getting seriously interested in something called “health care reform.” The naughty boys among the private health insurance interests saw dad reaching for his belt, coat, and the pathway to the woodshed. Collectively, these interests decided they had better “cool it” and get really reasonable with their patients --- that is until the storm blows over. They did get more reasonable. However, you folks out there have to understand that they did this only because of their fear of the looming fight ahead — the one we are in right now for real health care reform.

If the private health insurance interests win this health care reform fight we are in now, they will be King of the Hill – alone on top — no challengers — all enemies vanquished — in total control — answerable to no one — with absolute power over your health care. As the old saying goes, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” If they win this time, the cancer treatment that is merely questioned today could be denied next year. The expensive drug your son desperately needs to stay alive this year could be denied next year. There will be, quite literally, no one to stop the private health insurance interests, and they will do what they have always done — take maximum financial advantage of their wonderful new situation while your loved one sinks deeper into illness.

4) Be on the lookout for lies. The private health insurance interests and their cronies are in the BIG LIE business right now. One of their biggest lies is that government health plans do not work. That is not true. There are some problems in Canada and Great Britain, but even those are being addressed. They made some bad planning decisions. You will hear a lot about how Canada and Great Britain failed, so that must mean we will fail too. What they do not tell you is that Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Switzerland have universal government health insurance that works very efficiently and is a lot less expensive per person than our current private health insurance system. Taiwan actually studied what Canada and Great Britain did wrong, so they could identify their specific mistakes and avoid them — which they did. It has been a tremendous success. If we Americans can put a man on the moon, we can do even better than Taiwan did with health care.

An associate of one of my close friends had a teenage son who was recently on travel in Great Britain. Somewhere in London, he had the great misfortune of getting his arm broken. Naturally, they rushed him to the hospital. He had good American health insurance. Was he denied help because he was a foreigner? No. Did he have to wait for hours in a long line for care? No. They treated him right away. He flashed his American health insurance card at them, and they laughed at him. “You don’t need that here,” they said. They fixed him right up and had him on his way to a full recovery in no time. What were the hospital and doctor charges? It is my understanding that they were ZERO.

Therefore, as a fellow Christian, I urge you to be watchful on this issue in both directions. If you are skeptical of the current health care reform program that is taking shape in the U.S. Congress, I would urge you to be equally skeptical of the private health insurance side. Some of the national news outlets like CNN (particularly Anderson Cooper Live 360ยบ (at 10:00 p.m. EDT and 9:00 p.m. CDT) have spots each night where they examine the claims on both sides to see who is actually telling the truth. It is crystal clear to me that the great weight of flat-out LIES is being told by those who are opposed to health care reform. Jesus would not have us take sides with a position that is caught nightly in a perpetual state of lying to the American people.

A great many of the millions of uninsured citizens in our country are what the King James Bible refers to as “...the least of these...” I am talking about the poor, the working poor, the mentally ill, the handicapped, sick people who are labeled as “too risky to cover,” those whose health insurance has been terminated, and many others. In light of that, I wonder when we, as Christians (as well as our pastors), are going to take seriously the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40, as follows:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord,when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Ultimately, health care reform is not about whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Constitutionalist, or whatever else. It is not about whether you are conservative, liberal, independent, or apolitical. It is not about whether you despise Barack Obama or like Barack Obama. Health care reform is about “…the least of these...” among us and our ability to make some changes that will help them.

Therefore, I would urge you to please support the health care reform bill that is taking shape in the U.S. Congress right now. Write to you elected representatives and ask them to support health care reform, including the government-run health care option to serve as “checks and balances” on private health insurance costs and excesses. As you consider this, please remember that security in this world is promised to no man, woman, or child. Life may look good for you right now, but tomorrow you and your children could quickly find yourselves counted among “...the least of these...” All it takes is a lost job, a mortgage foreclosure, a business deal gone bad, a serious car accident, a major illness, and many other unforeseen things. Too many of our neighbors all over this great country of ours have found this out the hard way just over the past 9 months. God bless you and thank you for giving consideration to this important issue."

Chuck Brown


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Ramesh said...


I normally do not advocate government solutions. But in health care, the private industry has failed abysmally. The way the health care debate is going, it appears the government insurance option is dead and the private industry is set to do all the insurance. In some ways the poor people will suffer.

Here are links about this subject from The Baseline Scenario Blog:

Health Insurance “Innovation”.
The This American Life crew, once again proving that they can cover any topic they want better than anyone else in the media,* has a segment in this weekend’s episode on rescission of health insurance policies – insurers’ established practice of looking for ways to invalidate policies once it turns out that the insured actually needs significant medical care. (The segment is around the 30-minute mark; audio should be available on that page sometime on Monday.) The story describes a couple of particularly egregious cases, such as a woman who was denied breast cancer surgery because she had been treated for acne in the past, and a person whose policy was rescinded because his insurance agent had incorrectly entered his weight on the application form.

More on Rescissions.

The Problem with Profits.
So if you see a company that has very high profits over a sustained period, there are two possibilities: either it is benefiting from a non-competitive market (e.g., it is a monopoly), or it is simply exceptional at innovating and staying ahead of the competition for years on end. If you see a whole industry that has sustained high profits, however, the latter explanation cannot hold, and you should immediately suspect a lack of competition.

In short, the thing that we should celebrate is not high profits, but competition. The pursuit of high profits is what motivates competition; but if a whole industry achieves high profits, then what you are seeing is not competition, but its opposite

The Value of (Not Having) the Public Plan.
Why have pivotal members of the Congress been reluctant to allow individuals the choice to buy into a public health insurance option? A political-economic reason is that the “bipartisan” group of six senators responds more to the interests of health insurance companies than public opinion, including the median voter. While this is hard to assess directly (although we do know they receive substantial campaign finance from insurance companies), we can however observe the effects of (a somewhat unanticipated) decision they made on those who stand to privately benefit from that decision.

Continued ...

Ramesh said...

You Do Not Have Health Insurance.
Right now, it appears that the biggest barrier to health care reform is people who think that it will hurt them. According to a New York Times poll, “69 percent of respondents in the poll said they were concerned that the quality of their own care would decline if the government created a program that covers everyone.” Since most Americans currently have health insurance, they see reform as a poverty program – something that helps poor people and hurts them. If that’s what you think, then this post is for you.

You do not have health insurance. Let me repeat that. You do not have health insurance. (Unless you are over 65, in which case you do have health insurance. I’ll come back to that later.)

The point of insurance is to protect you against unlikely but damaging events. You are generally happy to pay premiums in all the years that nothing goes wrong (your house doesn’t burn down), because in exchange your insurer promises to be there in the one year that things do go wrong (your house burns down). That’s why, when shopping for insurance, you are supposed to look for a company that is financially sound – so they will be there when you need them.

If, like most people, your health coverage is through your employer or your spouse’s employer, that is not what you have. At some point in the future, you will get sick and need expensive health care. What are some of the things that could happen between now and then?

Health Care’s Senior Moment.
Seniors have recently emerged as an important battleground in the health reform war. Katharine Seelye of the New York Times has a post on the “new generation gap” separating the elderly from the not-so-elderly, and multiple polls have shown that seniors are more resistant to reform, at least when it is phrased broadly. In addition, the nonsense about “death panels” has worried at least some seniors, enough for the AARP to pitch in to try to shoot it down.*

This should seem ironic, given that people over 65 are the one group that has already most benefited from health care reform – only their reform happened in the 1960s, when Medicare was created. But hey, it’s a democracy, and people don’t have to wish for others the benefits they themselves enjoy.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramesh said...

I understand in SBC, Bill Moyers is considered a LIBERAL.

But please watch some of these videos and read some of these blog posts. Very educational.

Wendell Potter on Profits Before Patients.

Towards a Healthier Debate on Health Reform.

Remote Area Medical.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Drew Altman.

David Frum.

Christiane said...

I have only the greatest contempt for any private profit-making health insurance company.

And I mean 'contempt'.

The suffering and misery they have caused is unspeakable.

My brother and three other family members are physicians, one a psychiatrist. I know far more than I wish I knew. For the sake of our country, we need some way to control the private companies who feed off of the vulnerability and the misery of our people.

A 'public option' is one way to control these monsters.

Ramesh said...

I do not trust the government. But more than the government, I deeply distrust the politicians. Their pockets are being lined with lobbyists from the medical industry and doctors associations and they are unfairly (though american) tilting the playing field away from consumers.

If the health care costs, including pharmaceuticals are not controlled soon, this country is headed for disaster. Or the system can not support this framework. Something will have to give.

If you think the financial debacle that occurred last year was serious, the coming one due to the mismanagement of both the health care and the finance industry will soon bankrupt this country.

1. There is no real competition to the number of doctors that are allowed to practice in this country. It is tightly regulated by the AMA. Same with lawyers. And you can see how well paid they are compared to these same professions of other industrialized countries.

2. There is no real competition to the pharmaceuticals being sold in this country. Except for the generic labels.

3. Has any one looked at their own insurance plan? Do you know how many ways you will be short changed? You are all one step away from bankruptcy, when a serious health problem arises that the insurance industry takes exception to it.

4. Has anyone examined how many different insurance plans there are? Most of them are worthless. Where is a consumer bill of rights for protecting consumers from these fraudsters selling worthless insurance that might be rescinded when you really need it.

5. The current system has to change. Maybe a mandated plan, like the car insurance for all drivers, but for all people here. Except, some standards to be defined by the government as a minimum of what a health insurance plan must be.

6. Epidemics spread if there are lot of poor people who can not afford basic preventative treatments.

Bob Cleveland said...


I spent 50 years in this industry and the ignorance shown in some comments is abysmal.

I doubt that any folks denigrating the insurance industry would be happy with a 1% to 3% profit margin on sales in their own company, but that's what I've seen among insurance companies.

Many of the folks who speak against private health insurance may well have part of their retirement in insurance stocks. It's common people who own a big chunk of those companies, you know.

I spent some time in a German hospital about 10 years ago. Wonderful care and a reasonable bill. But, despite the fact that the government provides the care, people still buy their own private insurance .. at least my friends there did .. so they wouldn't be at the mercy of the government when they needed something right away.

If there's a problem with health care, it's not with insurance companies. It's with the institutions and physicians who charge goodness-knows how much for a day in intensive care, two days in semi-private, the 30 mile ambulance ride to the hospital .. accompanied by the doctor who came to the house first, and all the tests. It cost something under $800 there, and they just wanted an address in the country to send the bill to.

And I can testify that there are not that many people here .. certainly not as many as the political activists are claiming .. who cannot buy health insurance. I've seen plenty who'd rather have a big car payment instead.

Yes, we should take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, just as we should feed those who cannot feed themselves. But I don't think we should take money away from Americans to pay the bills for those who simply will not, any more than we ought to feed those who are too lazy to work.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Kevin said...

I'm trying to keep an open mind about this. I'm an independent missionary who pays for my own insurance.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. I'm extremely cynical about the government's ability to successfully run anything.

2. Seems there should be some ways to reform our system without the government completely taking it over.

Chris Ryan said...

To answer each of the reasons that Chuck wants us to support this bill:

1) I too want the uninsured to have insurance. I want them to be able to recieve care for the problems that they have. I make under 10,000 a year and have no money to spend on extra taxes for that, however. Now, if they want help finding a job that can provide health care for them, I'll be happy to help them with that. Obama says that I wouldn't see my taxes raised, but it doesn't matter. I'm 22. In the end, I'll see my taxes raised by this even if it isn't Obama who does it.

2) One of my parents is disabled, and because of that if she were to lose her job she would be uninsurable by another private corporation. I have seen necessary treatments and procedures denied. I've seen wheel chairs denied, limiting mobility until we could save enough to buy it ourself. I don't see how govt is going to do a better job. They will have to be just as concerned with limiting treatments to keep things affordable, only they are trying to keep things affordable for a wider socio-economic scale. The answer is not govt, it is responsibility on the part of the insurance companies (and understanding that the responsibility is not first to making money but to providing necessary services). If we want to see things really be more affordable, let's find a way to cut down on the frivilous medical suits so that health care providers aren't having to pay so much in malpractice insurance.

3) Moot point. If the health care bill fails, then the private companies may have their way for a while. If the health care bill fails, then it is the beginning of the end for the private sector and eventually it will be govt with no competitors (and it would be harder for a private company to start competing with the govt than to start competing with another private company somewhere down the line).

4) To quote Gregory House, "Everybody lies." I expect it from any source that has an agenda (and any media source that is talking about this issue does). Other countries have pulled it off. Great. The question is whether or not this drastic of an overhaul is needed to the system, or could reasonable restrictions and oversight be employed to accomplish many of the same goals.

And I am all for helping out "the least of these." I think that most regular readers and commentators know that about me. But I don't think that this is the way to do it. I don't think that govt is the best answer to this problem. I actually liked what Obama was talking about during the primaries: if your employer doesn't cover you then you could opt into a government plan. That sounded reasonable. This goes far beyond that. I do not like this bill, and I think that in the end it will do more to hurt "the least of these" than it will do to help them.

While we are working on a better solution, I suggest that we Christians do exactly what the Bible says: where we see people hungry, naked, or ill then we provide food, clothes, and medical treatment. Jesus didn't say, "Well done. You saw me tired, hungry, and poor and you voted to make the government feed me, clothe me and give me rest." To me, this is an easy way to opt out of personal responsibility for taking the commands of Jesus seriously.

My two cents.

Hamster said...

I am not a Christian but the impression I have of Christ is that he was always concerned about helping the less fortunate. He railed against those who store up goods on earth, the greedy, the selfish. He spent his time healing the sick, feeding the poor, and teaching people to love and care for each other.

I think if you were to ask Christ if we should provide life saving medical care to a poor woman with a sick baby, he would approve. I think Christ would approve of helping all Americans...even the poor ones...get health insurance.

A parable:

One day a poor pregnant woman came to Christ.
“Master” pleaded the woman. “My husband was killed in an accident. I cannot support this child in my belly. I want to have an abortion. ”

Christ gazed upon the poor woman and replied “No. Woman. God loves every child. Even the unborn have a right to life. Go and have your baby and forget about an abortion”

So the woman had her baby.
The baby was born gravely sick.
It needed a doctor and expensive medical care.
So the woman returned to Christ
“Oh Master. My baby is sick. But I am an illegal alien. My child needs expensive medical care. Help me"
Jesus lectured the woman sternly:
“You chose to come to our country illegally. If your child is sick and you cannot afford a doctor you have no one to blame but yourself. Verily I say unto you, "health care is not a right"

The newborn child died after much suffering

Rex Ray said...

Since VA hospitals are run by the government, will they be an example of ‘Government Health Care’?

They say an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but I fell from a pear tree and broke my pelvis fifty feet from where my father broke his and we were the same age of 72.

I also had five broken ribs and a ruptured spleen that the doctor said, “An hour later and you’d been pushing up daises.” (My bed was named the “Tree Bed” as the next patient had a tree fall on him, and the next hit a tree.)

The difference was I went to a private hospital and was out in five weeks where my father was in a VA hospital for a full year. His pelvis was pulled apart two inches and instead of pinning it together, they put him in a sling where it took that long to grow together. At that time we trusted the VA and the government to take care of those that fought for us.

Many years ago our 50 year old neighbor begged the VA to pull his tooth. “We can’t do that you might bleed to death.”

The pain got so bad; he pulled it with some vice-grips. It wouldn’t stop bleeding so he went back to the VA six miles away. They sent him a hundred miles to the Dallas VA where he died. His wife is a member of our church and is 102.

I have an issue with Obama saying, “There’s nothing worse than doing nothing” because I believe it’s worse to have stupidity in action.

Anonymous said...

It's not just the private insurance system that causes the problem but the basic system of doctors/specialists and technicians.

For instance, if you need to see a specialist they won't see you until you first go see a GP. It can take days to see the GP and then days or weeks to see the specialist! Then they send you to another place for an appointment with a radiologist or to get blood tests! Each place has their own expensive facility, separate staff as well as duplication in equipment, record keeping systems, etc. VERY inefficient and expensive.

In Thailand, you can go to a nice PRIVATE hospital and see the GP right there in the hospital. If any follow-up tests are required they send you to the specialist or technician or to get your blood tests right there in the same nice hospital on the same day!!

All the information from the various specialists is fed into the same computer system so after all your tests are completed you return to your GP's office that afternoon. Then that doctor brings up all the tests results and diagnosis from the specialists and you get your medicine or are prescribed follow-up procedures right then! They have their own pharmacy in the same hospital so drugs are purchased in mass and are also a fraction of what they would be in the US!

The hospital facilities are nicer than any you would find in the USA with Starbucks and McDonald's in the lobby and rooms nice enough to serve as a resort accommodations! They have equipment that is second to none. And because of the low overhead the expenses are a fraction of what they are in the US! Duplication of personnel is reduced so there is not shortage of nurses and support personnel.

That's why they have "medical tourism" here with people coming from all over the world for health care and cosmetic surgery.

But there is a draw back. I'm not confident in a lot of the judgment calls made by the physicians. We have personnel who have cancer treatment, major heart surgery and complicated procedures done here, but personally, my confidence level is still not so high.

So there are weaknesses in every situation.

Point is there is apparently a lot of arrogance and greed among the USA physicians that adds to our high costs, long waits for appointments and inefficient system. Why do they all have to have their own offices and facilities? Plus there's apparently a “good old boy” system where you can’t go directly to a specialist even if you know you need a follow-up test to check your cholesterol level?

Why can't they all have a common facility with common support systems to reduce duplication, inefficiency and expenses? Why can’t we combine the best from both systems, i.e., have the best trained physicians working in common facilities?

I don’t believe the government has even considered the best options for having the most efficient and low-cost health care. That's no doubt due to the pressure of special interest groups.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

I think the issue of health care for "the least of these" is a great place for believers in the Jesus of the Bible to begin evangelizing American Cultural Christians back to the Gospel. Although the majority of American civic Christians do not carry placards and shout hate-filled slogans such as we see at the Fred Phelps rallies and the Town Hall healthcare protests, I fear that most of them do treasure those sentiments in their hearts. This can be a place where we might start a conversation about what Jesus actually taught and did and about whether what we are espousing is actually the Gospel of Jesus or a cultural counterfeit.

Christiane said...

Status quo: An American health insurance CEO with a salary close to thirty million per year (not including stock options)

Who pays HIS SALARY ????

No. It's not paid by the lobbyist his company sends to see your congressmen and senators. Oh no.
That lobbyist is making big bucks too. Wanna guess who pays HIS salary?

Do some homework, people.


But first we will have to take "our government" back from the lobbyists: you know, the ones who make sure the private health insurance CEO gets 'his' rightful compensation.

Ramesh said...

I would challenge all the Churches in the US to do what they are doing in other countries. Volunteer doctors and nurses and technicians to provide free healthcare (without paper work) to masses. I am telling you, this country is starved for this care.


Bill Moyers > Remote Area Medical.

NYT > Lining Up for Help.

NYT > Thousands Line Up for Promise of Free Health Care.

For those who are distrustful of government and politicians (including me), please note that medicare is already administered by the government. If medicare was fully private, senior citizens will be in a big mess.

For various reasons, lot of families in this "modern" world are dysfunctional and children no longer help their aging parents. Or even strangers helping other strangers.

Clearly the Church can do much more. This is a golden opportunity to share burdens and proclaim Christ to the needy. Provide free medical care and people will be clamoring to know Our Lord Jesus Christ. Why is that? They would like to know what is motivating people to help them in the first place.

Joe Blackmon said...

You want to help poor people get some sort of insurance so that an injury or severe illness doesn't ruin them financially--fine.

You want to do it with tax dollars--I'm not crazy about it but I could live with it.

Two questions that NO ONE is going to answer: Why the snot do you have to take MY health insurance away so that poor people can have insurance? What right does Congress have to be exempt from this public health care option?

Lydia said...

Is there really a solution to this problem?

For those advocating Gov Health care, there are several issues to seriously consider. Rex mentioned one. We already have the VA to study as an indicator of what it would look like. Not a pretty picture from the horror stories I have heard from veterans and read about. Even at Walter Reed.

Then we have to ask with Gov health care, who will want to be a doctor? Who will want to go to school for 20 years, work long hours and make very little? Would being a doctor end up with the same prestige it had in the USSR? (I met a Soviet doctor 20 years ago, who left medicine to become a hair stylist because she made 2x the amount of money)

As someone has already mentioned, folks in other countries with socialized medicine supplement that with private insurance to guarantee treatment when a crisis comes. This is what I am hearing from some friends in Europe, too. And some Canadian friends have stopped summering in the US because the government refuses to cover them while here unless they pay a huge monthly sum to the government which most folks could not afford.

It is the same with Medicare. Most seniors must buy an additional policy. How would socialized medicine be different?

Let's face it, the government does not do much well. They have not had the courage to seriously deal with SS which is a time bomb waiting to go off. Once entrenched in health care, it would be the same thing. Folks would be denied treatment even more to keep costs down. And going on track records, the bureaucracy would be oppressive. Some government ethicist would decide if you get a new heart. And you would have no recourse if denied. Will there be a
thriving black market for organs?

One last thought. Most of the countries who have socilaized medicine are also countries that have a history of a Monarchy or dictatorship. This cannot be discounted when looking to emulate something similar here.

the bottom line is that there will always be a private health care industry here no matter if this passes or not. And it will be for the rich. There was even talk years back for hospital ships in neutral waters.

Obama is that LAST person I would trust with this idea. This is the man who worked very hard in Illinois to make sure that born alive aborted babies be denied medical care. If he was willing to put his political weight behind that bill, what does that tell us?

I know some folks that are trying to read this bill and then meet to summarize for each other what is in it.

Most who will vote on it, have not read it. Who could at it's length? Can you imagine something of this magnatude and most of our representatives have not read it personally?

Lydia said...

What right does Congress have to be exempt from this public health care option?

Wed Aug 19, 10:01:00 AM 2009

The million dollar question that more and more are asking. They have GREAT insurance.

They refuse to guarantee they will be on the same plan. Now, if that is not a big red flag, what is?

Joe Blackmon said...


Did you just agree with me? Wow.

Jon L. Estes said...

Helping those in need does not need to be done by giving to the government. A political system that has proven they can not handle the money we do send them.

I think it would be fair to say that if the government did not waste what we did send then they could probably have enough to pay for the medical plan they are pushing.

Good ideas does not assure right oversight will occur. I wonder if the auto dealers who are not getting their money for the clunker program (only 2% being paid to dealers)are a sign of doctors and hospitals not getting their money also. If so, the drive to be a doctor will go down and then our kids and future relatives will get less than the very best for their doctor. I think a doctor who can perform whatever medical attention on my child in their time of need is worth anything he can get.

But that's me.

Lydia said...

Did you just agree with me? Wow.

Wed Aug 19, 10:55:00 AM 2009

I know. Scares me. :o)

But, is it not common sense to be concerned that Congress is not willing to be on the same plan they will force on us?

Are they now an oligarchy?

Michael Ruffin said...

Thanks, Wade, for a post that prompts discussion of this very important issue.

Hopefully if enough people insist that we talk about the facts while trying to keep the fear and demagoguery out of it and if enough Christians think seriously about what Jesus would have us do, we might, slowly but surely, get somewhere.

Ray said...

I really liked this. Thank you Wade and Chuck.


Tim Marsh said...

I appreciate the civility of this discussion.

The whole problem with the current health care proposals is that we do not have enough information, and what we have, we do not know whether we can believe it or not.

And, alluding to the civility of this discussion, most of the key conversations taking place are hostile. Both sides are vilified by the other.

For something as serious as health care, we need honest discussions. We do not need "death panel" tactics and we do not need to call those who oppose the plan "heartless."

Finally, what is the Christian solution? Well, in Acts the converts laid their wealth before the feet of the disciples. They did not tithe...they gave everything! And they did not help just their own from their possessions, but as Acts 2:42-47 indicates, all benefited from the community of faith.

I am not one of those who thinks that we need do without TV, access to the internet, etc. But there are many luxuries that we possess that are frivolous.

What could the church do as well? Since Constantine, many have starved at the benefit of the beautiful buildings the church occupied. Do we need some of the buildings we have? Do we need the technology that we incorporate into our worship services?

What are the values of the youth and contemporary movement that says: "We need lights, screens, and top rate music in order to worship?"

What could some of this wealth, namely the tithes that we give, go for if we put them in a pot to help the "poor"?

It's time that our churches stop envisioning buildings and envision how we can regain Acts 2:45-47 in the United States Church so that we may benefit "all"?

Michael Ruffin said...


You done gone to meddlin'.

And you are right.

Jeff said...

Been thinking which is sorta new for me. I have not read all the comments so this may have been pointed out.

What we need is not govt help, but church help (not the liberal social gospel kind either). We need pastors who are really to give up 6 figure packages, need churches to quite wasting millions on buildings. We need people to actually give more than a twenty to church.

We need Christians to quit buying houses based on status, and cars and clothes.

Michael Ruffin said...


More meddlin'.

More rightness.

Lin said...

It's time that our churches stop envisioning buildings and envision how we can regain Acts 2:45-47 in the United States Church so that we may benefit "all"?

Wed Aug 19, 11:51:00 AM 2009

Actually, there was a time this happened in a way.

You might be too young to remember but we used to have hospitals that were funded in a large part by Christians and Jews. We had Baptist Hospitals, Methodist, Catholic and Jewish Hospitals. They were non profit.

Does anyone know why this way of funding hospitals ceased?

Also, just 30-40 years ago, one did not have health insurance that would pay for a doctor visit but for major illness only.

linda said...

Private insurance, whether auto, health, life, homeowners, or renters does not have the responsibility of PROVIDING the policyholder with any service.

Health insurance is not there to PROVIDE us with health care. It is there to share the financial risk, and it is doing that.

Many seem to expect a free lunch scenario, where everyone pays nothing or very little but gets the best possible product or care.

Folks, it just doesn't work that way.

The whole idea of a government run system scares me, as does the prospect of medicare in a few years. BTDT with my mom, and saw how few drs would treat her and how hard it was to get the treatment she needed.

I also question the whole idea that to oppose a government system is to not care for the least and poorest. Among the truly uncovered that I know (remember, the really poor do qualify for medicaid) you have those who have insurance offered and can afford it but refuse to part with the money and those that just won't work, period. (Although there again, most of those qualify for medicaid.)

My solution would be to have insurance offer only what used to be called major medical or is now called high deductible or catastrophic insurance. That would lower costs tremendously so that just about everyone could afford it, and the rest would remain on medicaid. (Eliminates scenes like "oh, I know claritin worked fine for your allergies the last 10 years but your insurance dropped it so let's switch you to allegra.)

Factor in some limits on malpractice suits, some limits on price gouging Americans by big pharma and by our own hospitals and drs, and we get some realistic prices.

But no matter how we choose to do it, I believe the individual is going to have to take more responsibility. Go out gangbanging and get shot, or do drugs til your system is shot, or catch yourself aids, or just be a potato chip loving couch potato and it is going to cost YOU, not the rest of us, more money.

But then again, I generally favor less government handouts to corporations, to farmers, and to individuals and more personal responsibility.

Not a popular stand, though, these days.

Joe Blackmon said...

Another thought: Financial accountability in the government is a stinkin' joke. Even discounting quality of care, which would suck, does anyone really think the government is capable of adequately supervising this. I've been on audits of state programs using federal money. I've seen just how inept these people are.

Jeff said...

Michael, I see you live in Augusta, Ga. I would be willing to give up insurance to have a membership at Augusta National!! :)

My sacrificial giving doesn't apply to golf. :)

Christiane said...

I am thrilled to be able to read all the comments and the worries and concerns AND SUGGESTIONS that are expressed here.

I wish the 'town hall' meetings had been as civil. It is easy for me to 'dismiss' the town hall meetings based on the 'disruptors' behavior, something the lobbyists and special interests counted on.

But I cannot and do not dismiss the ideas and concerns expressed here. Somehow, the answer that will work will be a 'consensus' of the American people. We are not 'stupid' or nearly as vulnerable as the lobbyists think we are. We need to begin to interact positively to try to make things better. Otherwise, we continue to be at the mercy of those who have preyed on the weakest among us.
Love, L's

Jeff said...

L's How do you know that those who protested the meeting were not people like us? There are paid protesters on both sides, not just those who are against govt health care. If I had time I would have gone and protested because I cannot support big govt.

Jeff said...

BTW, If I go to protest. I am going to wear a shirt that reads on the front.

Proud Member of Emmanuel Baptist in Enid, OK.

On the back: Member of Wade's Warrior

Ray said...

I was born in 1968,my father, a high school dropout, cleaned houses in the California Bay Area in order to feed his family. He barely made poverty level wages yet he was able to insure our entire family because health insurance was affordable. When did health insurance become unaffordable? If one looks at a historical time line you will see that health care costs began to escalate when the government began to heavily regulate the industry. Many people forget that it was Ted Kennedy that created the HMO, which was to be the panacea.
Government is not the solution it is the problem. There are many things the government can do to drastically lower the price of Health insurance like tort reform and cross-state insurance. Many are unaware that it is illegal for someone in Oklahoma to buy insurance from a company in Texas. This greatly increases the cost of insurance because of a lack of competition. I also question the morality of drastically lowering the quality of health care for the majority, in order to provide minimal care for the minority, half of whom simply don't want to pay for it.

Christiane said...


A 'town hall' meeting is to find out the feelings and thoughts of the people present, by giving people a chance to speak, and ask questions, and listen to one another.
But when a few individuals start yelling and shouting down others who are speaking, we've got a problem.

You are right about me making an assumption.
I have to believe this: the forces who want to maintain the 'status quo' want to shut down civil discussion among citizens.
So, comes the assumption that the 'protestors' were trying to shut down a democratic process by shouting down Americans who had a basic right to express themselves.

BTW, I liked your idea of Christians living more simply and with less materialism. There is much wisdom in what you said there. Love, L's

Jeff said...

L's I see the protestors as exercising their right to be heard. The reality is that the Town Hall meeting aren't what D.C. tells us they are...In reality it is more like the politician telling us to get on board. They don't like for people to question them.

Tim Marsh said...


Read my comments above yours...We may not be on close on the theological spectrum but we may have something to talk about regarding this issue.

Bryan Riley said...

I'd say the answer to the question is "no." Neither is private for profit. But, where is the Church's solution? Jeff asks good questions. Just imagine if the Body of Christ truly lived Acts 2.

Tim Marsh said...

One thing that I am missing in this discussion is how one's position relates to one's worldview shaped by the Christian experience.

How does your faith inform your position? That was the question at the outset.

Ramesh said...

This is from an engineer's perspective :)

Google offers 20 percent time off to work on projects that each engineer chooses to do ...

Wiki > Google.
Innovation Time Off
As a motivation technique (usually called Innovation Time Off), all Google engineers are encouraged to spend 20% of their work time (one day per week) on projects that interest them. Some of Google's newer services, such as Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense originated from these independent endeavors.[115] In a talk at Stanford University, Marissa Mayer, Google's Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, stated that her analysis showed that 50% of the new product launches originated from the 20% time.[116]

NYT > The Google Way: Give Engineers Room.
GOOGLE engineers are encouraged to take 20 percent of their time to work on something company-related that interests them personally. This means that if you have a great idea, you always have time to run with it.

It sounds obvious, but people work better when they’re involved in something they’re passionate about, and many cool technologies have their origins in 20 percent time, including Gmail, Google News and even the Google shuttle buses that bring people to work at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

If your 20 percent idea is a new product, it’s usually pretty easy to just find a few like-minded people and start coding away. But when the thing you really want to work on is to make a broad change across the whole organization, you need something new — you need a “grouplet.”

Google's 20 percent time undergoes rehab.

Though due to economic stresses Google Management is reigning in this innovative idea.

Why can't doctors, nurses and medical technicians do this? I know for lawyers they have pro bono work.

Just imagine if each doctor and nurse give 1 to 2 months of their time doing focused free care, either as part of a larger group offering free medical help or individually or through church groups.

This would truly revolutionize medical care, especially for people who can not afford it or for people who do not have paper work to qualify for government assistance. Churches can easily jump start these groups.

Tim Marsh said...


Good question. "We used to" is the key word there.

However, health care has changed since then. But, you are right, our contributions to such institutions, at the very least, is not emphasized.

Lydia said...

" When did health insurance become unaffordable? If one looks at a historical time line you will see that health care costs began to escalate when the government began to heavily regulate the industry. Many people forget that it was Ted Kennedy that created the HMO, which was to be the panacea. "

Oh my goodness! You are right. I forgot all about the big push for HMO's. Which means "mangaged care" but who has managed it? Government with their regulations. In many ways we already have socialized medicine.

I can remember back in the early 80's we offered health insurance to our employees for a pretty competitive rate. When it was regulated by a new governor who promised everyone could be covered, many changes occured such as you could no longer pick and choose your coverage. For example, you had to have maternity coverage even if you were a single 20 year old male. And the cost skyrocketed and many Health insurance providers pulled out of our state. We were left with only 3 health insurance companies. And those who were self insured could no longer afford 4-500 bucks a month.

Someone told me a while back to look into the cosmetic industry which does not operate on health insurance. Yes, the regulation and malpractice insurance are high but think about getting surgery for 5,000-10,000 bucks.

Ray said...


My view about health care is formed by my biblical view of personal accountability and a "hard work" ethic. The 'poor' in the bible were those who were "unable" to take care of themselves, and in reality the term did not have a monetary meaning as it does today. I believe there should be an option for those who are unable to take care of themselves and in fact we do; it is called welfare.
But the numbers of the uninsured reflect that just over half are between 18-35 and simply do not want to pay for it. Another portion of the uninsured are illegal immigrants. That leaves a very small number who have no option and many would be covered if they went to the appropriate government agency.
What about quality of care? Is that a moral issue? I believe it is. If I am willing to work hard and pay for good quality care, what right does the government have to take that away from me? A government option will eventually put private care out of business except for the super rich.
When was the last time that someone received better care from a government agency as opposed to a private company?

Tim Marsh said...

One thing to think about: our health care costs are at a high rate because of the high costs of malpractice insurance.

Everytime the courts award money beyond the cost of the care, for pain and suffering, especially into the millions, the cost of our health care increases.

Though law suits are a good check and balance to the system, they contribute to the cost of everyone's care.

And, hospitals do not pay malpractice insurance. The doctors do.

Tim Marsh said...


I appreciate your reply.

I think that explicitly connecting our views on the issue is for the integrity of a Christian conversation.

Puppeting our political views demonstrates no connection of our views to the text. (Or our experiences likewise.)

Lydia said...

"That leaves a very small number who have no option and many would be covered if they went to the appropriate government agency. "

That is not true at all. It is almost impossible to get government health care UNLESS, you are a senior, disabled, pregnant woman or a child. Children are the easiest ones to get coverage for.

Everyone else is out of luck. And that is the problem. Folks are losing their jobs and Cobra is cost prohibitive. When you lose your job, you have an extra 400 bucks lying around for insurance? A family plan is even more depending on what your company has negotiated with the insurers.

And we are seeing it happen to so many around us. This is what the folks at SBTS faced when laid off. And they did not even have unemployment to fall back on. A bit of severance pay is it. I know a few who applied for government health insurance and were turned down except for covering the children. The adults could not get covered.

And with Obama's policies, layoffs and small business are failing like crazy. Actually, it is a prfect time to propose taking over the medical industry.

Christiane said...

They have Nixon on tape in his office discussing how Kaiser-Permanente would profit by cutting the health care of its clients.
Nixon's response to the info:

"Not bad."

I think people need to realize that the profit motive has hurt us badly. And I think they need to realize who it WAS and who it IS who maintains all the myths.

Ramesh said...

Profits by themselves are not bad. What is bad is profits without any competition. Mainly by politicians intervention.

The Problem with Profits.
In short, the thing that we should celebrate is not high profits, but competition. The pursuit of high profits is what motivates competition; but if a whole industry achieves high profits, then what you are seeing is not competition, but its opposite.

Now what’s going on in health care? Look at page six of this report (pdf). In most states, the combined market share of the top two health insurers is well over sixty percent. That is not a competitive market, but a market controlled by one or two companies.

Steve Young said...

Good discussion. I know there is a problem. Iwas recently rejected for insurance because of a pre-existing condition, but I understand. I cannot insure my car after a wreck, my house after a fire, my life when I am terminal, so I understand.

For all the venom directed at insurance companies, they are not alone in sharing in the problem. Bottom line - if you pay out more than you take in you can't last long. Insurance companies make profit in investments, not in collecting premiums.

Do I trust Insurance companies to do right? No, but I trust government less. I do trust God to care for me and my family.

Can government control cost? My parents are on Medicare - they also pay about $750 per month to have coverage they need.

I listened to the towm hall meeting in Montana. I wish i had counted the number of times the President said "insurance companies." If that is the only area addressed, reform will not work. Address: Personal responsibility (my grandparents lived long and only visited a doctor when necessary). Hospitals and Doctors need reform. Legal climate, malpractrice needs addressed. Expectations. If you really believe $6000 for an annual premium can pay for 60,000 in care with no further out of pocket expense, that is unrealistic.

For the church - yes, we must play a role and should not abdicate our responsibility to the government. We are not a large church, but we have helped several in our church family with health care expense.

Do I have the answers? No, but anyone that focuses on one aspect of the problem doesn't have an answer either.

Steve in Montana

Ray said...

You did not read all my post. Those who are "unable" to take care of themselves are those who have a physical or mental ailment that then qualifies them for disability and/or welfare.

Those who do not make much money but who are healthy and capable of working can work more, earn more, and pay for their own health insurance like I did in college, seminary, etc. If there is going to be rationing of care, then I should be the one to ration my care by what I am willing and able to do to pay for it.

Ray said...

Let me also be clear, I am for reform, just not a government take over. Many in the media have referenced the Military as an example of government run health care. As a veteran let me explain why that analogy is not a good one. The reason Military health care works is because the government owns you. When you join the military you forfeit your constitutional rights, save the right to vote and fall under the UCMJ. You have no choice, you go to the doctor you are told to go to, you do what they say and you have no recourse and let's just say the bedside manner is somewhat less than a private, for profit, hospital.
Maybe those supporting a public option are in favor of the government owning them but I seriously doubt it.

greg.w.h said...

Christiane wrote:

I think people need to realize that the profit motive has hurt us badly. And I think they need to realize who it WAS and who it IS who maintains all the myths.

I think we have to be very careful about blaming the "profit motive". Our economy grows year over year because capitalists invest money on risk with the thought that they can create products and services that people pay for. We are free to pay for those products and services or not to do so.

Why do people live into the 80s and 90s today when at the time of the creation of Social Security the average lifespan was in 60s? Profit motive. Doctors and researchers and pharmas all looked at specific medical problems in terms of a cost-benefit analysis to determine WHICH problems to solve first to help fund the solution of the problem.

Yes the pharmas make a profit off of that. But people live longer because of the profit. If their pharmaceuticals do not work or have deadly side effects, guess who's liable for the damages? And who pays them back for research on drugs that are considered to risky for use?

Want to move all of that research and development under full public investment with no private capital? I know, I know: Europe, Britain, and Canada all have nationalized health care. So somehow THEY are able to do it with just public investment with no private investment, right? No, American consumers participate heavily in the research and development of new pharmas that benefit the WHOLE WORLD. Canada and Britain use their nationalized health care systems either to deny the right to sell expensive pharmas or to use collective bargaining to set the price far below what Americans pay.

We could blow up all of the research and development by reducing the profit motive or by standing off at a distance and sniffing at those greedy insurance and pharma companies. They employ people, you know. Some of those people go to churches and participate in the church and tithe.

Same thing for the medical profession. It takes about 11 years to mint a new doctor and he or she is on the hook for most of the expense during that training. Take away the profit motive and who pays back the loans? And what do they live off of if everyone in their office gets paid but their practice doesn't make money? We think of those offices as "corporations", but many of them are sole prop, S-corp, partnership, or LLC. Their "income" and the "gross operating profit" are essentially the same thing.

I think, borrowing from a certain parable, that it is unwise to tear down your barns to build new ones without a keen eye on how you fill the new barns with animals and grain. The profit motive is very much the incentive to work that drives our nation's economy. It is the current barn. Let's not tear it down on the promise of a new, better barn that may not be able to be built.

Greg Harvey

Ray said...

Well said Greg,

Let me also add that while we do have a problem with the uninsured, the question that must be asked is if the problem provides an adequate reason to endanger freedom by taking over 17% of the economy. The right to private property, to enter into contracts, and profits is part of our guaranteed freedom.

Chris Ryan said...


Let me respond to that from a different angle, and with a wee bit of devil's advocate. You say, "the question that must be asked is if the problem provides an adequate reason to endanger freedom by taking over 17% of the economy." Since we are trying to do this from a biblical perspective, is freedom even a biblical ideal that I should be overly concerned about *as a Christian*? I realize it is an american ideal. But in a Gospel that calls us to a slave-ish love of God and neighbor, is it more important that your freedom is preserved or that those who can't help themselves are taken care of? Under a gospel that is just as potent if it is in a democracy or a dictatorship, what does freedom really have to do with it *as a Christian*? What political rights are you and I really guaranteed by the Gospel?

Ray said...

That assumes that I believe government health care actually takes care of people. Which I do not (see Canada and the UK). The word "poor" in both the Greek and Hebrew referred to those who were either physically unable to provide for themselves or who were slaves and therefore lacked the freedom to provide for themselves. So freedom is a biblical issue or else slavery would be acceptable.
I think, that protecting freedom and urging one's neighbor to provide for themselves, is an act of loving one's neighbor.

Christiane said...

When your HMO denies you a needed service and the appeal of your doctors goes for nothing,

then, does the 'profit-motive' still have the same glorious luster of freedom about it?

No one is debating the 'right' of anyone to make a profit. But your right to make a profit stops where Grandma's right to live begins.

It's a question of 'family values' or the worth of a human life.

Why are there so many conflicted conservatives when it comes to supporting life in ALL of its stages? No offense, but there is definitely a public relations problem driven by the contrast between 'supporting life' when it doesn't cost you, and refusing to support life when it does.

Ramesh said...

L's: There are lot of non-profits that pay outrageous amount to their leaders. Here the profits would only go to their shareholders. Of course they also pay exorbitant amount their leaders too. But this is america. For some reason a CEO feels 100 million dollars a year is too small for him. They need to make more.

My point is in capitalist systems, what drives companies to better service is competition. Without true competition, everything stagnates. If Government or private industry collusion creates a setup where this competition is stifled or stacked against the consumer, then private enterprise does worse than what government can provide.

I personally prefer a government insurance plan as a backup for people who can not get insurance through private means. As a bargaining chip, the government can negotiate better rates on medical procedure coverage and pharmaceuticals than private insurers. This might involve forgoing on new drugs and expensive unproven treatments.

I think the fear here is the private insurance industry will be co opted by the government, for all businesses will choose to pick the government insurance option (if available) for cost reasons and the private health insurance will collapse.

I do not know how much of this fear is valid. If the government is so bad in delivery of medical care, then private insurance folks do not have to be afraid. But the cost structure analysis say the private insurance folks are somewhat valid in their fears, for the true fear is the government can deliver the same medical coverage lot cheaper than private insurance.

Where do Churches fit in all this?

I still feel Churches can use this crises as an opportunity to evangelize by providing poor people with medical care by the donations of time and supplies of the medical professionals in their pews and others for medical supplies. This would truly show the heart of the Church and true nature of Christianity to unChurched or non-believers.

Joe Blackmon said...


I busted my tail, worked 3 sometimes 4 jobs to get through school right after my daughter was born to get through with school studying accounting. I did this for the purpose of getting a good job to take care of my wife and children. Now, after I put in those backbreaking hours of work, why should I have to give up what I've earned.

As I'd said, I don't have a problem helping folks who can't help themselves regarding medical care. I'm not even opposed to taxpayer money going to that end. But to tell me that I have to give up my health insurance and be on the same plan as everyone else makes no sense. If they want to be where I am, let 'em do the work. If they can't and need help, let's help them.

Further, let's make sure that all of our elected officials included President Obama and his children have to be on this system.

Christiane said...


My Pop was the same. I understand where you are coming from.

How is it that you feel you will have to give your benefits up?
Have you been threatened that this is going to happen? Tell me why you are so concerned about losing what you have now. (if you want to share) I can see that you are upset over this.
Love, L's

Joe Blackmon said...

President Obama has said (heard it first hand--well it was a recording but it was him speaking) that "We're not going to be able to get rid of employer health insurance in the first few years". In other words, everyone, except of course elected officials, their families, and a few others, are going to have to go with a government run health care program. He claims that's not what's in the bill but in fact it is and the Democrats have made it clear that they're not interested in taking that out.

Again, help those legal American citizens who have no health insurance and keep your hands off mine, lawmakers.

Lin said...

Why are there so many conflicted conservatives when it comes to supporting life in ALL of its stages? No offense, but there is definitely a public relations problem driven by the contrast between 'supporting life' when it doesn't cost you, and refusing to support life when it does.

Wed Aug 19, 04:52:00 PM 2009

Can you make the case that government will support life in all it's stages? I would certainly like to hear that case being made.

You are assuming if one takes away the profit motive that will change. I believe it will get worse all the way around. And for many of the reasons stated here starting with the problem of doctors.

And it is unfair to cast conservatives here as not supporting life when it costs us. Perhaps you are not aware of those conservatives who give money to children's hospitals, hospice, etc.

You are assuming government programs will be more compassionate and altruistic. We have too many examples of just the opposite both past and current. From totalitarian regimes to our own problems of 'managed care' and government regulations.

And we can start with our veterans and how government health care treated them. Or mistreated them, actually.

In Economics,if you increase supply the price drops and competition from this brings quality. Because we have price controls on much of health care, we are in effect, rationing it to a certain degree. And high malpractice insurance has driven many independent doctors to work for the big companies.

I would hope that we could start there with better solutions. Because we are headed for more rationing and with that some bureaucrat in an office somewhere will have to decide which lives are worth prolonging and which ones aren't.

Ray said...

The public option is structured so that it has an unfair advantage. It does not pay corporate taxes which health insurance companies do (wonder who they pass that cost to) and they will have a better bargaining advantage than the private companies. Many businesses will take advantage of the public option and stop offering insurance forcing people into the public option. Once you are in the public option, the current bill states that you cannot leave.
Furthermore, simply look to Canada and the UK. Seniors are continually denied care in order to control costs. The top Canadian doctor said yesterday that there system is on the verge of imploding. How is that morally superior to our system?
If your HMO denies a service you have options, but those options require that "you" do something.

Lin said...

Joe, my sources tell me that neither congress or most federal employees will be subject to Obama's health care plan as it stands now.

That is the best reason to be against any bill that requires citizens to be a part of it but not congress or federal employees.

Lin said...

"The public option is structured so that it has an unfair advantage. It does not pay corporate taxes which health insurance companies do (wonder who they pass that cost to) and they will have a better bargaining advantage than the private companies. Many businesses will take advantage of the public option and stop offering insurance forcing people into the public option. Once you are in the public option, the current bill states that you cannot leave. "

I did not think about this. And if you consider that the fastest growing sector are public employees, including state and local government workers, which even includes most universities, the private plans will not have a chance to survive.

And they know this. In effect, we really will not have a choice.

Ray said...

Let's stir the pot a bit,

Does the medical knowledge that a Doctor acquires belong to him, or to the public? Is his knowledge private property or communal property? If health care is a right then a Doctor does not own his medical knowledge and can therefore be forced to treat anyone, anywhere, and at anytime for any or no cost at all. But if it belongs to him then he can share that knowledge for a profit and the government has no right to limit that profit as is the case in all countries that have socialized medicine.

Christiane said...

Dear RAY,

You wrote this:

" urging one's neighbor to provide for themselves, is an act of loving one's neighbor."

So, Christ was criticizing the 'Good' Samaritan who stopped to help the man at the side of the road who had been left for dead?

I just don't understand. Are we supposed to care for one another or not? Are we a community? Are we a Church? Are we a nation? Or just 'individuals' on our own and alone? What is it that the Gospel taught exactly?

Maybe I didn't see the part that said it was better to just 'walk on by'.

Christiane said...


Wouldn't it be better for some of our citizens not to have to lose their benefits when they lose their jobs?

Didn't Obama say that was the object of providing another alternative?

I think he wants to keep what is working and get rid of waste and extravagance; and then, I think he wants to fill in the 'gaps' that need to be addressed.
That is very basically my take on what he is doing. One thing you can bet on, he is not playing footsie with the special interests who have been robbing all of us.

Joe Blackmon said...


That, my dear, is a red herring. Now if it was a cherry herring I'd be ok but it's just red.

The good samaritan was helping someone who was helpless at that moment. He also didn't provide help to the man for the rest of his life. He helped him recover from his injuries. That is a far cry from telling someone "You are able bodied enough to get out and earn a living for yourself and your family" or "You are welcome to come into this country as long as you do so legally".

Ray said...

The man on the road was unable to care for himself. That is not the case with the majority of the uninsured. I have already said that I support government help for those who are "unable" to help themselves. I think, however, you and I would disagree on just who is unable to help their self.

Joe Blackmon said...


Great minds...

Ray said...


I do not equate the government redistribution of wealth with Jesus' command to care for our neighbor. One is involuntary and the other is compulsory without actually helping in the long run.

Jon L. Estes said...

How do the masses of non-citizen residents in our country fit into this discussion?

Joe Blackmon said...

It would depend on if they're here legally or not. I'm not sure what to do about legal aliens but those that were here illegally should have no access to anything beyond emergency health care without someone signing up to pay for it. Churches could make donations to local hospitals and Christian doctors could offer their services as a donation to help with that.

Other than that, criminals should be punished. Period.

Ramesh said...

Viruses and Bacteria do not care before they infect the host if they are legal or illegal citizen or aliens of this country. Actually they do not even consider the national borders. Given the high frequency of travel of by people around the world, we are all in together. I know it's populist sentiments to bash illegal aliens and mexicans for swine flu. The same happened with gays and aids. And now in India Aids is infecting so many women. Of course the method of infection is still the same, that is by unprotected sex.

What I am saying, there are no more closed borders or doors for diseases. Just like you pollute the water or air in China, India or US, the whole world suffers because of it.

So for infectious diseases we need to think out of the box and address the problem globally.

Ray said...

Everyone who goes to an emergency room must be treated. That is the law and that is ethical. If they are illegal, they should be treated and then turned over to immigration.

Rex Ray said...

You said, “The reason Military health care works is because the government owns you.”

I’ll take issue with your statement on two points. The government does NOT own me, but it does OWE the service men and women who stood for our country in time of peace and war.

How ‘good’ does “The Military health care works”?

About ten years ago, I had a bad spot on my nose. The VA doctor had me see a specialists a month later. He squeezed it and concluded there was nothing to be done.

A year later, a new VA doctor said, “What’s with the nose?” and a specialists took a sample and it tested cancer.

A private doctor said if they had done the test for cancer, he would have done the necessary operation the same day. He did a good job.

Hi Christiane,
I say hi because you always say hi. :}
You said, “One thing you can bet on, he is not playing footsie with the special interest who have been robbing all of us.”

I don’t want to highjack Wade’s good post into Obama, but wasn’t his lawyer’s legal fees around $75,000 for ‘helping’ Annie May or Freddy Mack? Correct me if I’m wrong because my memory is not what it used to be.

Christiane said...

Here is something to think about:

The following comes from the Judaic tradition and I quote from Rabbi Lamm:

"Charity is sparked by the demands of compassion. One cannot bear to see a person in pain or starving, so his sense of sympathy compels him to help that person.

If there were no pitiful situation, would be no compassion necessary and no charity given.

But kindness requires a broader, more sensitive heart that entails developing a 'chesed' persona -- integrating it into one's personality. In such an event, chesed (kindness like that of our God) will not be a value forthcoming only in response to sadness, but an ever-present quality which will anticipate needs, construct wholesome situations, and initiate acts of benevolence for needs undetected by others.

Thus, charity is generally judged by the recipient -- the magnitude of the pain suffered will determine the degree of assistance to relieve that pain.

Kindness, on the other hand, is to be judged by the giver --
the kind of caring that person is capable of will determine the nature and degree of the remedy."

HOW we are we, as Christian people, asked to care for one another:

just 'as we would like to be treated'?


wasn't there something MORE in Christ's request of us? Something about caring for others the way HE cares for us.

That raises the bar just a little bit, doesn't it?
we are asked to have
'kindness like that of Our God'

Love, L's

Paul Burleson said...

Bob Cleveland's comment found it's way to another blog [I won't say for good or bad] and was responded to by a commenter with this....

r. grannemann says

The only problem with insurance companies is trying to get your money.

Otherwise Mr. Cleveland may be correct that the primary cost of health care in on the medical side, not on the insurance side. His 1% to 3% percent profit margin sounded a little thin to me, so I looked it up. For Aetna check out


Revenue was 36.37 billion (money they collected from you and me). Income was 1.26 billion (what was left after administrative expenses and paying hospitals and doctors). That’s 3.67% profit margin. Yahoo’s tables lists 3.85%. I would say Mr. Cleveland was substantially correct.

I like it when a friend like Bob is found to be substantially correct. :)

Joe Blackmon said...

Sorry L's

Saying that Christians should help people in need does not necessitate government run health care. Or giving free health care to people who could work for it.

Again, I have no problem helping folks out who can't get health insurance get some kind of health insurance. However, 2 questions that liberals will not answer:

What right do federal employees and elected officials have to be exempt from government run health care?

Why does health care for folks that need help mean that I have to give up my health insurance?

Christiane said...

There are other 'costs'.
The ones that don't show up on the bean-counters' ledger sheets.

My brother told of a test to detect an obscure genetic disorder that could be screened at birth and, if the child carried this problem, medication could be given to prevent the resulting devastation.

The cost of the test was considered 'too much' for the insurance companies to sanction.
The argument was that 'so few' children would be affected that it didn't make 'cents' to test all newborns.

One of my brother's new patients, a five-year old, came to his mother's bed, said, 'Mom, I feel sick', threw up, and collapsed.
That was the last time the child ever spoke. He carried that gene for the disease.

My brother went to Congress with the child's mother to testify about the need for insurance companies to allow this testing for all newborns.

Sometimes the 'costs' are more than just 'financial'. Love, L's

Christiane said...

Dear JOE,

You wrote, "Why does health care for folks that need help mean that I have to give up my health insurance?"

Joe, I just don't think this is going to happen. I think it is a 'scare tactic'. That, of course, is my own opinion.

I am SO OPINIONATED on the issue, for so many reasons, if I sound a little bit 'over the top', forgive. I don't want to see ANYONE abused, least of all someone like you, Joe. I want to see things improve for everyone.
As long as a segment of our society is 'in trouble', we are all of us 'in trouble'. It needs to stop. We CAN do something about it. Love, L's

Lydia said...


Can you guarantee that government run health care would mean we would get these needed tests and treatments?

Would the government be buying tests and supplies from 'for profit' companies or would they have to nationalize them, too, in order to keep costs down?

Why do you equate government run with everyone getting what they need health wise?

And why isn't Congress required to have the same health plan? Shouldn't that send up a red flag?

Christiane said...

No guarantees.

But what we have now is not working for all of our citizens.

Should we then do nothing?

If all comes to naught, at least the children have already been helped. That is, until the next administration, perhaps.
No guarantees.
Not even for the children.

Joe Blackmon said...


I have heard Obama say it with his own mouth. He said we're not going to be able to get rid of employer health insurance programs initially. If he says we can't do it intially that means it is a goal of his.

He said it. Not me.

I am in full agreement that something needs to be done to help reform health care. In my home state, we have a program the provides health insurance (well child visits too) for children who are uninsured until they are 18. There is also a problem where adults who do not have insurance offered at their jobs where the state pays a part of the premium, the employer pays a part, and the employee pays a part. AND no one has to give up health insurance they already have. Why not try some variation on a theme of that?

Debbie Kaufman said...

How many of you are or will be on medicaide or medicare later in life? Obama has a point in that is government run insurance.

My parents are on medicaide. It has served them well. They are in their 70's and it has paid for everything. Medicines, eye care, teeth, surgeries, everything. They couldn't have afforded that on their own.

My inlaws were very well off until they decided to sell their home and move into a nursing home run duplex. They ended up long story short, in the nursing facility in less than a year after moving into the duplex. They lost almost all their money due to penalties for moving, and nursing care. They had insurance, they also paid on nursing home insurance for over twenty years that turned out to be bogus. We ended up as a family having to apply for medicaide for them, but they both passed away before we could get all the paperwork through.

My husband's grandmother, my mother n'laws mother, who was also well off before being placed in a nursing home, also ended up on medicaide having her money all soaked up by the nursing home she was in.

Something is wrong when Americans work hard for their money, have insurance, yet end up practically destitute in order to pay medical costs. They end up on government run insurance anyway.

Joe Blackmon said...


Give me a stinkin' break. "They end up on it anyway". "Medicare---that's good stuff there, buddy." Whatev. Why don't you go look at Canada or England and see what great care their government takes of them. And again, no liberal will touch these two questions with a ten foot pole:

What right do the lawmakers have to exempt themselves and their families from this government run garbage they're trying to shove down our throats?

What right do they have to take health insurance away from people who already have it as Obama has said himself is their intention? No, I don't have a link to the interview but I heard it on the radio--in his own voice he said it.

david b mclaughlin said...

After scanning through these comments I am going to have to chime in. I work for an insurance company as a corporate trainer so I have a few things to say.

1. Bob's right. Margins are slim. AHIP lists average at 2.2%. And yes-profits are made from investments, not premiums.

2. Don't forget-you want your insurance company to be profitable so they can pay your claim when you need it.

3. Profits go into reserves to pay those claims. Profits are also required by ratings services and state insurance boards. Otherwise ratings go down or you are shut down.

4. The higher the profits-the higher the rating-which means you trust that company more to be able to pay your claim. If you dont like companies with high profits go ahead and sign up with a low rated company and see how well you sleep at night.

5. The company I work for takes paying every claim possible seriously and I am personally offended by the idea in the letter and that many folks have that insurance companies would rather let a kid die than pay a claim. WE often pay claims we are not required to. Some companies do some dont. But we do.

6. To demand universal coverage-in my mind you have to convince me that health insurance is an unalienable right. I dont see it but maybe you do.

7. Theologically- as Christians WE are told to take care of the poor and downtrodden. WE are not told to send our $ to the govt and have them do it. Therefore I conclude it is Christian to personally help people in need.

8. Whether the govt does or does not provide universal health care is not a theological matter. It is a political matter. Theological arguments for or against it are missing the point. See #7.

9. I really really really...

10. Wanted to get to ten.

Love & Mercy,

ps-the opinions posted here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, church, pastor, Wade, Bob, my wife, children, or any sane human being.

david b mclaughlin said...

One more thought as people keep bring up medicare. Remember that you buy your medicare your whole working life. You pay for it.

Whether or not you pay enough for it is irrelevant. You dont set the rates. The govt does.

Jonquil said...


That comment by Obama was clipped from a full sentence. See here:

I would hope that we could set up a system that allows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort. But I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out where we've got a much more portable system. Employers still have the option of providing coverage, but many people may find that they get better coverage, or at least coverage that gives them more for health care dollars than they spend outside of their employer. And I think we've got to facilitate that and let individuals make that choice to transition out of employer coverage.

What he said was that he wanted to give people choices, because employer-provided health care was not always the best choice for every person. And it isn't; I've had friends who catastrophically lost their health insurance because their employers got rid of it, or because they were laid off.

Christiane said...

"Is Government Health Care a Christian Solution?"

Right now, the poor are 'marginalized' in the wealthiest country in the world, and their health statistics testify to that marginalization.

My faith calls me to do everything I can to end their marginalization and bring the poor into the center of my Church: they are to be at our heart.

Their health care is my concern. If they have no other options, then yes, a government option would be a moral and ethical solution. They have the right to live. And to do it with dignity, befitting their status as human beings, made in the image of God.

Lin said...

"7. Theologically- as Christians WE are told to take care of the poor and downtrodden. WE are not told to send our $ to the govt and have them do it. Therefore I conclude it is Christian to personally help people in need."

Very good point. We are expecting Caesar to do it for us.

But my concern is that our money will be spent for government health plan abortions and for euthinasia for those older folks who are not 'productive'. (That poor choice of a word was used in a certain interview. I do not have a link to it but does it sound familiar to you history buffs?)

Jeff said...

Just saw that firms associated with our current president would PROFIT from the current health care push.

Jeff said...

If the poor have the right to good health. How many poor people did Jesus heal while on earth? Just wondering?

Jeff said...

Does everything work currently for all of our citizens?

Christiane said...


if you suffered set-backs in your finances and ended up homeless, job-less and broke (God forbid),

how would you want to be treated?

Like an American citizen with dignity and the same basic rights as other Americans?

or as a charity case holding your hand out hoping for help ?

Questions to think about:
Is health care a basic American right?
Is it a basic human right?
If not, who should be able to get health care? Who determines that?

And who now is determining who is not eligible for health benefits?
And why? Costs?
Or Costs?

Answer: Costs. :)

Lin said...


I have been through exactly that. My dignity comes from Christ.


Jeff said...

L's, Costs will run govt run health care! Don't be deceive govt run health care will create more problems, than solutions.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Joe: I have a friend who lives in Canada. She lost her husband to cancer. She told me that her husband received excellent medical care and it didn't cost them a dime, a big relief after he passed away.

I am weighing in on things myself, but medicaid is government funded care. Most of us will be or are on it in our elder years. That is a fact that has yet to be addressed by those so against government funded care. And give me a break isn't an answer, because I'll bet my paycheck that you will be one who will be on it in your elder years. I don't know of one elderly person who isn't on it in one form or another.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Dave said: As for medicare, you pay for it. You may not pay enough but you pay for it.

My answer: It's a government program run by the government, and if we don't pay enough then we use other's money who pay into it as well. So wouldn't that be considered socialist as well? I would answer yes if the definition is as those opposed to the health care plan insist. Face it it's what ever we value that will get us more for ourselves.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

I agree with you saying, “But what we have now is not working for all of our citizens.”

The company I retired from, LTV, had excellent hospital etc. coverage.

Four years ago they paid for everything when I got sick on spoiled hotel food which tore blood vessels on the inside.

I was in a hospital in ten minutes but still passed out and quit breathing from loss of blood since I was on the drug warfarin (rat poison). The first news from the operating room was a nurse telling my wife to pray.

This year LTV cancelled our insurance and replaced it with a payment of $250/month to buy our own.
Wonder who played “footsie” with who to get that done?

And our 102 year old church member got kicked out of a rest home when she was 99 because of some regulation. She lives with her nephew.

Christiane said...


Do you have adequate coverage now?

The lady of 102, she deserves to be treated like a human being. That is so very sad. Love, L's

Christiane said...


I hope not.
I think a gov't option will help those who have no hope at this time. That is a lot of people.

Love, L's

Rex Ray said...

Hi Christiane,
To answer your question, being 77, I have Medicare, VA, and $250/month to buy good food and vitamins.

Of the three, I think the most adequate is the last. :)

Lydia said...

That is a fact that has yet to be addressed by those so against government funded care. And give me a break isn't an answer, because I'll bet my paycheck that you will be one who will be on it in your elder years. I don't know of one elderly person who isn't on it in one form or another.

Thu Aug 20, 01:09:00 AM 2009

Who can opt out? Unless one is stinking rich, one has no other choice. If one opts out, they end up paying 3x more.

And now, we have doctors who are not taking medicare patients anymore. Wonder why?

If Medicare is an example of the wonders of government run health care programs, we should be quaking in our shoes. Just wait until they take over the doctors and hospitals.

It will look like the VA.

Joe Blackmon said...


Give me a break wasn't supposed to be an answer. I was disparaging your praise of Obamacare.

Your friend was taken care of with cancer. Wow. That's just great. What about the thousands of people who have to get stand in line to get treated for diseases that the government decides is not serious enough to be attended to immediately if ever.

As Lydia pointed out, NO ONE gets to opt out of Medicare. Some doctors don't take those paitients because getting paid takes forever and there are obscene amounts of paper work to be completed.

The fact is there are few things Dems hate worse than anyone who has money. They want to see to it that no doctor makes over $45,000 per year is REALLY what this is all about.

1-What right do elected officials and federal employees have to be exempt from Obamacare?

2-What right do they have to take away health insurance from people who have it? The quote above proves that he envisions doing just that. He says "10, 15, 20 years out" but the time frame isn't the issue. It's that he wants to move away from having health insurance through the employer or make that so expensive you HAVE to choose Obamacare.

Lydia said...

Funny how folks have different experiences. My cousin was studying at McMaster U in Hamilton for 3 years and was pretty shocked to find so many folks from that area going into NY to get MRI's and other routine tests so they would not have to wait so long.

Joe Blackmon said...

Um, Lydia, being on the same team is like really creeping me out. I think I better use homosexuals and women pastors in the same sentence so something. Haa

Geoff Baggett said...


Good grief. Another well-meaning, albeit misinformed, individual. Sucked up into the lie that forces of the free market (i.e. companies ... in this case, insurance companies) are inherently evil. So sadly predictable.

Perhaps Chuck should take a stroll down to his local hospital and see who is truly "calling the shots" already in American healthcare. It is the price-fixing practices of our wonderful Uncle Sammy via Medicare.

Fixing our broken (no really) healthcare system would be easy. Completely remove the U.S. Government as a payer in that system, pass tort reform to put the clamps on frivolous lawsuits and bring malpractice premiums down, and provide tax credits for insurance premium purchases and Health Savings Accounts. The free market would bring about a precipitous drop in expenses.

Like Bob said, insurance companies operate on a 1%-3% profit margin. About the same as our local grocery stores. (Are they EVIL, too?) Any hospital is absolutely thrilled when someone walks through their door with private insurance. They know they're not going to actually lose money, as they do with a Medicare/Aid patient.

And how can we pay for this monstrosity, now that we are a half-step away from bankruptcy as a nation? And dare we trust the government to actually run our health system when it can only reimburse 2% of the car dealers in the "cash for clunkers" program?

Yeah ... right ...

Better stop now ... I'm getting worked up.

Wade, perhaps you could get one of your doctor-friends to pen a response to young Chuck's letter.

DL said...

"I am not a Christian but the impression I have of Christ is that he was always concerned about helping the less fortunate. He railed against those who store up goods on earth, the greedy, the selfish. He spent his time healing the sick, feeding the poor, and teaching people to love and care for each other."

While Jesus was all for helping others, he was also flatly against communism. Let's not forget that Jesus' teaching on covetousness was not first directed toward those of means. It was directed against a brother who wanted someone else to intervene and give him his brother's fortune. Greedy poor brother: "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus: "Stop coveting!" So while many want to make Jesus out to be Che, he was as clearly against the greed of socialism as capitalism. I'd suggest that everyone read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand to see the evil of social redistribution by force. Those who don't know history keep repeating it. Look at all the misery cast upon humanity in the name of equality. Russia. China. Cuba. Ethiopia. Korea. Vietnam. Cambodia.

Lydia said...

Um, Lydia, being on the same team is like really creeping me out. I think I better use homosexuals and women pastors in the same sentence so something. Haa

Thu Aug 20, 10:03:00 AM 2009

Joe, I have been trying to tell ya that all egals are not liberals.

Geoff, Great points

Darby, Ayn Rand? Seriously? She was on the same side of the coin as Che if you ask me. Che was a communist but Ayn was an objectivist. She was not an advocate of captialism but of 'egotism'.

DL said...


Wasn't giving the girl a full-fledged endorsement, though I must say if the world were objectively godless, then objectivism works better than communism. I just think she does a good job of showing the immorality of what many naturally think is loving - namely, claiming a right to have what others produce. I think the Bible calls that covetousness or stealing.

Joe Blackmon said...


You are right. I formally repent of saying that all egals are liberals. Just most of them. Haa haa Ok, I have no idea what the percentage would be.

Joe Blackmon said...

See here's the thing--Ayn Rand wrote a book where the main charater was an architect. I can't take a writer seriously who writes about architects. I mean, good grief, accounting is more interesting than architecture.

Lydia said...

"Wasn't giving the girl a full-fledged endorsement, though I must say if the world were objectively godless, then objectivism works better than communism. "

Just as long as we do not have a bunch of Howard Roarks out there blowing up buildings. :o)

Lydia said...

See here's the thing--Ayn Rand wrote a book where the main charater was an architect. I can't take a writer seriously who writes about architects. I mean, good grief, accounting is more interesting than architecture.

Thu Aug 20, 10:59:00 AM 2009

Well, Alan Greenspan was in her 'Collective' group as a young student. Does that count?

DL said...

I wouldn't trade the fountainhead of man's self-esteem for the Fountain of Living Waters.

DL said...

Wow Lydia,

You know your Rand. Either you're a member of the Ayn Rand Institute or a perpetual listener of Glenn Beck. :)

DL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Fariss said...

Why are we having this discusion about government-provided health care to begin with? Because the Church took a pass on its responsibility!

Once upon a time, virtually all "hospitals" in the western world (and parts of the Middle east too) were operated by the church. Granted, several hundred of years ago, hospitals weren't but about a notch or two above voodoo and witch doctors, but they were at least there. A hundred years ago or so, most every denomination, at least in America, established hospitals. In cities of any size, you could find hospitals established by Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Presbyterians, not to mention Jewish and Catholic hospitals. I don't know about the Catholic and Jewish ones, but the protestant hospitals often still retain the name, but the Christian influence stops there, or at most with having a chaplain or two. Somewhere along the line, the conservative and evangelical Church, I supposed in reaction to the excesses of the liberal Social Gospel, decided that its mission was strictly spiritual, so the whole idea of being "good Samaritians" in medicine fell by the wayside. Several generations of American Christians have been raised on the interpretation that the Bible teaches only that we should help those physically unable to help themselves and help all others only by telling them, "Get a job," as many of the comments here illustrate. Personally, I don't see that. I have worked with unemployed and underemployed folks; and yes, there are some who work the system for all it is worth, but there are plenty of others who, despite their best efforts, remain unemployed or underemployed and without health insurance. And without the Church to meet their needs, private industry and the government came in to fill the void. And at this point, I don't see the Church trying to come back into the equation--partly because of the costs, and partly because too many conservative Christians are more conservative than they are Christian.

With the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, would it have happened exceeded the church's ability to handle on the basis of charity eventually? Maybe; but had the Church not abandoned this mission, I suspect healthcare would look very different today.

And by the way: Jesus was not against Communist, Darby. There was no such thing as Communism 2000years ago, so He no more spoke against that than He did against crack cocaine or internet pronography. We can deduce that He would not have supported communism or any system of government which denied His existance, but we make an exegetical mistake when we give His opinion on something which did not exist then.


DL said...

"Jesus was not against Communist, Darby. There was no such thing as Communism 2000years ago"

A rose by any other name, John. Perhaps the technical term "communism" wasn't spoken, but the underlying philosophy is as old as man.

Lydia said...

You know your Rand. Either you're a member of the Ayn Rand Institute or a perpetual listener of Glenn Beck. :)

Thu Aug 20, 11:05:00 AM 2009

True confession time. I flirted with Objectivism back in my younger days. I even have Leonard Peikoff cassettes lecturing on Aristotle.

John Fariss said...

Perhaps so Darby, but my ire is toward making the absolute statement, "Jesus . . . was also flatly against communism," as if He used those words. He did not, and when we say it as though He did without qualifying and explaining it, and our hearers--especially youth--realize we have overstated our case, then we loose credibility. And when we loose credibility, our presentation of the Gospel itself looses credibility.

Not to mention that when we say Jesus was against communism, and people read about the early church (in Acts) holding all property in commom, we have to sweat a bit and make some assumptions to explain that away.


Joe Blackmon said...

I have worked with unemployed and underemployed folks; and yes, there are some who work the system for all it is worth, but there are plenty of others who, despite their best efforts, remain unemployed or underemployed and without health insurance.

And I would have no problem with providing help for folks who are trying. I'm not too worried about using tax dollars to do it. However, and no one can or will answer this,:

What right does Congress have to exempt themselves and their families from Obamacare?

Why is it necessary for me to give up my health insurance to go on the government dole?

DL said...

"Not to mention that when we say Jesus was against communism, and people read about the early church (in Acts) holding all property in commom, we have to sweat a bit and make some assumptions to explain that away."

I'm grateful for your desire to see the gospel protected from ill explanation. If you understand anything about communism, you'll understand it is nothing like the first church "having all things in common." So no, we don't have to sweat, nor do we have to "explain that away." We're in some of the mess we're in because Christians uncritically accept a communist reading of the early church. The early church was all about giving of one's own stuff out of a heart of love, not forcing others to give their stuff away under threat of violence. And you're getting on me for potentially damaging the credibility of the gospel?

John Fariss said...


I have absolutely no problem with Congress and the Executive branch (and the Judicial too) having neither more nor less options than do we--in fact, yes, the same ones. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

And I read your Obama quote about getting rid of all private insurance, but as someone else pointed out, the context of his remark somewhat modify it. Consequently (1) I don't think that is what Congress is doing or that the President is advocating, and (2) I would certainly be opposed to anyone having to give up coverage they like. Quite frankly though: at my age (almost 57), insurance premiums are eating me alive. I was priced out of SBC insurance 6 or 7 years ago, and fortunantly, my wife gets decent family coverage through her employer (a doctor). Consequently, "getting on the government dole" is looking more and more attractive to me all the time. I suspect it will to you one of these days too, and for the same reasons.


I did not mean to insult you, so please accept my apopologies for that. We may slightly disagree on a few relevant passages, though probably more so on how easy it is to misuse than the actual meaning. The point I wanted to make--and failed to do so, at least effectively--is that when we we overstate Jesus' words, unsaved people and those of immature faith may realize that, then never give us the chance to correctly explain anything else. And I hear too many Christians (not meaning or implying you) make claims that Jesus was an advocate for capitalism, which is surely as much an error as to say He was an advocate of either communism or socialism.


DL said...


Thanks for your reply. I agree with you. In fact, I preached a message around the presidential election explaining how Jesus' ethic is heavenly rather than capitalist or communist. If experience is any indicator, I get under the skin of as many "conservative" Christians as "liberal" ones. And I wasn't being sarcastic when I said I'm grateful for your desire to protect the gospel from ill explanation. I think we all have trouble getting our point across at times.

Ramesh said...

True confession time. I flirted with Objectivism back in my younger days. I even have Leonard Peikoff cassettes lecturing on Aristotle.

Me too. :)

Christiane said...

I have this question:

is a human being in our country, made in the image of God,
whose right to life is sacred from the point of conception
to natural death,
deserving of respect
and of government protection ?

Joe Blackmon said...


How does that justify the government shoving Obamacare down our throats? How does that justify themselves making good and doggone sure that they nor their families will have to be on that plan? Do you really mean that there are absolutely no alternatives? Are you really willing to say that this is the only way to help folks? Really?

Tom Kelley said...

Something needs to be done, definitely. But I'm of the opinion that government is, as often, the source of the problem, not the cure of it. There are far, far better options than the legislation currently proposed by the majority party in Washington. For a voice of reason on this topic, read this article.

Christiane said...


I merely raise the question for thought, or for debate.

I cannot answer the question for anyone, nor would I.

Love you dearly, L's

Tom Kelley said...

I just received this little bit of humor via email:

Obama's health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it, and whose members will be exempt from it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke.

What could possibly go wrong?


Joe Blackmon said...

The answer to your question is "Of course and saying yes does not necessitate government run health care".

Christiane said...

Just to keep the ball rolling, here's another question:

And, ultimately,

Tom Kelley said...

Also ...

With Lydia & Joe Blackmon getting along so well, perhaps L's can lead us all in a little chorus of Kumbaya.

Smile, y'all. :)

Hey, Wade,
Isn't it nice to see a discuss where, in spite of significant differences of opinion, people are for the most part being so civil? Wouldn't it be nice to see folks take the same approach on disagreements about secondary and tertiary doctrines?

Christiane said...

So, when it comes to the right for life movement,
the protection of government is sought for 'the unborn'.

But not for 'the born' ?

I am having trouble with this thinking. I don't want to go where my thoughts lead me.

Tom Kelley said...

Hi, Christiana,
When I said "government" a moment ago I was referring to those who govern (that is, our elected representatives) and to the laws they have established. Ultimately those who govern derive their power by the consent (or at least toleraton) of the governed.

Christiane said...


Not today, dear one.
I'm sadly out of tune.
Love, L's

Don't you like point-counterpoint, or 'casual' debating of an issue, or even 'mild discussion'? I do, as long as it is civil and respectful.

So 'Kumbayah' is, I take it, anathema for evangelicals? What's the deal? Actually, I myself haven't heard it sung in years.
I wonder when it became a joke.
Love, L's

Tom Kelley said...

From the U.S. Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Seems to me we (the American people) are still in the phase of suffering that to which we have become accustomed.

DL said...

First, no one is deserving of government protection. It's all the grace of God. We all deserve hell.

Second, the government is the God-ordained entity that should, when functioning properly, approve what is good and avenge what is wrong.

Third, the pro-life movement desires protection for babies in the womb, and protection for anyone who happens to live outside the womb.

Fourth, the word protection connotes forbidding wrong-doing at the hands of another. If by protection, one means paying for health care, then the word protection has been subjected to the most unnatural mutation.

Christiane said...


It's me again.

You wrote: 'Ultimately those who govern derive their power by the consent (or at least toleraton) of the governed.'

I know. I used to teach civics.
To sixth graders. In the inner city. It wasn't easy for them to understand, 'cause they weren't aware of their potential.
Maybe we aren't either. Love, L's

Christiane said...

"If by protection, one means paying for health care, then the word protection has been subjected to the most unnatural mutation."

We wouldn't want to break any rules in our pursuit of providing care for someone who needed it in order to live.

Would we?

Tom Kelley said...

Yes, I do enjoy a healty, respectful, and civil debate. Unfortunately I do not always live up to my own ideals.

Not sure if Kumbaya is ever sung in evangelical circles these days, though it used to be. It does seem to be used a good bit in a satirical or sarcastic sense in recent years.

DL said...

"We wouldn't want to break any rules in our pursuit of providing care for someone who needed it in order to live.

Would we?"

I'm not following you.

Lydia said...

And, ultimately,

Thu Aug 20, 01:40:00 PM 2009

Oh, it is made up of folks who personally care about me and my family and they all, citizens every one, know what is best for me. The government is well aquainted with my specific problems and needs.

And I am just an ignorant fool if I cannot see that. :o)

Lydia said...

So, when it comes to the right for life movement,
the protection of government is sought for 'the unborn'.

But not for 'the born' ?

I am having trouble with this thinking. I don't want to go where my thoughts lead me.

Thu Aug 20, 01:45:00 PM 2009

I can help. Here is a clue: If someone does not believe an unborn baby is a human being then what makes you think they will think the invalid, say your Uncle Charlie, is worth spending millions on when there isn't enough to go around?

Why do you expect me to believe they will, all of a sudden, care about life at the other end?

Dr. Mike Kear said...

I see a lot of American Cultural Religion here and not a lot of Jesus. What happens if we lay aside politics and turn our attention to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ? Does it change anything? Is our Jesus a cultural caricature? Is our Jesus a slave to big corporations and profits? Is our Jesus a slave to the government? Can we even distinguish our Jesus from our cultural religion? What happens if we look to Him alone for the answers of how to living in relation to our neighbor?

OK, I'm done with the soapbox. My comments are usually just ignored or deleted, so... please, proceed with what you were saying.

Ramesh said...

L's: I admire your courage.

Eventually the government will pass some bill that will include coverage for all the uninsured. The way the bill is being discussed, it will all be in the private insurance plans. Well it will be a start.

The current system is not working. I know too many people who are currently suffering. Needlessly. These are young people who could contribute much more to society for simple operations. But they are denied coverage due to preexisting conditions. Of course they do not have the money for operations.

Trust me, lot of Churches can only do so much. Lot of this will overwhelm most churches.


A simple visit to emergency room runs about $4000-.

Pain killers to contain the pain costs about $500- a month.

Operations run in the 20,000 to 30,000 range.

Of course someone has to pay.

I see lot of families and young people making do with needless suffering. It's a cache 22. They can not work, because they are sick. They need insurance. But the only viable option is to go with a group plan under a company, but not individual plans, for they get rejected. Also their ER visit bills are astronomical. They have no hope of ever paying them, for they can not.

For these people, this bill will help. It is not the best, but any help in this regard will be a miracle for them.

Lydia said...

Dr. Mike,

Did you see the post title? Wade used Government and Christian in the same sentence.

Are you implying that Jesus would be for this plan? I am not so sure I am following you since, for once, we were on topic. :o)

Dr. Mike Kear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Mike Kear said...

Lydia, what I'm saying is that we as believers in Jesus Christ should start with who He is and what He teaches and and then fit our political views into conformity to Him. Instead, in our American Cultural Religion, I see people who have a political and/or economic view which holds a higher prioity than the teachings of Christ. Often that mindset starts with the cultural view (either right or left) and seeks to fit a caricature of Jesus into that view, i.e, to "Christianize" their presuppositions. I'm just wondering what would happen if the Jesus of the Bible were to gain preeminency in our worldview. Would our presuppositions be crushed? What if Matthew 25 happened today? I have more questions than answers!

Tim Marsh said...

Dr. Kear,

I agree totally with what you are saying.

It is a problem when others fail to connect their "political opinions" to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Regardless of what 'side' we are on, our positions carry little wait as "Christian Positions" if they are arguments from reason and/or experience.

What is the Christian Moral Vision in the New Testament and how do we respond as Christians to health care for the masses? What are our options and solutions?

I agree that many posts on this thread have failed to connect the issue of health care to a Christian moral vision.

However, I appreciate the civil and courteous nature of the conversation.

John Fariss said...

Dr. Kear,

Like I said earlier: the problem with some conservative Christians is that they are more conservative than they are Christian.

Not to beat up on any one group, by the same token, the problem with some liberal Christians is that they are more liberal than they are Christian.

Hence, as you say, some people "'Christianize' their presuppositions." I'd go a step further and say that some "Christianize" their prejudices. Now there's an oxymoron.

Unfortunantly, I do the same thing.

Sorry, everybody. I've been in a weird mood today.


Dr. Mike Kear said...

Thanks, Tim and John! I agree with you both. And I, too, appreciate the civil and courteous nature of the comments on this topic.

This subject is a great starting point for both personal renewal (by that I mean a self-evaluation in light of the Gospel) as well as an opportunity for evangelism - not in its normal sense of saving the lost, but in the sense of calling Christians back to the heart of the Gospel. I don't have the answers to fixing health care. I just think that if it's going to be a Christian solution then it must start with Christians being Christians rather than political ideologues. Personal accountability to the Gospel isn't any easier for me than anyone else, but that's where I have to start - with my own heart, my own worldview, my own relationship with Jesus.

Anonymous said...

A personal testimonial concerning health care.



Rex Ray said...

You are so right in saying, “And now, we have doctors who are not taking Medicare patients anymore.”

There are NO Neurologists in the Dallas area who will take only Medicare.

Without my wife teaching school for thirty years, we would not have found one.

Tom Kelley,
You made my day with your email.

Christiane said...

Dr. Mike,

I agree that it is very possible to remove Christ from our debate when we

1. Do not see Christ in the suffering of people who need health coverage, and

2. We do not see ourselves as a
integral part of the 'The Government'.

When we have made these two disconnects, then we can walk away from the problem with a clear conscience.

If we see connections, we cannot walk away anymore.

Lydia said...

Guys, I don't get it.

Isn't this presupposing about folks:

"What is the Christian Moral Vision in the New Testament and how do we respond as Christians to health care for the masses? What are our options and solutions?"

Or this

" Often that mindset starts with the cultural view (either right or left) and seeks to fit a caricature of Jesus into that view, i.e, to "Christianize" their presuppositions. I'm just wondering what would happen if the Jesus of the Bible were to gain preeminency in our worldview. "

1. Have you not seen some solutions put forth on this thread?

2. Are either of you suggesting that to oppose this health plan is unChristian? If not, then why are you presupposing this dialogue projects an unChristian view?

3. The Body of Christ is to take care of one another. It has already been mentioned here how Christians did this and more when they funded Hospitals.

Anyone want to take a guess why we do not run hospitals anymore and the time frame that phased out?

I get the feeling that more than L's is trying to suggest that to oppose this health care plan is unChristian. Would a Christian really look to Caesar for answers?

But in the end, none of you guys have given what you deem is the appropriate Christian solution except to say one has to start with themselves. If that is the case, then why make it a blog topic? The blog title post also has the word 'solution' in it. Many are discussing what is and what is not a solution.

"I agree that many posts on this thread have failed to connect the issue of health care to a Christian moral vision."

I would be real interested to hear your take on health care, government and a Christian moral vision. Not just platitudes but real solutions. Thanks.

ezekiel said...

Ok, let me get this straight....

It is our chrisitian duty to provide health care for all?

Where do we stop with that, what are the borders? If it is my chrisitan duty to provide health care for a a citizen in Vermont or Florida, what about Costa Rica or Panama? Any christian duty to provide health care there or does it stop at the border?

Another line of thought goes like this. We see what they have done with a well intended government run social security plan. Does anybody under the age of 50 today really expect anything much less security from this system?

What about Medicaid/Medicare? I don't think these government run programs are too healthy today.
What about the great social give away called Freddie Mac or Fanny Mae? The last I heard they were bankrupt and you are footing the bill for that well run system too.(Sarcasm)

Now we want christians, under the flag of "its your duty" to pony up money for an even more massive plan whose only goal is to control people through health care or the withholding of it.

And the most outrageous thing of all is that the government and the people that are most likely to run through the streets screaming "seperation of church and state" are the ones trying now to get the church to pay for it. Wow

I would suggest for all those of this persuasion to find a local church, join it and show the love of Jesus through your cheerfull giving and support those christians among you that need help every day, help with medical bills, prescription drugs, rent, car paymets and whatever else they are struggling with.

When you feel the urge to be so generous with OPM (Other Peoples Money) stop and think how "christian" its gonna be when Barney Frank and his likes start telling you that your grandmother won't get the hip replacement she needs becasue the cutoff for that is age 70. What's worse is when you get to the ripe old age of 60 20 years from now and they tell you "sorry, you can't have the hip replacement surgery that you need because the cutoff for that is age 59".

If you don't believe it will happen you have your head in the sand. If they will do it for social security they will do it with health care security. When need outstrips demand, rationing is the result. Do you want the government rationing it or do you want to have a say?

Christiane said...

It has been said that Christians were given gifts and commanded to 'dilute the world's misery', if possible.

I forget who said it, but it resonates with a lot of the teachings of the rabbis;
and for me, with the Gospel of St. Matthew.

A question I have is this:
These gifts and everything we have come ultimately from the Lord.
Do we give thanks, and then hoard the gifts? And look for ways to distance ourselves from responsibility to others?

Or are we impelled, obligated, commanded to serve according to the Calling of the Lord,
and in proportion to the way WE have been blessed by Him?

Lots of questions. But not sorry.

Wrangling with the topic, among each other, is a healthy exercise, out of which may finally come some understanding that we did not share before. I have already been blessed by the bloggers here more than I deserve and I am thankful. Love, L's

Rex Ray said...

Hey, how about this thought?

With more and more of our money going to care for the poor and the government (which was what the 10% in bible times did), is there any ‘let up’ on giving the 10% tithe or “Will a man rob God!”?

I’ve always said ‘the 10% was a poor man’s burden and a rich man’s cop-out’.

Of course that’s not as bad as my wife knowing a preacher who taught the 10% went to the preacher, and the ‘offerings’ took care of the church.

Joe Blackmon said...

I see a lot of American Cultural Religion here and not a lot of Jesus.

Oh, and just who is this spreading the American Cultural Religion that you're blathering about? Oh, it's anyone who dares speak against the Obamassiah and Obamacare, right? You know, for someone who runs his mouth constantly about anyone who is a Christian and a Republican selling Jesus out to right wing politics you sure do spend a whole lot of time shilling for the left wingers.

Tell you what, you find me one Bible verse that says it is the governments responsibility to run health care and I'll let this go. Hang on, though, I forgot, Jesus is all about socialized medicine, isn't He?

Joe Blackmon said...


Do we give thanks, and then hoard the gifts? And look for ways to distance ourselves from responsibility to others?

What in the world does this have to do with government run, socialist health care? I don't see the connection.

ezekiel said...

I don't think there is any real argument over our duty as christians to help the poor, weak, hungry, orphans and widows among us.

The real question seems to be why anyone would think that working with Ceasar to make it happen would ever be a good idea.

One of the things that we Americans are pretty well known for is the efficient production and distribution of food and healthcare among a whole host of other things. We do it better than most any other nation in the world. What is really amazing is how anyone could even begin to think that that efeciency would be improved if we turn it over to the government to run is simply and totally beyond me.

All one has to look at is the stinking mess that they have made of just about everything they touch and then argue and fight to do it with healthcare. What is next? Food?

Wait, we already do that....that foodstamp program, wic program are all so effecient and productive. Right? I guess that is why we still need soup kitchens and food pantries. We just can't stand that government effeciency.

cheerfuldougg said...

Thank you Wade for printing this very insightful, reasonable and compassionate essay.
I was born and raised in Canada. I am 50 years old (I have lived in the US for the past 8 years). All of my family (parents, siblings) still live there. We have had universal (single-payer) medical insurance as long as I can remember (I am still trying to learn my way around the private insurance game). My wife and I are healthy. My three children are healthy. My eleven (yes eleven) siblings are healthy. My father died at the age of 80. My mother is still living at 83 and is in great physical shape. My point is this: Americans, you do not need to fear single-payer health care. I am living proof. The only ones who fear it are the private insurance and pharmaceutical fat cats. Most doctors are in favor of it, because they care about your health more than the almighty dollar.

Tom Kelley said...

Thy Peace said...
It's a cache 22.

Is that the computer professional's version of a Catch 22?


Chris Ryan said...


Just thought that I would let you know that Truett Orientation started today. And I wanted to put you at ease:

One of the first things we did was devotions (an exegetical engagement with application to seminary life by a faculty member) and then we gathered around the piano for a hymn sing. You know what two of those songs were? They went something like, "He is Lord," and "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus." That seemed a far cry from denying the divinity of Christ and denying the atonement of Christ. In the unlikely event you were holding your breath, you can let it out now.

Hope all is well.

ezekiel said...

"Most doctors are in favor of it, because they care about your health more than the almighty dollar."

Yea right...you must have missed the townhall meeting here in Memphis with Rep Cohen. There were ten there against it and 2 for it.

At the end of the day it isn't the doctor's motivation for doing what he does that I worry about. It is the governments's motivation for doing what they are doing that really bothers me.

Let's not forget the "land of the free".

While we attempt to make the "christian thing to do" argument, lets try to remember that one of the first acts of Christian charity we see in the Bible was when God delivered Israel out of bondage in the land of Egypt. In the end, it looks like He was right...some just can't wait to get back to Egypt...where at least they had food. Right?

Wonder how they handled health care?

Tom Kelley said...

Thank you, ezekiel, for saying this ...
I don't think there is any real argument over our duty as christians to help the poor, weak, hungry, orphans and widows among us.

The real question seems to be why anyone would think that working with Ceasar to make it happen would ever be a good idea.

I was trying to think of a way to get this point across, but you have expressed it beter than I could have. America is not a theocracy, and I distrust Dominionist theology and ideals. Why should we expect the State to do what God told the Church to do? I can still remember when Baptists strongly believed in the separation of Church and State.

ezekiel said...

Government run healthcare. Just what we need from a bunch of folks that think prayer in schools is a bad thing, and roe v. wade tells us all about their feelings regarding sanctitiy of life that any of us ever need to know.....

Do we really want an entity that has a proven track record of deciding that hundreds of thousands of babies don't deserve to take their first breath making healthcare decisions for us?

Rex Ray said...

“Now the multitude of those WHO BELIEVED were of one heart and soul…THEY held everything in common. There was not a needy person among THEM…all those that who owned lands or houses sold them…laid them at the APOSTLES’ feet. This was then distributed to each person as anyone had a need.” (Acts 4:32-35)

It seems the twelve apostles were the ones that “distributed” until Acts 6:2: “Then the Twelve summoned the whole company…” and seven men were chosen for this task.

So how is it in Acts 3:6, Peter said to the beggar, “I have neither silver nor gold…”?
Unless the money he had was ONLY for those “WHO BELIEVED”.

You see where I’m going with this – the point being that the early Christians are not to be our example on taking care of the poor today; and I believe the poor is to be world wide…not with Obamacare, but with Christiancare.

ezekiel said...

Pop Quiz....

Can anyone tell us if there has ever been a nation, people or kingdom that benefitted and became stronger by an ever increasing dependence on their government for basic services such as food and healthcare?

Has it ever, in all of history happened?

Christiane said...

Well, let's see.

Look at the standings for statistics in live birth rate
and life span. Compare countries.
See for yourself, if you think that the greatness of a country can be measured in part by the health of its people.

For denying food to children, we have seen phenomenal growth in the military structure of North Korea.
So that worked for them.
'Course the kids starved.
But the military power grew.

I guess it all depends on your values about 'what makes a country great'.

Bob Cleveland said...

Someone once said that it is the fear of failure that drives people to excellence. If you remove that, people no longer strive for improvement.

I have spent time in Russia and other ex-Soviet Bloc nations. Even long after the wall fell, the difference between their thinking and ours, among the populace, is startling.

They overthrew communism to become more like us, and here we are striving to become more like them.

Chris Ryan said...


Just saying: it worked pretty well for Rome. Even better for many of the peoples Rome conquered.

ezekiel said...

Well, I will leave it up to you to dig out the stats on live birth rates and life spans.

But if we follow the logic here that it seems you want to persist in then it would seem that if we put the government in charge of food distribution then they could increase my life span by saving on steak and potatoes...If that would work well for me, just think how well if would work for everybody...

Funny me, I measure success of a nation by the quality of life afforded by its citizens and the freedom they have to enjoy it. North Korea would be a fail in that case. But now if you want to consider North Korea what makes it different from the USA?

I can think of only a few things.

1)The ability to vote and to a large degree determine one's own life. Within a system of boundaries that don't infringe on other peoples rights to do the same. (Sounds almost biblical don't it)

2)The ability to bear arms that pretty well insures we don't lose number 1.

If you want universal, one payer healthcare, Canada, as we have just heard is a short drive away. North Korea is always an option, a border incursion is all it would take for a lifetime of it.

Cuba is closer though and they are even short of toilet paper I hear. The life span and government health plans there sound jsut marvelous...

ezekiel said...

Rome...that didn't end to well did it? Did the Roman empire fall under the weight of freedom, prosperity and opportunity for the individual?

Or was it more the citizens becoming so dependent on the government that they couldn't support themselves, feed themselves or defend themselves?

Tim Marsh said...


I gave a solution that is Christian:

The church can start its own health care initiatives by spending less on ourselves privately and less on our "facilities" and "ministries" (like we call them).

I bet the prosperity gospel ministries (though we are all guilty) could provide basic health care for all the poor in the US if they laid their assets before the feet of Jesus.

Please see my comments earlier on the thread.

Lydia, I know that you are opposed to this particular health care plan, but I am not seeing how those arguments are connected to your convictions as Christians. I am fine with your opposition to the health care, as well as others. Please don't make your arguments from a Republican (or Democrat - I know that there are some that are not convinced) politcal position, but from how you feel you are to respond to the world as a Christian.

Tim Marsh said...

Joe Blackmon,

Though specifically government-run health care is not mentioned, these verses might create a worldview in which we are called to be responsible for the basic needs of the poor and even the "alien."

James 1:27 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Amos 2:6-7 6 This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. 7 They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.

Jeremiah 7:5-7 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.

Isaiah 58:6-7 6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

See, I can proof-text too :)

ezekiel said...

Breaking news, just in. Now we are God's partners in life and death...


Solomon didn't know but Obama does.

ezekiel said...

Ecc 9:12 For man also knows not his time [of death]: as the fishes are taken in an evil net, and as the birds are caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time when [calamity] falls suddenly upon them.

Joe Blackmon said...

The church can start its own health care initiatives by spending less on ourselves privately and less on our "facilities" and "ministries" (like we call them).


I could get behind this. Of course after agreeing with you I just threw up in the back of my mouth just a little.

Tim Marsh said...


That's what its about...we can work together even if we do not agree on everything :)

Hope you feel better...

Lydia said...

Lydia, I know that you are opposed to this particular health care plan, but I am not seeing how those arguments are connected to your convictions as Christians. I am fine with your opposition to the health care, as well as others. Please don't make your arguments from a Republican (or Democrat - I know that there are some that are not convinced) politcal position, but from how you feel you are to respond to the world as a Christian.

Thu Aug 20, 07:41:00 PM 2009

This plea makes little sense because the opposite arguments are FOR the government plan which is political. That is the whole point.

However, I agree with your solution and it has been pointed out there was a time when Christians were on the forefront of supporting health care by building and funding hospitals, etc. So what happened? There is a reason it became untenable. It has to with selling our souls to Caesar.

Some of the comments here defending this plan using'questions' that sound eerily close to 'When are you going to stop beating your wife'.

To be against handing this over to Caesar seems to be akin to hating children and old people.

But in reality, the president is the one who has shown his character with the legislation he fought for: To let born alive aborted babies die in soiled linen closets at hospitals in Ill. That is a fact. Not a rumor. Nor a smear. Just a simple fact of what was important to him at the time.

Yeah, I trust him with 'health' care. He cares.

Christiane said...


"XXI. Social Service

Every Christian is under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ regnant in his own life and in human society to oppose in the spirit of Christ every form of greed, selfishness, and vice; to provide for the orphaned, the aged, the helpless, and the sick; to seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth and brotherly love; to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and his truth. All means and methods used in social service for the amelioration of society and the establishment of righteousness among men must finally depend on the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus. "

Luke 10:25-37; Ex. 22:10,14; Lev. 6:2; Deut. 20:10; Deut. 4:42; Deut. 15:2; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Ezek. 18:6; Heb. 2:15; Zech. 8:16; Ex. 20:16; James 2:8; Rom. 12-14; Col. 3:12-17.

Joe Blackmon said...


If I agree, do I have to agree to socialized medicine?

Hey, here's a wild, wacky idea. How about we take preachers who make 6 figures and ask them to take a 10$ pay cut along with all the SBC Associational DOM's and State SBC executives. Have any church that's thinking about building a brand new building for space just rent an abandoned non super Wal-Mark (intentional typo) instead. I guarentee the landlord will fix it up to be able to rent it out. Take all that money and use it to start a fund to help provide care for indigent persons. Have Christian doctors who are willing to donate their time treat the paitients.

Now, that's just the SBC. Imagine if every professing Christian would do that.

John Fariss said...


Wonder where that is from?

You can be sooooooo sneaky! ;o)


Tim Marsh said...


Just for the record, I am not for the particular plan. Unfortunately, we know little details and are being fed political rhetoric.

However, as a Christian, I believe we can agree that we recognize that there is a problem. I would love to see an interdenominational answer to several of our social issues, so that the gov't would not have to be the ones to do what we are called to do as a body.

Thanks always for your comments on this thread. They are among the best.

Christiane said...

I'm sorry, John.
Couldn' resist.

Actually, I went back to the 1925 version to see something from the time of my Grandmother.

Then I checked the 2000 version.
Of course, some changes had been made.

I quoted from the 1925 version.

It's always nice to see what people have to say and whether or not they know the traditional beliefs of their faith, even though now, those beliefs are expressed 'differently'.

Love, L's

John Fariss said...


Actually, the previous church I served did something close to that. A Christian doctor in our area agree to provide services. The church provided a house which we used as a clinic. At first, the doctor saw 7 - 10 patients once a quarter. Then the economy tanked (textiles, furniture, & fiber optics, which were the mainstays in western NC), and left a lot of people uninsured and underemployed. The doctor got a few other doctors to help out occasionally, but not many. We got to the point that we operated the clinic 2 evenings a week, and would see up to about 20 patients each day. The problems were (1) the city zoning inspector tried to close us down--he said the church (which was older than the town) was actually out of zoning, much less the clinic--fortunantly, when he brought it to the whole Zoning Commission, they threatened to fire him if he did anything to the clinic; (2) we sought support from other churches, and received some--in terms of clerical and nursing volunteers and some financial support--but when we did, some in our own church got miffed, because they wanted to be all their show; (3) some in our church were dissatisfied because the clinic produced very little growth for the church services--not surprizing, since many of the people who utilized the clinic were either Hispanic and mostly unwelcome at our Anglo church, and frankly many who came lacked the personal stability to become regular church attendees; and (4) although we were in a small city of 35,000, in a 4 county metro area of about half a million people, we were never able to recruit any other Christian doctors to participate on a regular basis; consequently, we were unable to expand, which we desperately needed to do--each of the two evenings we were open, we had to turn people away.


Christiane said...


Now before you agree, know that the quote if from the BF&M of 1925.
That is even before the Great Depression.

Of course, you don't 'have to' agree with any gov't run program.

(I was about to type 'but you just have to pay for it' :)))

I actually like the integrity of the quote.
Essentially, though, you could agree or disagree that the statement ties 'the government' and 'helping the sick' together.

Love, L's

DL said...


Agree. I don't think anyone is saying they disagree with the BFM 2000. I think we might disagree on the best way for that article to be carried out. There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death. This world under a curse and is meant to be uninhabitable. So even our best efforts will fall short, and what we intend for nothing but good will somehow come out evil. It's just the way it is.

Joe Blackmon said...


That's a good way to do some practical ministry. Sorry to hear it wasn't well received because some people had agendas.

Tom Kelley said...

All means and methods used in social service for the amelioration of society and the establishment of righteousness among men must finally depend on the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus.

This is in keeping with the historical Baptist (and biblical) position that societal change is to be effected via spiritual change within the heart of individuals, as opposed to via governmental regulation or control.

In my mind it is a form of both religious and political tyranny for a government to force its citizens to fund any so called charitable endeavor. Government has a legitimate function in the moral sphere in prohibiting or restricting behaviors that can be harmful to other individuals or to society overall. But to force its citizens to perform or fund the positive enjoinders of ANY religion (including my own) is not government's appropriate function. That is, it's right for government to prevent me from harming my neighbor; it is wrong for government to require me to help him.

Christiane said...


You wrote this,

"This world under a curse and is meant to be uninhabitable. So even our best efforts will fall short, and what we intend for nothing but good will somehow come out evil. It's just the way it is."

I thought about what you wrote. I don't believe the same way. I think that the Earth and all in it belongs to the Lord. I think that all life is precious to Him. And I think the coming of Christ was the coming of great blessing, over which no curse has power.

I know there is great evil in the world, but Darby, the Lord Christ has come, and nothing will ever be the same again. Be encouraged.
Be thankful.
And don't ever think for a minute that it doesn't matter when you try to help someone in need.
It matters. To Him.
Love, L's

DL said...

Please don't mistake my comment as fatalistic pessimism. I agree with you that Jesus has changed everything. When he came, he consigned the world to judgment - some are saved through God's judgment of him, and others will bear their own judgment.

Christians are to selflessly help others, not in order to make this the best darn world it can be, but to testify that they belong to another world entirely.

Christiane said...

Thank you, Darby, for explaining what you believe. I will try understand it. It is very different from my own religion.

May the Peace of Christ be with you. Be not afraid.

Love, L's

Darrell said...

My wife is a survivor of colon cancer. She is still alive 10 years after having her colon removed.

We have good private insurance through our jobs.

I don't believe she would be alive if we had government insurance.

In any business that generates billions of dollars there will always be some corruption. That does not mean all of our current system should be thrown out.

People come from all over the world to get American health care.

Thanking God she is still with me

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