A pastoral letter on the expansion of wicked oppression through nationalized health care...

 "For every Baby Doe, there will be ten-thousand Grandma and Grandpa Does." -C. Everett Koop

"Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? (Proverbs 6:27, 28).

"The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice. ...The violence of the wicked will drag them away, Because they refuse to act with justice." (Proverbs 21:1-3,7)

(Tim) If the heart of the king is a river directed by the hand of God, much more so the hearts of the men leading our nation in Congress and the Senate. And despite the conniving claims of Emergelicals that Jesus would be for the nationalization of health care, I've been to Jerusalem and seen what turning one-sixth of the economy of these United States inevitably will produce.

My brother, David, and Pastor Curell and Doug Ummel and Joel Belz and Paul Fratiani and lots of others with your scribe were there five years ago in Pinellas Park, Florida, when our civil servants murdered Terry Schiavo. We saw it with our own eyes and we know the rule of law is gone in these United States. The civil magistrate has become the predator and he devours the lives of the weak and innocent and oppressed.

Make no mistake about it: there are many nice things about nationalized health care that will make it go down smoothly. I have a dear relative who finally will be able to get coverage without his serious pre-existing conditions ruling him out...

That will almost give me joy. But long term, those with his pre-existing conditions, as well as a host of others, will be left to die as our wicked public servants who already connive at the wholesale slaughter of millions of unborn children are freed up to connive at the starvation, dehydration, and active murder of many others who are feeble, defective, or unproductive members of our not-great society.

It's as obvious as the nose on the end of my face what the government will do with the weak and innocent among us when it comes to cost benefit calculations and the approval and disapproval of feeding tubes, the dosage level of morphine drips, and the authorization of costly life-saving procedures. Any believer who claims not to see where we're headed has cultivated the very naiveté the book of Proverbs condemns as sin.

So yes, as a teaching elder set apart by the laying on of hands and prayer to the work of proclaiming God's Law and Gospel, I call believers to oppose the nationalization of health care. Let us also go to prayer, asking God to have mercy on our nation lest oppression of those born become even more prevalent than the wicked oppression of the unborn we've all become inured to since 1973.

The people of God always use their hands and voices and money to serve the poor and oppressed because in serving them we serve our Lord Jesus Christ. There are many reasons for principled men committed to the rule of law of the Constitution of these United States to oppose the nationalization of health care, but the principal one causing Christians to oppose it is our love for the weak and oppressed.

We believe the care of the sick and dying should not be handled by our merciless and cruel civil magistrates who have already proven their wickedness in the slaughter of tens of millions unborn and newborn babies.

Comments

We are, unfortunately, getting the government we deserve...

The irony here is staggering. The primary argument that Christians would use to defend nationalized health care would be better care for the poor and weak among us.

Yet here you are, pointing out how utterly ridiculous that line of thinking is. And it hinges on seeing our government's current practices concerning the inconvenient members of our society.

Yet we can't see the current government for what it is, so we can't see it for what it will be, either.

David G, I can't help but agree with you. Last Sunday, my priest delivered a homily, touching on his surprise that America, because of her indifference to the rising acceptance of rampant sin (chiefly among that the sin of abortion!) He couldn't explain why America hasn't been "zapped" by the Almighty; why she is still here and not just a pile of dust. I sat there thinking, "what we are witnessing with our Congress and President IS the Almighty zapping us. We are reaping the judgment of God right here, right now. And I DO pray for God's mercy, knowing that, as I speak the words, we don't deserve it.

I don't like most of "Obamacare" for a number of reasons. But it seems to me that we have to do something for those who are aren't able to obtain health insurance because of its price, preexisting conditions, and inability to get it through an employer.

Personally, I wish we could scrap the current bill and start over again. At the very least, IMHO we do need to require health insurance companies to not deny coverage because of preexisting conditions and not charge a policyholder with a preexisting condition an arm and a leg for coverage.

I'm not sure what Jesus would think about nationalized health care (which I think the Obama bill is quite a way from that, although I understand the slippery slope argument), but I can't help wondering whether he's displeased about the number of uninsured in our country.

Tim, you said you would have a relative who would benefit from getting health coverage with his/her preexisting conditions. I have a dear friend who just lost her health insurance due to divorce and had only been working part-time (read -- no benefits). She has preexisting conditions and if she can coverage at all it might even be > COBRA at $1000/month. I'm in the same boat. I don't know what I'd do if something happened to my husband; I also have preexisting conditions that would probably prevent me from finding coverage as well, particularly because I'm a full-time student at this time and in no condition to find a job that would provide health insurance for me.

I have read that France and Germany do not have single payer systems, employers provide health insurance and employees pay premiums for part of the cost, there are not long waits to see specialists. The government does provide health care for the unemployed, however. Why don't we look into something like that?

But all Christians, whatever their view on this subject, should certainly pray for God to forgive us for our nationwide, state, and individual sins, as well as wisdom and fresh ideas to solve this problem.

More than my .02. Time for bed or I'll never get up on time for the service I want to attend tomorrow .

Tim Bayly: "Any believer who claims not to see where we're headed has cultivated the very naiveté the book of Proverbs condemns as sin."

Plenty of LibProts, plenty of emergers, plenty of liberal evangelicals/reformed folks have cultivated this sinful and harmful naivete. (There have been Baylyblog posts about the majority of the faculty at Wheaton and Covenant (or was it Calvin) College/Seminary who voted for ardent pro-abortionist Obama.

Tim Bayly: "the care of the sick and dying should not be handled by our merciless and cruel civil magistrates who have already proven their wickedness in the slaughter of tens of millions unborn and newborn babies."

Precisely why I oppose this health care reform bill and precisely why I almost invariably vote AGAINST a Democrat candidate for office.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Here's a comment sent to my privately, by e-mail. I wanted to get it up here so others could respond to these good questions and arguments. Then later, I plan to respond, also.

Love,

* * *

I felt like I needed to write to you about your last blog post.  Here are my comments on each section.

1. You wrote: "If the heart of the king is a river directed by the hand of God, much more so the hearts of the men leading our nation in Congress and the Senate. And despite the conniving claims of Emergelicals that Jesus would be for the nationalization of health care, I've been to Jerusalem and seen what turning one-sixth of the economy of these United States inevitably will produce."

(See also the final paragraph: "So yes, as a teaching elder set apart by the laying on of hands and prayer to the work of proclaiming God's Law and Gospel, I call believers to oppose the nationalization of health care.")

This bill doesn’t establish the nationalization of health care.  I know that you know this.  It might—--might!—--lead to nationalization.  But a great many things would have to occur for this to come about.  We shouldn’t pretend that nationalization is happening (it’s not) or that it’s inevitable (it’s not).

2. You wrote: "My brother, David, and Pastor Curell and Doug Ummel and Joel Belz and Paul Fratiani and lots of others with your scribe were there five years ago in Pinellas Park, Florida, when our civil servants murdered Terry Schiavo. We saw it with our own eyes and we know the rule of law is gone in these United States. The civil magistrate has become the predator and he devours the lives of the weak and innocent and oppressed."

No doubt this is true.  But you neglect to mention that regardless of what happens with the current bill, the civil magistrate has also become the protector with respect to a great many of the weak and oppressed when it comes to health care.  He has done so via Medicare and Medicaid.  This is an extremely significant point in this context.

3. You wrote: "Make no mistake about it: there are many nice things about nationalized health care that will make it go down smoothly. I have a dear relative who finally will be able to get coverage without his serious pre-existing conditions ruling him out...

That will almost give me joy. But long term, those with his pre-existing conditions, as well as a host of others, will be left to die as our wicked public servants who already connive at the wholesale slaughter of millions of unborn children are freed up to connive at the starvation, dehydration, and active murder of many others who are feeble, defective, or unproductive members of our not-great society.

It's as obvious as the nose on the end of my face what the government will do with the weak and innocent among us when it comes to cost benefit calculations and the approval and disapproval of feeding tubes, the dosage level of morphine drips, and the authorization of costly life-saving procedures."

So as not to mince words, I just think this part of the post is confused.  This passage makes it sound as though the bill would establish a single-payer government system that precludes supplementing one’s health care with private funds.  If that were so, then federal bureaucrats would indeed directly determine who and what gets treated. Clearly this isn’t what the bill does.  The current bill does not establish this kind of system, and it’s far from inevitable that it would lead to this kind of system.  After all, even if the bill were to result in a series of more and more liberal changes, the kind of scenario you’re painting is one wherein citizens aren’t allowed to buy additional private coverage (or pay for medical services directly) with their own funds, and it is extremely presumptuous to think that that kind of system is the inevitable outcome of the current legislation.

Moreover, I think it’s helpful to think about what private insurance companies do vis-à-vis cost/benefit analyses as a way of maintaining some perspective about the current state of health care in this country.  The fact that the bill would curtail some of this industry’s sadder practices is something to celebrate (with joy!) if the bill passes.

4. That said, I want to note that I don’t love this bill, even if I think it’s passage will do some good.  There are things in it that make me very nervous, and I really like some of the radically different suggestions for solving health care problems that have been floated by policy wonks over the past year.

I'm opposed to Obamacare, but I do not believe that liberals are motivated by a belief in Social Darwinism (i.e. a belief that the weak/ unproductive must be actively or passively purged from society). Actually, liberals abhor Social Darwinism, and they are convinced that Social Darwinism is one of the pillars of modern conservatism. That might have something to do with the fact that conservatives keep citing (out of context, and with an extremely misleading spin) 2 Thessalonians 3:10 whenever welfare programs are debated.

Liberal support for abortion and euthanasia flows from a belief that the individual owns his own body and has an absolute right to dispose of it however he wishes. This concept is called "individual sovereignty." This idea, of course, is inimical to Scripture, but it is a very different thing than Social Darwinism.

On the other hand, secular libertarians (as opposed to Theonomists), tend to be strong believers in both individual sovereignty AND Social Darwinism...

Dear MTM,

Support for abortion and euthanasia flows from malice and bloodlust. It’s that simple. It flows from a stone-cold, stone-dead heart impervious to the silent suffering of the unborn child undergoing dismemberment and to the moan of the 80-year-old grandfather starving to death, under doctor’s suggestions (orders), as his family watches on. If you have not already done so, please read the U.S. Supreme Court opinion striking down Nebraska’s partial birth abortion ban, Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000), in particular page 936. It’s awash in “fetal bone fragments,” “fetal tissue,” and the ‘free-floating’ fetal head.”

That is the motivation. That is what abortion and euthanasia advocates want. To paraphrase an old legal presumption, a man should be held to intend the natural and probable consequences of his advocacy.

Noble-sounding slogans like “individual sovereignty” or “individual autonomy” are nothing more than window-dressing and strong delusion. Imagine the guillotine festooned with cotton candy, with a clown troupe off to the side juggling bowling pins.

With love,

Brian Bailey

Brian,

I'll share a story from my own personal experience. I was an atheist, and a social liberal, for twenty years before I came to Christ. I'm not going to defend those beliefs now, but I feel that it is important that conservatives have a realistic grasp of what kind of people are on the other side of the aisle.

"Individual sovereignty" is not a slogan. It is an ideology, and arguably the dominant ideology in America today. (Though few Americans would recognize the name or be able to describe its precepts.) It is rational and coherent, and there is no way to refute it without going to the Bible (or some other worldview that presupposes a moral authority higher than man). Thus we see the error that many conservatives make in attempting to debate cultural issues in secular terms.

Now, I was still in my atheist phase during the Terry Schiavo incident, and I was firmly of the opinion that I personally would rather starve/ thirst to death than live as a "vegetable" (however much suffering that would entail), and I had a living will drawn up to that effect. I was also convinced that Schiavo shared my opinion because (1) a court had found that she did, and (2) any sensible person [in my opinion] would share my utter loathing and disgust of the vegetative/ comatose condition. On the other hand, I did not feel any emotive hatred toward Terry, nor did I want her to suffer. I suppose my attitude could be compared to the Buddhist monk that immolated himself to protest the South Vietnamese government back in 1963.

I have since destroyed my living will. That was to obey God, not because I had any less of a phobia about the vegetative/ comatose condition. As a child, I saw ads for the 1978 Michael Crichton movie "Coma", and the sight of those people hanging suspended in the air by wires scared the pants off me. I thought it would have been much kinder just to shoot them.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

"A pastoral letter on the expansion of wicked oppression through nationalized health care..."

Liberal Protestants, Liberal Emergers, Liberal Evangelicals who vote Democrat, who voted for Obama, and who support Obama's healthcare reform would disagree with the title and premise of your blog post.

Dear MTM,

"Individual autonomy" and "individual sovereignty" are rhetorical sleight of hand. They purport to justify every man doing what is right in his own sight. Those empty catch-phrases are means to and cover for an end desired and dictated by the heart.

Sincerely,

Brian Bailey

Brian,

Every man doing what is right in his own sight is the definition of autonomy. This is the premise of the tempter in Gen.3:5; to be self-referential with regard to good and evil-and by implication, all else. You are right that man's autonomous actions reveal the desires of his heart.

http://blog.aul.org/2010/03/21/aul-legal-team-why-the-executive-order-does-not-prevent-taxpayer-funded-abortion/

The above is a link explaining how an Executive Order by Obama will not prevent taxpayer funded abortion.

"Dear Mr. Stupak:

Questions have surfaced in the past few weeks about whether the billions of dollars the

Senate health care reform bill appropriates for Community Health Centers (CHCs) will be

used to pay for abortions. I have been asked by several interested parties to give my opinion

on Secretary Sebelius’ recent statement asserting that abortions will not be covered.

It’s not even a close question. Abortions will be covered."

From Law Professor Robert Destro at:

http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/DestroLetterToStupakOnCommHealthCenters.pdf

Stupak's "convictions" were all for show. I just saw this YouTube video. Disappointed but not surprised.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URr68joWr1E

The "people are being helped" argument is always trotted out with these programs. This is an example of the Bastiat's seen vs. unseen. If you give a million dollars to a drunk on the street and said "spend away," the guy would probably waste most of it, but perhaps he'd help a needy friend too. That doesn't make it a good use of scarce resources. You spend trillions of dollars and you're bound to do SOMETHING that helps someone.

One thing few people talk about is how gov't involvement in a market raises prices. It raises the cost of doing business through regulation while its hamhandedness creates inefficiencies. Then the calls get louder to do something to make health care "affordable," whereupon the cycle starts all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Cathy in NOLA: "Stupak's "convictions" were all for show. I just saw this YouTube video. Disappointed but not surprised."

Not surprised either.

I, for one, believe that it's a false dichotomy to say that Christians can only preach the Gospel or participate in the Public Square.

I think Christians can and should do both. Having said that, I have heard that this bill can be delayed or eventually repealed. I support Christians doing that.

Dear Tim,

I would like to briefly address a few of the questions and points raised in the private email you received.

1. “This bill doesn’t establish the nationalization of health care. I know that you know this. It might—--might!—--lead to nationalization. But a great many things would have to occur for this to come about. We shouldn’t pretend that nationalization is happening (it’s not) or that it’s inevitable (it’s not).”

In one sense I agree that this bill doesn’t establish nationalized health care, but only because health care was nationalized long ago. More importantly, this bill does dramatically expand and advance the nationalization of health care. An enormous portion of health care dollars spent in America were already provided through taxes and controlled by the government long before this bill was passed, and under the bill, the health care of millions more Americans will come under direct control of the federal government. You don’t have to have a single payer system to have nationalized health care. We have nationalized health care, period. To argue otherwise is almost like arguing against a mathematical identity; I would just as soon have to argue that two does not equal two or that red is not red.

2. “But you neglect to mention that regardless of what happens with the current bill, the civil magistrate has also become the protector with respect to a great many of the weak and oppressed when it comes to health care. He has done so via Medicare and Medicaid. This is an extremely significant point in this context.”

This rebuttal is frivolous and misleading because it equates protection with provision which is the exact error that has plagued American government and led to entitlement thinking for decades. No one disputes that the government should protect the weak from their oppressors, but no where does the Constitution give our government the responsibility and authority to provide for the basic needs (e.g. food, clothing, healthcare, etc.) of the American people. Protection from oppressors, yes, but are we really ready to include viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, obesity, cholesterol plaques, and love of nicotine in the definition of “oppressors”?

3. “If that were so, then federal bureaucrats would indeed directly determine who and what gets treated. Clearly this isn’t what the bill does. The current bill does not establish this kind of system, and it’s far from inevitable that it would lead to this kind of system.”

I don’t want to presume anything about your intimacy with our health care system but, so as not to mince words, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m involved with the health care system on a daily basis, both as a private physician and a public health officer, and I can tell you, without hesitation that this is already the kind of system we have. If you didn’t know that, you do now. Just this year, Medicare published a list of problems that it will not cover unless a doctor can prove that the problems did not develop while the patient was in the hospital. That’s just one example of bureaucrats controlling “what gets treated”; do I need to go on to “who gets treated”? Health care in America is a business, not a charity, and those who control the money control the care.

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Medicare not only determines who and what gets treated; it is much more punitive than any commercial insurance company toward providers who do not play by Medicare’s rules for determining who and what gets treated. Good, honest doctors have been bankrupted overnight through Medicare’s penalties regarding record keeping, penalties determined by analyzing a small sample of a doctor’s records, no matter how good, appropriate, and effective the treatments provided were. Yes, I know that these penalties are intended to curtail fraud (again, it comes down to money and business), but somehow the fraudulent seem to be the ones who frequently escape the penalties.

4. “After all, even if the bill were to result in a series of more and more liberal changes, the kind of scenario you’re painting is one wherein citizens aren’t allowed to buy additional private coverage (or pay for medical services directly) with their own funds, and it is extremely presumptuous to think that that kind of system is the inevitable outcome of the current legislation.”

Can’t you see how leaving it up to people to supplement their government coverage with private funds fosters a system that actually favors the rich more? Why would anyone ever spend money on supplemental coverage unless the basic coverage wasn’t adequate and/or he was actually sick (and needed coverage)? So now the private companies are not receiving premiums from the healthy so all their liabilities have to be paid through the premiums of the few sick people who actually seek private insurance. This makes the premiums for private insurance even more expensive so if the whole system doesn’t collapse into a single (government) payer system, the only ones who can afford private insurance are the extremely wealthy. Think about it. It seems obvious to me, but I would invite one of the regular readers, economist Dr. Eric Rasmusen, to correct me if my prediction is flawed. Even if my logic flawed, however, can’t we point to highly nationalized health care systems (like Canada and Great Britain) for evidence of this very phenomenon?

5. “Moreover, I think it’s helpful to think about what private insurance companies do vis-à-vis cost/benefit analyses as a way of maintaining some perspective about the current state of health care in this country. The fact that the bill would curtail some of this industry’s sadder practices is something to celebrate (with joy!) if the bill passes.”

Of course the insurance companies are dirty. Few people hate them more than I do. But there are many ways we could discipline the industry other than government takeover. This is where defending the weak (against corrupt business, not against illness) really comes in, but the federal government, which presides over the death of more than a million American babies each year, has done nothing to show that it will be any more just or righteous than the private insurance companies. On the one hand you have greedy business providing voluntary coverage funded through shrewd risk stratification; on the hand you have a murderous government forcing coverage funded through robbing future generations. There’s no question in my mind that having exorcised one demon, swept the house, and put it in order we’ll end up with 7 more demons worse than the first.

Yours truly,

Dear MTM,

I wish I had more time to respond to your comments, but let me take a quick stab at it.

First, I praise God for your obedience to Him in tearing up, by faith, your living will. As an aside, I do think it's possible to draft a living will that conforms to Biblical morality, but the better bet is to appoint a wise, loving Christian as your health care power-of-attorney.

There are a few things you should continue to think about, though.

I appreciated your testimony about the darkness God delivered you from, but please don't make the error I made for years. I assumed that since I had been a social liberal before knowing Christ that I had special wisdom and insight when it came to knowing and reaching across the other side of the aisle. On the contrary, I found out being able to relate to fools doesn't make you wise. Loving God's Word and fearing Him leads to wisdom. It is important to know your neighbor, but that comes as the Holy Spirit gives discernment, not primarily through meditating on our unregenerate condition.

This is why, as you say, it's so helpful to use Biblical words (like the words "malice" and "doing what is right in his own sight", which Brian used to argue his case) instead of secular words like liberal vs. conservative. Wouldn't it be something if Christians set the rules for the debate once in a while? Real contextualization of the Gospel occurs not when we find ways to avoid alienating our listeners but when we wield the Sword of the Spirit with such precision that we show our listeners the evil behind their secular words and leave them with no choice but to call upon Jesus Christ for mercy.

Second, we have to constantly be mindful of our sinful natures as we consider what true compassion is. You wrote of your "loathing and disgust of the vegetative/comatose condition", but you've said nothing. Nobody wants to be vegetative. That doesn't tell us what compassion for those in a vegetative state looks like. A patients wishes are only one piece of the puzzle. We must scour God's Word to find out about how deceptive our hearts can be and to find out what true compassion is before we can know what to do in a case like Terri Schiavo's.

Along the same lines, we must constantly use Scripture as an antidote to the Social Darwinist culture of strength, wealth, and beauty that we live in. We all have our versions of the movie "Coma" that shaped our fears and hopes far more than God's Word has, and countering that influence is a life-long process. It doesn't matter if your conservative or liberal; Rush is Obama is me. We've all nursed on the same favoritism for health and wealth that pervades our society, and our the temptation doesn't go away when we accept Christ. Christ warned us again and again to give preference to the weak, the humble, the least of these because to do so is not only His character but is also completely opposed to our nature. If it wasn't a real temptation, He wouldn't have warned us, and it's telling that there are few themes more prevalant in Scripture.

Yours very truly,

Although I'd intended to respond here to the anonymous commenter above, this evening we talked for about two hours, and I've decided to let it go at that.

Our conversation was excellent, although we didn't end up agreeing on some of the central points.

One last thing: my friend did not ask to be kept anonymous, here on the blog. That decision was mine, alone.

I'm a non-American brother in Christ. I've enjoyed reading the thoughtful posts here for nearly a year. Right off the bat I want to say that I'm not au fait with this complex and important issue. What I get from the media is that EVERYONE agrees that the US health care system is desperately broken and must be fixed. Why is it then, that the post above does not present a viable framework or the key principles for the system's overhaul? Reading it, all I get is the the new bill = institutionalised infanticide. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't abortion such a serious problem that it is pretty much already systemic? As for the new bill, surely you want to ensure Americans get affordable quality health care as much as you want the infanticide to stop?

Dear Aaron,

I do want to Americans to get affordable health care, but no, I don't want the government to "ensure that Americans get affordable health care." Do you see what I'm getting at? Nowhere is the U.S. federal government given the authority to ensure affordable health care. The government does have a duty to stop infanticide though.

I want the health care I provide to be like the health care that the Great Physician provided: compassionate, healing, comforting, just, merciful, reliant upon God's power, and in keeping with the spirit of the law of God (not just the letter). Herein lies the real health care crisis in America today. Until the fundamental goals of health care and the purposes of government are understood, all the viable frameworks in the world amount to idle chatter.

Yours in Christ,

Dear Adam

Your response was illuminating, sincere thanks for that. I pray that the Lord will continue to give you wisdom and compassion to serve the sick, especially those who are sick and poor.

Regards from Singapore, and God's blessings

A pastoral letter on the expansion of wicked oppression through nationalized health care...

What effect would your pastoral letter have on the Religious Left?

"The Religious Left, from “social justice” Catholic nuns and Protestant ministers to the Democratic Speaker of the House and president of the United States, have been incessantly claiming God’s advocacy of their healthcare reform. That’s no surprise, just as it’s no surprise that the press is not only not outraged but silently supportive. There’s nary a whimper, let alone howls, of “separation of church and state!”

Last August, President Obama addressed a virtual gathering of 140,000 Religious Left individuals. He told them he was “going to need your help” in passing healthcare. Obama penitently invoked a period of “40 Days,” a trial of deliverance from conservative tormentors, from temptation by evildoers. He lifted up the brethren, assuring them, “We are God’s partner in matters of life and death.”

Like a great commissioning, in the 40 Days that followed the Religious Left was filled with the spirit, confidently spreading the word, pushing for—among other things—abortion funding as part of an eternally widening “social justice” agenda. The Religious Institute, which represents 4,800 clergy, urged Congress to include abortion funding in “healthcare” reform, adamantly rejecting amendments that prohibited funding. To not help poor women secure their reproductive rights was unjust, declared the progressive pastors. As the Rev. Debra Hafner, executive director of the Religious Institute, complained, federal policy already “unfairly prevents low-income women and federal employees from receiving subsidized” abortions."

Excerpted from: http://townhall.com/columnists/DrPaulKengor/2010/03/22/god_gets_his_healthcare_bill?page=full&comments=true

In terms of recommending a viable solution, I'm reminded of an article I read by a "liberal" some time ago. I thought he had some good ideas. I'm interested to hear what an actual doctor thinks of what he said though.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/how-american-health-care-killed-my-father/7617/

Hasn't health insurance paved the way for socialized medicine the same way that student-loans and mortgages have in their arenas, essentially by price-fixing and inflation? 46% of insurance plans (according to life news) pay for abortions.

Have Christians ever boycotted insurance?

Clint,

I'm pretty surprised about the statement that 46% of insurance plans pay for abortions. I've had 3 employers since we've moved to Ohio; 2 of them would probably be seen as "progressive". Their health insurance plans only included abortions to save the mother's life and for cases of rape and incest. My 3rd employer was much more traditional and didn't include any abortion coverage in its health insurance plan.

My husband's employer, a liberal private college, used to include 1st trimester abortions for any reason in their health plan, but quietly dropped all abortion coverage except to save the mother's life about 5 years ago because of the acrimony between people who felt strongly on both sides of the issue. The college decided that most of its employees were paid enough to afford a 1st trimester abortion. My husband and I were bowled over when that happened, particularly because the previous coverage also included girls 16 and over if they were on their parent(s) policies and if the policyholder consented to the abortion.

Could the 46% figure that life news quotes count abortions under restricted circumstances, such as to save the life of the mother, in cases of rape/incest, or cases where it's known in utero the baby has as a condition incompatible with life (such as anencephaly) as providing services?

Coming from a country with a nationalised heath care system (you pay for primary physician care, and can take insurance for 'elective' procedures), and now in a country with wider coverage than even that (the UK):

* all I can say is the current US system is bad enough in terms of the money it spends for the results it gets; and,

* Obama's reforms have actually made it worse, as he has signed up to a fiscal bottomless pit. In practice, it will not make much difference to health outcomes either.

(from having done health economics in another life.... )

Dear Joseph,

I read (most of) that article you linked to last night, and I thought it was both brilliant and awful. I agree with a lot of his points, but he's also very naive, uninformed, and self-contradictory on others. I don't really have time to do a line by line critique, but I will make one statement about a fatal flaw in his analysis. One way to summarize his overall strategy is to overhall the system in such a way that incentives are recreated in such a way to encourage quality care. I agree that that should be part of the strategy but it fails to answer an age old tension that many doctors, especially Christian doctors, feel between running a business or being part of an industry and participating in a ministry or charitable work. It's tough to reduce caring for the least of these to a scheme of incentives.

Love,

"Could the 46% figure that life news quotes count abortions under restricted circumstances"

I'm not sure it should matter but more to the point, do Christians check our what their insurance does and boycott it accordingly?

One of the most common excuses I hear for abortions at PP is that the mother's life is in danger. Others claim rape & incest.

Clint wrote: "One of the most common excuses I hear for abortions at PP is that the mother's life is in danger. Others claim rape & incest."

I sure wouldn't believe that in a New York minute. But being familiar with the employers I mentioned, I'd be inclined to think they were putting their money where their mouth was -- especially because they were self-insured and most of the cost of the Ab's would come out of their their pockets.

Could you also explain by "boycott it [insurance] accordingly" based on its abortion coverage in its health insurance plan?

Do you mean:

* Not enroll in the plan at all.
* Asking for an alternate plan that includes no abortion coverage whatsoever.
* Signing up for the family plan because your spouse and/or children need coverage, but you would never use the plan yourself but give your spouse the option of whether she/he wants to use the plan, while still seeing that your child(ren) would be covered.
* Or something entirely different.

Thanks,

Sue

Thank you for your advice, Dr. Spaetti.

Sue, most of the things you've said are good ideas. Health insurance has inflated cost so that no one can afford to boycott it. We Christians trust things like insurance too much.

Add new comment