What is the health care debate really about? No doubt there are some on either side of the issue who are fighting for nothing greater than personal gain or security, but anyone who is willing to look at the participants in the debate honestly will have to admit most of us want everyone to be cared for. I’m talking about the general population here. I think the politicians involved are an entirely different matter. I find it impossible to imagine that intelligent people who have been in government for decades do not know the harm they have done. I also find it hard to believe that the major media cannot see their own bias.
We all have our reasons for being for or against government run health care or any other social program for that matter. I would dare say that many of them are in fact selfish. The Bible tells us that none of us are good, and one only needs to look around to see the truth of this. Only to the degree that we practice Godly principles, whether we know them as such or not, do we have a functional and civil society. People who lack coverage and have medical needs want to get those needs met and see government as the source. People who either understand the long term consequences or fear losing what they have want to keep the government out. These are broad generalizations but they illustrate the point. It’s mostly about our own well-being and how it is we think that is best served. I think this needs to be said, and we should take a hard look at ourselves, especially if we are among those who call themselves Christians.
From here out I will assume that is what we are doing, and indeed many are. It is unfairly said of us that we are without care for the less fortunate. Somehow because we do not think the government should do it we don’t think it should be done. This is a vicious misrepresentation of the issue. The question conservatives are asking has never been whether or not people should have care, but whether civil government should be involved in providing it. On this people who genuinely care for the needy may honestly disagree.
My wife and I find ourselves right in the middle of the hard realities of this question. Many of the members in our church draw their living from Social Security and depend on Medicare or Medicaid for their health needs. I confess I am a bit reluctant to speak out in opposition to these programs when I personally know people who have no other recourse. Yet I don’t think any them will tell you that they are happy with the care they receive. How can we fix a bad system without hurting those who depend on it? I don’t know that there is a way.
Ultimately the system must parish. Either we dismantle it in a careful and compassionate way or it will collapse along with the rest of our economy and we will find the suffering multiplied. When we go wrong, whether personally or as a people, we suffer the consequences. There will be a terrible cost one way or the other. In the name of compassion we have instituted a system that oppresses people while claiming to help them. While “good” people were involved, they were deceived into supporting evil. The current health care law is another such evil. The end result will be more suffering instead of less. We are already seeing the rotten fruit. Those who hoped to cure our ills through the intervention of an impersonal government agency are becoming victims of their own folly.
Many say that government must do these things because no one else will. Really? How did we get all of these hospitals branded with names of religious origin? Did government set those up? I suppose at one time it could have, but there’s this thing called the Constitution that is supposed to proscribe government activities. Until this century we had some idea of what that means. I don’t know if there are any of those hospitals left that still function as Christian institutions, but that is how they were founded.
Though this may be true and though it is also true that Americans are among the most generous in the world, I don’t think the fear that too little would be done to take the place of government largess is without merit. As we slip further and further from our roots, the values that inspire us to care for others are replaced by selfishness. I know I keep coming back to saying the same thing just about every time I address major issues like this, but the truth doesn’t change. Our society will eventually collapse without a return to Yahweh, the one true God. There is no political solution that can adequately address the problems created by a self-absorbed people who refuse to see beyond that which makes for their own comfort or advancement.
I said most of us believe everyone should have care. I think that’s true, but only to a point. Everyone should have care unless it costs us something. I suppose a liberal could make the same argument regarding taxes, and I’ll even admit that some actually mean it. The problem is that most think someone else should be doing the paying. It’s OK to raise taxes to pay for someone else’s care as long as it isn’t their taxes. Herein lays one of the evils I was pointing to above. This is no more than legalized theft. We legitimize the taking of one’s property to give it to another.
So, what is the health care debate really about? There isn’t one answer to that question. Our motivations cross political boundaries. For some it is about a genuine concern for their fellow man. For others it is about protecting their own interests. Still others focus on the role of government in the process. That’s just a sample. I set out in particular to address the assertion that anyone who is against government sponsored care is without compassion. I hope that message came through, but it’s a little more complicated than that. The bottom line remains that we must choose as a society to live for the benefit of others above ourselves. That’s the way Jesus teaches us to live. I suppose that if a just program could be established with everyone involved working for the good of the other government run anything wouldn’t be so bad, but that’s not who we are. Therefore, we must establish a balance that limits the potential for evil and does the most good for all concerned. History has shown that government control of an industry does not work, media whitewashes of European systems notwithstanding. It is not compassion to institute such systems here.