Yesterday, I wrote about sticking a hand across the aisle. No, actually, I wrote about stepping across it. Someone has to make the first move, it might as well be us. Individually and collectively. To do that, we must forgive, truly forgive, just like Jesus demands. Need we go over those fundamental lessons of Christianity?
Since we harbor no hard feelings or ill-will against our neighbor, we can examine problems with fresh eyes. Could some of our assumptions and strongholds be in error? Might some of them not be so important as to be sacrificed as a peace offering. Let’s face it, God required a spotless lamb for a reason: it cost the offerer dearly.
Let’s take healthcare, for example. If I might summarize, the Democratic desire is to make healthcare affordable to all. On the one hand, free markets do provide the mechanism for creativity and medical advancement. On the other, social programs ensure that all can afford it. Both systems are valid, especially together.
As a self-employed individual, I was forced to really study health insurance when I started my business. I had never paid for my own insurance before. When I did, I realized just how difficult the third-party payment system is. And incredibly expensive. Then I really discovered the effects of the Affordable Health Care Act when my insurance carrier dropped my individual plan.
One needs to become an expert in health insurance if you want to truly shop for providers. If you have never shopped, I suggest you try get a quote sometime. It’s far, far worse than dealing with what is considered the standard of difficult: the DMV.
As for cost, according to a recent article in the StarTribune, “The average cost of family coverage in employer health plans pushed above the $20,000 mark for the first time this year, according to a new report, as the 5% average increase in premiums exceeded the growth rate for wages and general inflation.” This doesn’t include the cost of deductibles to the family.
Christian health-share ministries, on the other hand, provide the same coverage for $6,360. Yes, that’s right. Private insurance is OVER THREE TIMES AS EXPENSIVE! Sure, the private health insurers take on the risk of guaranteeing payment, but is that risk worth $14,000? I don’t think so.
You tell me, once you hear that, is there reason to examine this health care issue a little closer? I think so.
Here’s another thing. The price you pay for medical drugs and services isn’t nearly as competitive as you might think. IF, and again I say, IF, you are fortunate enough to have an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, your costs of medical care have been negotiated and are set. You have no benefit of shopping for better medical prices unless you want to go “out of network.”
You see, medical costs most people incur are paid at a rate that is actually largely determined by Medicare/Medicaid. And who is Medicare/Medicaid? Uncle Sam. Yes, that’s right. Your federal government is the one that sets the pricing for most of the people in the United States whether or not they have private insurance coverage.
So, to think that we have private-market healthcare coverage is not looking at the issue honestly. My contention is that there is A LOT of money running through the fingers of insurance companies that is getting stuck in their pocket. Somebody is getting very, very fat off this.
You want to know something else? Each state regulates the insurance companies that do business there. They make SURE that those insurers are nice and fat. Why? So they never have a problem paying claims. That’s a good thing except it only adds excess profit for the insurers at the cost of the consumer. Just one more piece of this puzzle to consider.
Folks, I’ll bet if everyone got off their high-horse on this topic and got some sharp bean-counters who understand the Christian principles of the Good Samaritan and who didn’t have a financial interest in this problem, we could make some real progress. As it is, all that our two-party system does is make things far, far worse for some while making others rich.
By the way, how DO politicians accumulate so much wealth, anyway? They LOVE to help solve problems, don’t they? And they also LOVE to have adversity so they can show you just how hard they are fighting for you. And they get wealthy. Very wealthy.
I call baloney on that.
Let’s get Jesus involved in this. Learn what really matters to Jesus. Educate yourself on issues. Learn where you have been right and have been wrong and be willing to look at things in a whole new light. Then, start having some conversations. Lots of conversations, with Democrats and Republicans. Maybe you will find that people have more in common than the party leaders suggest.
Or, maybe you like things just the way they are. I don’t. Not at all. It’s time to start making change in this country, and I’m going to do my part, with Jesus as my foundation and lamp for my path.
Father, I can say I finally see Romans 8:28 in all my struggles with this presidential vote. Thank you. Amen.