Government Shutdown and the Affordable Care Act
I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act.
In the New Testament, Jesus clearly advocates the importance of helping poor people:
Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."
Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Mark 12:41-44 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Luke 16:19-25 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.
How can any Christian oppose the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? Someone please explain this to me.
I also cannot understand how a non-Christian could oppose this. Previously, any uninsured poor person could always get FREE treatment at the local emergency room. This is very inefficient and helps explain why some hospitals can charge $50 for an aspirin or some other item what costs less than a dollar. The cost of poor people going to the emergency room gets passed on to many of the people who oppose the Affordable Care Act, and it is indisputable that emergency rooms are a very expensive and inefficient way to provide care. For example, if someone has curable cancer, wouldn't it be better to give them chemo once a week than pay for the 10 or 20 emergency room visits until they die? Do I even have to ask what Jesus would say?
And to those who say that this is socialistic, it seems to me that Medicare and Social Security are more socialistic. The Affordable Care Act, like Romneycare (which seems to be working in Massachusetts), is based on creating competition among private insurers. This approach was invented by Republicans, and initially opposed by Democrats who preferred a single payer solution, modeled on Medicare.
And to the civil libertarians, your rights end when you ask me to pay for your failure to provide for your own economic costs. If you drive without car insurance, others will have to pay if you get into an accident and cripple someone. Don't ask me to pay for your health care, unless you genuinely cannot afford it. Yes, I admit that there is a part of me that would not mind seeing some Tea Party adherents experience poetic justice by dying of curable cancer because they were too irresponsible to buy medical insurance, but deep down I agree with Jesus on this.
And to the Republicans who complain that this does not apply to Congress and the Executive Branch, I agree with that. On the other hand, how many women and children would you like to die of cancer next year because they cannot afford treatment? And you might want to read Luke 16:19-25 again. Do you really want to argue with St. Peter at the gates of heaven that you let poor people suffer and die because the legislation was not perfect???
Almost every civilized foreign country (and Massachusetts) has government supported health care. So far, God has not rained hell storms on these places. Instead, many of these countries have better results than we do in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and other important measures of success.
One thing that I believe everyone can agree on is that there is lots of room for improvement in the law. If not for the lobbyists in Congress, I think that this would have been a much cleaner, simpler and less expensive statute. What I would love to see would be for the Republicans and the Democrats make amendments that cut costs, but unfortunately the lobbyists seem to be able to block changes that might reduce the profits of their clients -- companies who are making a killing with profit margins on medical devices and drugs that far exceed what they would get if Medicare and insurance exchanges were allowed to negotiate prices in an open market.
Finally, I am concerned that doctors and other medical professionals have been squeezed and may become more squeezed unless they can get a fairer share of health care revenues. Unfortunately for them, their lobbying power is no match for the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and insurance companies. This has been getting worse for years, and I don't think that the Affordable Care Act will make much of a difference either way, but this is something that I think that people should really worry about.
What do you think?