Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why I think we can't fix health-care

The real issue behind our Heath-care controversy that legislation can't address

It's impossible to listen to the news these days without hearing about politicians fighting tooth & nail over the proposed legislation on heath care. I believe that the research that is ongoing will someday find a cure for AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and other tragic illnesses; and I know that type of research isn't free. And, I'm as thankful as the next guy is we've beat Polio and Smallpox, as well being grateful for my health insurance and the medical professionals that care for us. But, there's a huge issue facing our Country; there is a big problem here, to be sure, and I wonder if you see the same commonsense problem I do?

When it comes to the Heath care controversy, the problem isn't so much that we can't decide as a nation how much or how little Government involvement is appropriate. This isn't a Left VS. Right, or Democrat against Republican issue. The problem isn't really about providing or denying health care for everyone in America. The issue isn't about avoiding deficit spending, or raising taxes. Maybe since I'm not a doctor or a legislator, but a minister, I see it completely different than the majority of the views I see expressed.

I see three concentric problems surrounding our current Health care crisis:
1. Overpriced medical salaries/procedures/prescriptions that continue to escalate way beyond realistic bounds are driving up our insurance premiums beyond reasonable prices, simultaneously.
2. Laziness, or simply a lack of a sense of personal responsibility, on the part of many to take better care of themselves; example, lack of self-control when it comes to overeating and smoking.
3. Having the wrong focus; we value this temporary body more than our eternal souls.

Let me unfold these three problems like this: We've placed a high priority on self-preservation and now we have to pay the price. Sounds shallow, because it is. I like having only a $15 co-pay when I visit my doctor's office, but does my 10-15 minute office visit with really justify $100, or, does the insurance company really have to charge us what they do? The insurance company is banking on the fact that most of the time I'm going to be healthy.... but I'm concerned that I won't always be healthy and I know that medical expenses are unaffordable.... We are too lazy as a nation to exercise properly, and we don't watch what we eat. Those aren't the only two reasons for every single medical issue, but those are the top two reasons why we die from heart disease at an epidemic rate (Please don't misunderstand me, with many medical problems people are completely blameless, such as birth defects or several forms of cancer which are unavoidable) We're greedy, and the "dollar" is driving a lot more of this than we want to admit. We want other people to fix our problems because we don't want to face our own pain. We are in such sorry shape because we want to live in the here-and-now eternally, and we don't want to worry about the afterlife. Bottom line, our priorities are skewed. Health care is only "a" priority, somehow though, we've made it "the" priority.... Even the devil recognizes this, "Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life." (Job 2:4, ESV)

We won't ever really fix the health care issue until we have the right perspective. I don't care which way you slice this; whether you give health care away or charge $1000 a day for insurance, those are sideline issues. There is a deeper reality that somehow has been overlooked... that being, the spiritual reality. Until we are spiritually responsible as a nation, we will never be balanced in our approach to fixing this mess we are in.

Paul wrote that above all else we should keep our focus on eternal matters:
  • "for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (I Tim 4:8, ESV)
  • "16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (II Cor 4:16-18, ESV)

I'm all for doctors and hospital-staff members being fairly compensated, but compared to the compensation we offer, say, a school teacher or a bus-driver, are we really all that altruistic? It's true, you put your money where your heart is.... So, as long as we are willing to pay a premium cost for the preservation of our bodies, and neglect so much else, we get what we pay for.

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