Early in his term our President announced his plan to enact health care legislation and he will not rest until he succeeds or all efforts fail. I admire his determination. I also share the core concerns that people receive basic care and that health systems are purged of injustices that may actually hurt the most vulnerable. I'm convinced that addressing these concerns will require the wisdom of Solomon. I'm trying to think and pray about the concerns in the light of the One who embodies such wisdom and promises it to those who ask. In this connection, several things have disappointed me in the current discussion.
- Too much angry ranting and too much fear mongering. Our Scriptures assure us that human wrath does not lead to righteousness and that perfect love casts out fear. Where are these realities at work?
- A narrow perspective that forgets or dismisses the fact that most of the world could only dream of being in our situation. In fact, multiplied millions would be far better off uninsured here than where they are now. At least this should soften our tone and temper our expectations. And, Christ-followers are drawn to consider the question, "whose-health care? and to do so mindful of a more global context.
- A selfish perspective that reflects a sense of entitlement–that we deserve the best on our terms. In a world where millions never have access to the most basic medical attention and in a nation where way too many experience an appallingly similar deprivation, can Christ-followers get red-faced over their "need" to have multiple choices of physicians?
- A failure of Christ-follwers to imagine what the self-emptying, self-giving love of their Lord might mean for addressing the core concerns. Do we know the meaning of sacrifice? Are willing to sacrifice so those with no help get help? What would that look like?
- Slowness to consider and much more to see and renounce grave systemic injustices in the systems that deliver health care. How is it, for example, that people with insurance are given discounts and write-offs (technically it is their insurance companies who receive them "on our behalf") that people with no insurance are denied, so that services actually cost the poor more than the relatively rich?
- And, a legitimate concern that we pay for whatever we buy, pay with actual dollars that are clearly identified and made available.
I hope and pray that true reform takes place in our health care systems, that the left out and least receive care somehow, some way, that the whole world can be blessed by our reforms, and that Christ-followers contribute a wisdom that flows from the One we follow.