...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Choice is Better!

Remember when the "deserving poor" first hit the PC talking points of the Reagan Revolution? The memorable movie, Pursuit of Happyness, told the story of what it was like to be poor and out on the street in those days. Other phrases like the "truly needy" were used over against examples of welfare cheats, so that it seemed there were just as many, or maybe more people, ripping off the system, than being helped by it.

"Homeless" was another word that cropped up too. As mental health patients were released en mass from closing treatment centers, they would somehow be transformed into healthy people who would take their meds, and get a job as well as a place to live. In counseling the unemployed, the Great Communicator suggested that we check the want adds. To make it easier for Americans to get a healthy diet, he suggested that ketchup be considered a vegetable.

The New American Poverty Micheal Harrington so well documented and described in the "me" decade of the 1980's has come full circle. Now millions of working and even middle class families totter on the edge of poverty, one health calamity away from it. While millions are still uninsured, many politicos still shriek the refrain of "socialized medicine" and bureaucrats "getting between me and my doctor."

But those phrases are beginning to sound as senseless as the "deserving poor" now does. Those who use them do so only to churn the gut, but don't use logic or economics. The reason why everything is too costly is because the middle man called insurance makes health care the for profit enterprise it is. And that behemoth doesn't want a public option, instead, it wants more public funds sent its way. It knows that if greed is taken out of the equation, then more and more will choose the public option.

Now, insurance companies not the "guvmunt" get between me and my doctor. They tell me what treatments I can and cannot have, what tests will be paid for, and to what extent. To do this, both companies and providers hire teams to haggle. The goal of the company is to pay for less, while the goal of the provider should be dispensing the best medical care. But, when almost 50 million people are not apart of the system (except when other "customers" foot the bill), then it's "broke" and past time to fix it.


  1. When it comes to buying cars, food, houses or healthcare, Choice is good. As with everything else, when it comes to healthcare, choice has a cost. Let those who want nationalized healthcare pay the full cost of their government run nationalized healthcare. No one should expect to have such a choice subsidized by either taxes or govt. borrowing. Let them pay the cost with annual premuims adjusted for their healthy lifestyle choices, their economical use of services, etc. There should be no legitimate objection to such a system unless nationalized healthcare is only a Trojan horse, a vehicle to advance the cause of quasi-communism. Choice in healthcare is good. Not everyone wants it. If they do not want it, they should not be required to buy it. Let them opt out, just as is the case in many employer provided healthcare plans. If everyone is forced to participate in nationalized healthcare, then integrity requires that one not pretend that anyone has any choice about the matter.

  2. Right now I don't have a choice to pay for others' lack of insurance in my rising premiums and hospital costs. The Trojan horse you speak of is the straw dog of "private pay." I'm already paying for the uninsured. We all are! It doesn't matter what you call it.

  3. The thing we most often forget is that we pay for other people's health care with God's money.


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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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