Saturday, February 20, 2010

Luke 9: 11

I'd like to offer my deepest apologies for turning to the overtly political, but I've heard too many people compare plans in various countries to provide even basic health care to the public at large, regardless of economic status, as against a gospel plan of free agency and personal accountability. I don't want to advocate any specific political plan, but feel compelled to suggest that the gospel may actually be more for than against the abstract ideal of basic universal access to health care. Thank you for your patience over the next few days.

"And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing."

What was Jesus' primary criterion for healing, according to this verse?


Why shouldn't we work toward a day when our society sees things like Jesus?


  1. We absolutely need a society that sees things according to God's perspective. The members of such a society would do everything they could to make sure that the poor and needy are taken care of. Health care definitely falls under that head: caring for the poor and needy.

    However, looking at the behavior of either the Republican or Democratic national parties I doubt whether they could ever deliver such a society. Sometimes voting feels like choosing between Coriantumr and Shiz.

    By giving through the LDS Fast Offering system, I know that my means are going to the poor and the needy--usually right where I live. The offerings are given freely. Individual agency for good is strengthened by the experience.

    It may be naive or wrong of me to feel this way, but the idea of the Federal government deciding about health care worries me. I'd rather focus on strengthening the church in its ability to do good. After that, I'd rather see the issue handled at a level closer to the voice of the people affected, at the state or county level.

    Instead of a massive health care reform bill I would rather see individual efforts to change and innovate the way in which health care is handled. I agree that universal access to health care is important. I'm not sure that I agree it is important for the President, Congress, and the Senate to be the ones to provide it.

    ps. sorry for such a long-winded response.

  2. Inside or outside of the Church, the Lord accomplishes his work with the hands of imperfect, sinful people. If Saul and David could be tools in the hands of the Lord, surely our present leaders can be as well.

    Increased individual effort is good, if individual effort is actually increasing. But since I haven't seen anyone calling for increased charitable donations across the nation as a way to increase health-care access, I'm skeptical.

    Mostly, people seem to say that they don't want to use their money to pay for someone else's doctor, whether it's through taxes or otherwise.

    The same thing applies at the state or county level: "Not with my money" is a sentiment that appears on every level. Notice how many states are currently cutting back on existing health programs.

    I'm pretty sure that even with universal health care, there will still be plenty of ways that people need our help. We will not loose our opportunities to exercise agency for good. We will increase the number of health-care options for the poorest Americans.

    I think the Federal government is best-placed to accomplish that. Can anyone tell me why they're not?

  3. Andrew,

    I think your concern about government is far from naive. It is the sad experience of history that authority is easy to abuse. You are right to be vigilant about that.

    While our parties are problematic, however, they are worlds better than Coriantumr and Shiz because they don't have us out on the streets killing each other. That's quite an accomplishment, actually, in the history of human politics, and Republicans, Democrats, and the Government Bureacracy deserve some credit for their refusal to recourse to physical violence.

    Government does offer a clearer road to universal access than private organizations or individuals b/c of its size and influence. You mention fast offerings, and they are great, but they only extend to members of the church in specific situations--I certainly don't expect the church as an organization to be providing medical access for the nation! The church also can't work on issues like tort reform that I see as integral to the future of affordable public access to health care.

    That's probably why I think the government should play some role in this area. Again, though, your concerns about government in general are reasonable. When both possibilities and dangers are great, what do you choose? There's no easy answer to that.

  4. Thanks James. Coriantumr and Shiz would make presidential debates a prime-time event though, wouldn't they?

    What I mean by the allusion is that the partisan politics that thrive on every level (but especially in the Federal govt.) seem to create a false dilemma. Coriantumr and Shiz weren't actually the only options for the Jaredites at the time. Everybody seemed to think they were, but Ether showed that there was another way.

    Since for all intents we're stuck with our two party system, how do we avoid the worst of the name-calling, etc. and get something worthwhile done about health care? I think the best place to decide on public health care would be at the state level, since states are better suited to regard to the special circumstances of the people who live there.

    lionofzion, I think the danger with having the Fed take on health care is that since they are forced to consider the votes of people from states as divergent as Hawaii and Kansas, there is greater potential for waste. The one system would have to be applied to very different populations.

    You pointed out yourself that many states are cutting health care budgets. Doesn't that reflect that not every state sees the issue the same way?

  5. I tend to be more wary of state governments than of the Federal one, based on my own experiences in the state of Ohio.

    I generally feel like enough eyes are on the Federal government to keep them fairly responsible and semi-responsive to public opinion, whereas state governments get mostly ignored by their populations except when they raise taxes, which thus allow all sorts of bizarreness to unfold.

    This is probably a prejudiced view, and it's not the chief reason that I think Federal government is better suited to creating universal health care access.

    My main reason is simply that the Federal government is the only body in the US that can provide universal access. Any one state can provide access for its residents, but not for those of any other state.

    This also means that any one state choosing to adopt universal health access would have to increase taxes while only increasing services for society's poorest members. There are going to be even stronger incentives against such a plan on a state level than one proposed nationally, since people and corporations looking for minimum tax rates may move elsewhere, making the state poorer than it was to begin with.

    So I think, for the above reasons, that the Federal government is uniquely suited to deal with health care. But I'm no expert on this, and I think that what's most important is making sure that everyone gets the access which our common humanity demands be available to all, however it's done.



Related Posts with Thumbnails