A Faithful Perspective on Health Care: Part II
By Sabrina Miller
Sabrina Miller is a Young Adult Intern with the Rural Response Committee of the Nebraska United Methodist Conference. Her first in this series of blog posts is here .
My primary goal in speaking with people about health care is to create a space of respect, love, and open conversation, and let differing opinions exist while having exhilarating discussion. As I talked with folks in local churches about health care reform, similar topics continued to arise, and fear that reform would leave them without care.
Many were retired and comfortable with their Medicare insurance, and appreciated the personal relationship they were able to have with their health care providers. Some people were disconnected from the realities in their communities. One town in North Central Nebraska receives 70% of its hospital income from Medicaid alone, and many patients with Medicare or no insurance.
I encouraged participants to see a bigger picture: If you are Christian as I am, we must look beyond our personal needs and fear, and see how care can be provided for every person, each a temple of God.
Issue 1: Health Care is working for me, therefore it does not need to be reformed. I talked to people with employer provided insurance that paid well over $10,000 a year, and up to $18,000 including co-pays. While they receive the care they need, they pay very high amounts for it.
This system may be working for those who have good benefits and steady jobs, but the self-employed and individuals who work at small businesses which are the heart and savior of small communities suffer. They often cannot afford insurance, or if they do purchase it, pay higher costs and receive less reimbursement. This leads to medical debt , and neglect of preventive care.
And of course, I hope we will consider the needs of the 47 million Americans with no insurance at all, no longer a marginal number, but overwhelming in scope.
Issue 2: Uninsured individuals don’t want insurance, or could afford it if they lived more frugally. This argument is invalid firstly to the Christian who wants to provide care for every person. Secondly, uninsured people are often families with full-time employment, some poor, but more and more frequently people who are simply not offered health care by their employer and feel they can’t afford insurance which itself costs more than the poverty line income.
If you have to choose between health insurance and food or utilities, immediate needs must be met. Other people without insurance do not have it because of pre-existing conditions, like diabetes or a mental health issue. The people that need good health insurance are those least likely to have access to it.
In my next post, I'll explore other issues on this topic.