God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: The Right Thing to Do

posted by God's Politics

Imagine a popular program that has existed for 10 years with bipartisan support, providing health insurance to about 6 million low-income children. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is up for reauthorization this year and Congress is debating how to extend the hope of coverage to 9 million children who are currently uninsured, while protecting coverage for the 6.6 million children who depend on SCHIP to see a doctor. But SCHIP is caught in the middle of a political battle—between a bipartisan majority in Congress and the nation’s governors on one hand and an isolated, defiant ideological president on the other.


A Senate bill was approved by the Finance Committee last week by a 17-4 vote, with six Republicans and all 11 Democrats supporting an increase of $35 billion over five years. Several leading conservatives were strong supporters. The New York Times reportedSenator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) as saying, “I am proud to support this important bill, which will provide health insurance coverage to approximately four million more children who would otherwise be uninsured.” According to the Los Angeles Times, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of the original authors of the program, said: “It doesn’t make me comfortable to advocate for such a large increase in spending. But it’s important to note that [the program] has been tremendously successful. And one of the lessons we’ve learned is that it’s going to cost more to cover additional kids.” The bill is scheduled to be on the Senate floor next week.


For its part, the House is proposing legislation that would provide an increase of $50 billion, which would cover an estimated 5 million more children. Both versions would be at least partially funded by an increase in the federal tax on tobacco products.


Last weekend at their annual summer meeting, the National Governors Association sent a letter to the president and Congress. While not specifically supporting either bill, the governors said: “While we have not taken a position on the actual overall funding amount or the sources of revenue used as offsets, we are encouraged by the Senate Finance Committee’s efforts to move a bipartisan reauthorization bill that provides increased funding … ”


And President Bush? He says he’ll veto either version. “It’s a way to encourage people to transfer from the private sector to government health-care plans. … I think it’s wrong, and I think it’s a mistake.” A White House spokesman added that the president’s advisers “will certainly recommend a veto” of the Senate committee’s proposal because of its size and the plan to fund it with a tax increase. The administration’s plan for only an additional $5 billion wouldn’t even cover all the children currently insured.


Remember, this is a president who is content with spending $12 billion a month on war, yet finds spending $7-10 billion a year on making sure that kids have health insurance “wrong” and “a mistake.” I can’t imagine a more clear case of utterly distorted priorities. Compassionate conservatism has been on life support for the last several years of this administration. President Bush’s threatened veto of SCHIP will officially pronounce it dead.


We have been working with the PICO National Network, one of the leading groups organizing for SCHIP, to remind policymakers that children’s health coverage is a moral issue for the faith community. Father John Baumann, executive director of PICO, had this reaction to the president’s threat: “(SCHIP) is a highly successful program that has always had bipartisan support as a pragmatic way to help states reach children who are not poor enough for Medicaid but whose parents cannot obtain coverage for their children at work. SCHIP is a popular and successful program that should not be dragged down into a partisan political fight over health care ideology.”


I agree. For far too long, Americans in poverty have been trapped in a partisan debate. Now, a strongly bipartisan program that works is trapped by a president who sees only ideology. Call your senators and members of Congress, and urge them to support the necessary expansion of SCHIP for America’s kids. It’s the right thing to do.


Take Action


Your congressional members need to hear that as a person of faith you believe that no child should go without treatment or depend on an emergency room for care because they lack health coverage. If we are judged by how we treat the least among us, we must make sure that all our children have coverage. Call your members of Congress today at (877) 367-5235, a free number set up by our friends at PICO National Network.


Tell them that people of faith are counting on them to stand up for the millions of uninsured children in the U.S. SCHIP has successfully reduced the uninsured rate for children by one-third over the past decade. Now Congress needs to pass a strong SCHIP bill by a veto-proof majority to provide hope to the millions of children in America who still go to sleep at night without health coverage.


For more information and other ways to take action, please visit www.coverallchildren.org.



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Moderatelad

posted July 26, 2007 at 2:40 pm


SCHIP is a great program and I support it whole-heartedly. The one major flaw in it’s administration at the state level – at lease in the great state of MN. 77% plus of the people that are covered by this program are ‘adults’. You see – in our state that is one of the most liberal and has appoint more people to state jobs that are liberal. Children can’t vote – Adults do. So it is mis-managed and used as a tool to assist the liberals in our state.
Put some teeth in this program where if a state uses these funds inappropreately – they loose a signifcant percentage of these funds in the next year. Leave it to the MN DFL to figure out a way to use funds for children to benefit them in the next election.
Have a great day –
.



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kevin s.

posted July 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm


The Post article Misspells “Congress”
This has nothing to do with people who are in poverty. Most of the affected recipients make more than twice the poverty-level income.
Further, Bush’s statement that this represents a shift toward greater reliance on federal government has merit, and is consistent with his push to spend dollars on a privatized approach in the form of tax credits.
You can disagree with Bush’s priorities in terms of how he wants to move forward with health care, but to ignore the debate entirely and cast this as an issue of whether poor children will die or not is, um, Sicko.



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kevin s.

posted July 26, 2007 at 2:53 pm


“Put some teeth in this program where if a state uses these funds inappropreately – they loose a signifcant percentage of these funds in the next year. Leave it to the MN DFL to figure out a way to use funds for children to benefit them in the next election.”
This is a very good point as well. Studies also show that many low-income parents are not even enrolling their children in the program. The money should be tied to accountability, and I am surprised Bush hasn’t chosen that tact.



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Shane Vander Hart

posted July 26, 2007 at 3:53 pm


I agree with President Bush regarding this bill pushing people toward a greater reliance on government to meet needs. Something must be done, but how about finding some middle ground that addresses both parties’ concerns?
Also if this is going to be an increase in spending, where are they going to cut spending? Regardless how you feel about the war, it is not practical to cut spending now while our troops are in harm’s way. Even when our troops pull out of Iraq the war on terror will still require billions of dollars. National defense, according to our Constitution and when you look to Romans 13 is a major priority of our government.
Let’s think outside of the box on this one. I think if we do and look for middle ground we’ll come up with creative solutions that have not seriously been looked at before.



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cpd

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:26 pm


How about a call to action for churches to do this job? Why should the government even be involved in this? We are called to care for the widows and orphans and those in need; this is not the resposiblity of the federal government.



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kevin s.

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:27 pm


“Also if this is going to be an increase in spending, where are they going to cut spending?”
The proposal is for a cigarette tax. I am not a smoker, but I find sin taxes to be troublesome. Targetting one particular product for taxation while maintaining its legality is dissonant. However, the practice is popular because the majority of Americans don’t engage in the behavior.
Therefore, we can pretend to ourselves that we aren’t really invoking a tax. Of course, cigarette taxation is a finite resource. Any amount spent on SCHIP invariably takes from the bucket.



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aaron

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:29 pm


“It’s a way to encourage people to transfer from the private sector to government health-care plans. … I think it’s wrong, and I think it’s a mistake.”
This is one of the few things I agree with that man about. Americans are getting fatter, 50% of adults are fat and a new study just came out showing that no self-control fatness is “contagious”. Why should the taxpayer be burdened by the health problems caused by these people? Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, muscle and joint problems, breathing problems, you name it. Give government spending an inch, and they’ll take a mile. Increase spending on these kids above the poverty level (and the seniors too) and pretty soon they will be clamoring for their share of the pie too. No thanks. Eat a banana.



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Moderatelad

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:31 pm


Posted by: Shane Vander Hart | July 26, 2007 3:53 PM
Let’s think outside of the box on this one. I think if we do and look for middle ground we’ll come up with creative solutions that have not seriously been looked at before.
Outside the box – I am right with you on this one.
How about demanding that if you are able bodied to work – you get a job. I know, in most states being on welfare is about equal to a $10.00 an hour job. So if they can only get a job for $5.00 – we will make up the difference. In fact, we can give them some incentive in the fact that we will pay them 10% more per dollor saved. So if you have a job that pays you 6 dollors, we will pay the other 4 dollors plus another .60 cents for the 6 dollors you are saving the system. All of the health benefits will stay in place until you can replace them with benefits from your employer. A ‘sliding scale’ to take people from total dependancy to independancy. With the money alone that we are saving – we should be able to offer benefits to all on the system.
I know DAYCARE – what about that one. OK – we give the provider a generous discount for the children that they have where the parents are involved in this new system. Provide a base pay that we will offer for daycare and the provider will be able to write off half that same ammount on their taxes. If the parent wants to have their child in a daycare that is more expensive – they will have to pay the difference.
You can make it a win win situation. If I can come up with it – it can not be that difficult.
have a great day –
.



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Brian

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:40 pm


We don’t need more people on government paid health insurance. We need responsible adults placing the needs of their families above their personal desires. I work with inner city kids who get all manner of subsidized housing, healthcare, food, but still manage to wear clothes my kids only dreamed about when they were growing up–and are picked up by parents driving brand new Lincoln and Cadillac SUVs. Weed out the corruption and I’ll back government healthcare.



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Dean Hunter

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:59 pm


I wonder what the ” real” bill contains. Nearly every bill that goes through congress is so filled with earmarks and pork barrel for constituents that we never know what the truth in billing is. (sic) I live in Georgia and we have had Peachcare for many years now and that program is in jeopardy. The governor has been to Washington to make sure that funds are provided. I wonder if the states should individually fund that portion of the healthcare bill – at least it would size down the money on the federal level. State may be more productive in handling this kind of program then having it divided up and proportionally given to the states as is done in programs like medicare,medicade and the covering of children health.
I live in a suburan area and I know that the local hospital does about 6 million dollars a year in pro bono work that is given to individuals that do not have health care. The cost probably come through the higher cost paid by private insurance holders.
Thinking outside the box is necessary in the society that we live in today. The old way of doing business – especially looking to Washington to solve all problems of society with money is definitely not working and it is definitely not solving any problems. Each local community, counties and states should look for solution that work within their districts. This would also cut down on the funds passing through so many sticky fingers.
My problem with Federal Govenment spending is that no one holds the government accountable for the spending of the funds. The politicians (all of them Rep and Demo) are so owned by special interest, you never know what they will get out of the money that is appropriated.
Blaming the President for every failure in Fed. Government – the template that Jim uses so much- is like a broken record that want turn off.
As a christian I disagree that the Federal Government is the ” new church” for changing the face of society.
I remember the Great Society of the 60’s that was espoused by leading politicians. Where is that great society now. It is obviously decaying along with the politicans that dreamed it up.



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Peter Calabrese

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Governors are always happy to have the federal government pay for things they should pay for. You don;t see the states raising taxes to provide for the children. The funding could easily be kept where it is at and the states who have problems should take care of the rest.
Your ad hominem attack on the President is gratuitous and totally lacking in charity. Liberals always are the same. They want other people’s money to solve their local problems and issues. Subsidiarity works best. remember Bush isn’t asking to cut the program he doesn’t want the increase.
Let he governors increase the taxes they have to put their political reputations to. How lame. You’re not giving me enough money to take care of my state.
Give me a break.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:04 pm


Perhaps I am just changing , wiser I hope . I do not believe it is because I am a better Christian or more compassionate . But Bush stopping this in regards to all the other stuff that he has allowed , all the pork , all the spending , the tax breaks , even if needed for oil exploration etc , this seems like the right thing to do .
Thanks for the info and the posts on this .



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Bruce

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:09 pm


Jim Wallace: “Remember, this is a president who is content with spending $12 billion a month on war, yet finds spending $7-10 billion a year on making sure that kids have health insurance “wrong” and “a mistake.”
What in the world does the above have to do with this bill? (and by the way vetos can be overridden though this one will not be)
And if you are so naive as to believe this is really just about “making sure that kids have health insurnance”, I have a bridge to sell you.
For the life of me Jim Wallace, why do you insist on castigating President Bush at every opportunity?
If one were from Mars and read your constant haranging of this administration and conservatives and Republicans in general they would likely conclude that your way of communiation is by the politics of destruction.
If your ideas have any merit at all, they should be able to be heard absent the smear, hate language and vitrol.
Not a Christian message in my humble opinon.
You make Jerry Fallwell and his ilk look school boyish.



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erik

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:21 pm


WOW thank goodness the voices are awakening to the SOJO company line of “bigger government” and less individual accountability. Maybe Wallis and his team will see how non-“christian” their perspective is. Churches and individual should be filling this gap not the government lets be advocates for PERSONAL action. The Federal Governement has never and never will do anything significant or meaningful for an individual… it’s impossible. People, one on one make a significant and menaingful difference.



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Anonymous

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:38 pm


A few generations ago it was deemed acceptable to consider people of color to be inherently disgusting, ugly, and lacking in willpower. Today such language is almost universally considered to be unacceptable. It is my prayer that it does not take many more generations before it will be equally unacceptable to say the same of people with obesity.
Thin people also have “diabetes, heart disease, stroke, muscle and joint problems, breathing problems,” and other medical problems yet they are not treated as second-class citizens and regularly denied access to quality health care. People with obesity also have a right to have their medical needs tended to as individuals, not as “ugly, disgusting, lack-of-willpower piles of blubber.”



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Ngchen

posted July 26, 2007 at 6:15 pm


The comparison to war spending is valid, for the simple reason that we’re not talking about a simple case of unaffordability. If this program is unaffordable, then how can we afford the war? Rather, we’re talking about a case of priorities. I agree that if our nation’s survival is at stake, then that obviously should be top priority. But that’s not the case w/r/t the current war.
And BTW, it’s wrong to take a few examples of “welfare corruption” and make it seem like it’s prevalent. Someone living off welfare is not living well, thank you very much. For all the free-market worshippers out there, remember that the very nature of health-care means that it’s NOT a simple, idealized market, and that it’s NOT a simple commodity that people can buy and sell. OTOH, there is a position that I respect, and that is the one stating that the state should exit the social services business, and let the church do it. While I don’t necessarily agree with it, it is at least principled and can be readily defended.



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aaron

posted July 26, 2007 at 6:30 pm


A few generations ago it was deemed acceptable to consider people of color to be inherently disgusting, ugly, and lacking in willpower. Today such language is almost universally considered to be unacceptable. It is my prayer that it does not take many more generations before it will be equally unacceptable to say the same of people with obesity.
Last I checked, they could diet, people of color had no such option. Big difference.
Thin people also have “diabetes, heart disease, stroke, muscle and joint problems, breathing problems,” and other medical problems yet they are not treated as second-class citizens and regularly denied access to quality health care.
True, but obesity is self-inflicted, and is a self-inflicted cause of such easily prevenatble diseases.
People with obesity also have a right to have their medical needs tended to as individuals, not as “ugly, disgusting, lack-of-willpower piles of blubber.”

They have NO right to healthcare due to their lack of self-control on my tax dollar. We’re talking about an easily preventable healthcare epidemic that you want to burden the tax payer with. No thanks!



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Payshun

posted July 26, 2007 at 6:36 pm


Aaron,
Actually obesity is not fully self inflicted. Some actually have major thyroid issues and other ailments that hinder loosing weight.
p



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aaron

posted July 26, 2007 at 8:28 pm


Aaron,
Actually obesity is not fully self inflicted. Some actually have major thyroid issues and other ailments that hinder loosing weight.



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aaron

posted July 26, 2007 at 8:30 pm


Aaron,
Actually obesity is not fully self inflicted. Some actually have major thyroid issues and other ailments that hinder loosing weight.

A small statistical minority in the LARGER picture does not a counter-argument make. The health costs for government subsidized healthcare will be STAGGERING given the obesity epidemic in this country.



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Moderatelad

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:18 pm


Posted by: Dean Hunter | July 26, 2007 4:59 PM
‘…about 6 million dollars a year in pro bono work that is given to individuals…
Safe your breath – most of the people on this site that believe in Moore don’t believe that ‘pro bono’ means anything – unless they are the recipeants of the ‘work for no charge’.
The only thing bigger than Moore is his ego.
Have a great day –
.



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Art

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:34 pm


The role of the federal government is whatever its citizens want it to be in a democracy. Scandanavia decided it want high taxes and lots of government services taking care of its residents from cradle to grave.
Progressives want the government to provide certain basic services like education, potable water, access to health care to name a few.
Matthew 25 is pretty straightforward that we as Christians need to take care of those who can’t provide certain needs for themselves. Sure the churches should be doing all this but they won’t and the can’t provide health coverage for these children. Only the government has the means to do something like this on – unless health insurance companies want to cover these children pro bono and I don’t see that happening. There will be some waste with any and all government spending; sure we should do all we can to prevent it, but millions of children will get health care.
The Good Samaritan didn’t toss the guy some guaze and iodine. He didn’t take him home with him to live in the spare room eithor, but he saw to it that he was given enough care until he was well.
As for me I would rather pay taxes to support this program than have a few more dollars for desrectionary spending. You have to live with your own values and how you want government funded.
And I’s like to add that many if not most obese people are unable to lose weight no matter how much they starve themselves. Their metabolism just winds down when they don’t eat.



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e-abbot

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:07 am


I believe that SCHIP is a vital program and should be funded and administered in an accountable way. Sen. Mel Martinez’ office told me in an email that Pres. Bush actually requested the increase in funding for the program. If that’s true, I wonder why he would threaten to veto it. I’m compelled to research the facts in more depth.
My problem is with the proposed method of funding the increase. The current proposal for the funding of SCHIP is exclusively by a significant increase in tobacco tax; that’s all tobacco – cigarettes, cigars, and loose tobacco. The proposed tax would effectively raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes by 61 cents, which may hurt some smokers a bit, but isn’t significant enough to see sales drop too much. Cigars, on the other hand, will cost 1.5 times what they do now. A cigar that sells for $7 now will cost $10.50 under this proposal. The proposal also includes heavy floor taxes on tobacconists. My concern is that the tax revenues will greatly diminish as people reduce or eliminate their consumption of premium cigars (most cigar smokers aren’t addicted to tobacco and nicotene the way cigarette smokers are). The heavy floor taxes and reduced sales will also drive many family owned tobacconist shops out of business, further erroding the tax base and funding for the program.
My understanding is that the federal government currently subsidizes gasoline to the tune of more than $10 per gallon. If we rolled back those subsidies by a mere 10 cents a gallon, we’d have more than enough to fund and provide proper administrative oversight for SCHIP and care for the children who desperately need the help.
I’ve also heard a lot of talk about government responsibility vs. personal responsibility, but I’ve heard next to nothing about community responsibility. We all have an obligation to help one another to live more full lives. If we stopped arguing about whether it’s the government’s responsibility or the individual’s responsibility, perhaps we could focus on acting as a community to enrich the lives of our sisters and brothers. That’s what the church is called to do (Matt 25, Acts 2) – it’s the community of believers, not solo individuals or governments, who are called to action.



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aaron

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:15 am


And I’s like to add that many if not most obese people are unable to lose weight no matter how much they starve themselves. Their metabolism just winds down when they don’t eat.
Uh huh, if only they were entitled….



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kevin s.

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:05 am


“Actually obesity is not fully self inflicted. Some actually have major thyroid issues and other ailments that hinder loosing weight.”
In the preponderance of cases (90%+) it is self-inflicted. Aaron’s argument, as I understand it, is that we ought not be forced to subsidize people’s bad decisions. You can make a counterargument, but set the sanctimony aside, eh? Most people are fat because they eat too much and exercise too little.
” A cigar that sells for $7 now will cost $10.50 under this proposal.”
Is this true? I’d like to see a link. If it is true, that sucks. How about a $4,000 tax on Volvos instead! Maybe a $70 tax on Patagonia fleeces?



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Anonymous

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:11 am


http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/03/09/17_franken.html
Eeeesh! No wonder Jesus stands at the door of the Church at Laodicea, knocking to be let in, and announcing that He will vomit them out of His mouth.
Okay…Now that I’ve got the above link and verse out of my system…. LOL!
Okay…Franken’s cartoon is an exaggeration. But not as gross an exaggeration as we might hope it to be? I mean…no WONDER there are growing numbers of Christians who wonder if the United States of America will turn out to be the Mystery Babylon – Mother of all Harlots – in the Book of Revelation. With American “Christianity” deceived by the Antichrist
The comments on this board tonight resemble that.
Shudder…. To parody long-ago lyrics from 3-Dog Night
“Want some whiskey in your water?
Sugar in your tea?
What’s all these crazy questions
they’re asking me?
This is the strangest Christianity I did ever see! Don’t turn on the lights – I’m afraid to see.
That cigarette you’re smokin’
Scares me half to death.
I’m lookin’ at my girlfriend,
She passed out on the floor.
I’ve seen so many things
I ain’t ever seen before.
Don’t know what it is,
But I don’t want to see no more”
No, honest, this is diabolical stuff here tonight. Ewwww! Time to go back to the New Testament attitudes. This is the wisdom of this world meets the pits of Hell. Ugly.
Sorry…had to vent about the comments.
Now, back to the original article…
I think they ought to certainly get rid of any abuses in SCHIPs. I’m sure there are many – anything human HAS abuses. It’s the curse of the sin nature.
But…how can you save money by not taking care of sick children? Eventually they will cost more money. Spending billions on a war that was based on misguided information…and ignoring the needs of your own citizens?
Me-thinks the church should ALWAYS be involved in taking care of sick people – but the government picking up the slack is just an example of protecting its citizens.
Don’t bother starting an argument about the imperfections of government – because I won’t debate it. Of course the government runs amuck – Anything comprised of HUMAN BEINGS runs amuk> because man sins>



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Amazon Creek

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:17 am


hi that was my post up above i need a new keyboard sorry to post anonymously> didn”t mean to anyway what i was trying to conclude is that i believe all human things get distorted> and i”m not looking for human heroes gotta go this keyboard is short



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Anonymous

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:38 am


TO: Jim Wallis
I just finished your book, “God’s Politics: Why the Right gets it wrong and the Left doesn’t get it.”
I like the book for the most part, but what I don’t get is your blog. You state in your book that the, “Left doesen’t get it,” but every part of your blog and website is WAY extremist left Democratic! What’s up with that dude? If both sides are supposedly off, why are you constantly so in agreementy with the left and attacking the right? I don’t see any balance at all guy. As far as I am concerned you are a TOTAL shill for the extreme left. Prove me wrong dude, prove me wrong!



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get_real

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:47 am


amazing the callousness of so many “christians” who post here. “big government” isn’t the enemy. this idea that taxes are the boogeyman is ridiculous. we live in a society. we need roads, we need police, we need firemen… and, guess what, WE NEED HEALTHCARE.
put yourself in the position of someone who can’t afford a necessary health procedure for your child (these things aren’t cheap).
Jim is exactly right, bush’s stand is purely ideological and ignores the millions of people who are actually affected.



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get_real

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:55 am


erik said:
“Churches and individual should be filling this gap not the government lets be advocates for PERSONAL action. The Federal Governement has never and never will do anything significant or meaningful for an individual… it’s impossible. People, one on one make a significant and menaingful difference.”
um, and exactly how do you propose this will work? are you suggesting that churches start opening up health clinics and providing free health care?
we’re not talking here about making people feel loved, we’re talking about providing health care. this isn’t abstract, it’s real, and it needs a real solution, which so far, the “church” has not provided.



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get_real

posted July 27, 2007 at 9:00 am


kevin s. said:
“Most people are fat because they eat too much and exercise too little.”
we’re talking about children here, children who have been taught to make bad decisions, but children nonetheless. do you really think that this would be Christ’s response?
maybe you don’t, kevin s., but most of the rest of us make a lot of bad choices on a daily basis.
if a person accidently sets a fire by smoking in bed, should our tax-paid firemen ignore the call? i mean, they made their bed, right?



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 27, 2007 at 9:10 am


You state in your book that the, “Left doesen’t get it,” but every part of your blog and website is WAY extremist left Democratic! What’s up with that dude? If both sides are supposedly off, why are you constantly so in agreementy with the left and attacking the right?
That comment only shows just how far to the right you are. Besides, even at that true Christian prophets in this country at this time will come exclusively from the “left” — because the “right” represents establishment evangelicalism.



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Linda

posted July 27, 2007 at 9:16 am


In answer to Shane Vander Hart !
I have no idea where you are getting your information from when you said people on welfare are getting what amounts to $10 an hour ?
In the state of Massachusetts which is one of the higher assistance paying states there is no welfare program,” Clinton abolished it,” and in its place is transitional assistance which is only meant to be short term and by the way it comes to about $369 a month which amounts to about $12 a day now I will leave you to figure out what that comes to per hour .
If your going to try to make a point I suggest you get your figures right .
Also most southern states give almost half that much .
You try to live on that as I did when I was disabled and waiting for my disability to be approved .
I get very annoyed when some of you people talk as if all people on assistance are lazy and should get a job. I worked probably harder than you ever did Shane in my own business when I lived in Maine,,sometimes seven days a week carrying heavy 30lb bags of seaweed up and down the shore lines to my truck until I finally I developed siatic nerve damage from the constant bending and hurt my back so bad from cerrying the heavy weight I couldn’t do the work any more and now at 62 I have arthritis in my back ,neck and hips and most days I am in constant pain and by the way I am a woman !
So don’t talk as if all people on assistance are lazy. Unless you walked in my shoes you have no right !



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Peter

posted July 27, 2007 at 9:41 am


My last comments were pulled off this blog for some reason, so I’ll try again and temper the rhetoric a bit: In short, why has the libertarian philosophy of small government and low taxes come to represent “the Christian position” on so many issues? So much of the opposition to SCHIP has come from the perspective that the government “should not be doing the church’s job.” Well, here’s an irony: a lot of the people who say that also say the church’s job is to save souls and they castigate the NCC for being so concerned about social justice and outreach. So…who’s going to speak up for poor children?
Let’s put away free-market and libertarian idolotries and find the best way to care for those among us who are in need.
By the way, in regard to the remarks about overweight people that were expressed on this thread, the following is included in the rules of conduct:



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Cheryl R. Thomas

posted July 27, 2007 at 10:43 am


Covering the 9 million children without health insurance should be the top priority of the church. Senator Charles Grassley, (R-IA) a conservative’s conservative is supporting SCHIP and calling on the President to do so. Children dying from preventable diseases in this country is unacceptable. Thank you, Jim Wallace, for bringing this issue to the forefront. Healthcare, like public education, should be the birth right of every child in our country.



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John

posted July 27, 2007 at 11:12 am


Reading the comments above, I was struck by the several people who insist on a dichotomy between government responsibility and individual, or church, responsibility. How are they really different in a representative democracy? Aren’t Christian citizens, like all citizens, responsible for government policy and actions? Granted, as a practical matter, some things are better handled individually, or locally, or nationally, depending on particular circumstances. One significant factor in making that determination is the availability of, or access to, resources. Who are these individuals or churches that have the resources necessary to adequately provide for the healthcare needs of the millions of children living in poverty? Perhaps, when individuals and churches work collectively in common cause, we can tap those resources. But, isn’t that exactly the nature of democratic government? Individuals and institutions working together for the common good?
We may not always agree on specific policies, and there may be real problems with the way policies and programs are implemented. However, I can’t help but wonder if the invocation of the “big government” bogeyman during discussions of what are, or are not, morally responsible actions isn’t really a pretense to mask our selfish hoarding of our treasures while disingenuously claiming that responsibility for caring for the poor or needy belongs elsewhere.



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kevin s.

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:22 pm


“Sorry…had to vent about the comments.”
I guess. Man, that was about the furthest thing from cogent. Calm down.
“You state in your book that the, “Left doesen’t get it,” but every part of your blog and website is WAY extremist left Democratic!”
It’s not extremist. It’s more or less the party line.
“we’re talking about children here, children who have been taught to make bad decisions, but children nonetheless. do you really think that this would be Christ’s response?”
I wasn’t referring to children. I was referring to adults. I think Christ would tell adults to eat less, yes. Gluttony is a sin.
“if a person accidently sets a fire by smoking in bed, should our tax-paid firemen ignore the call? i mean, they made their bed, right?”
Bad analogy. Would it be immoral to ask the person to pay for the firemen? The very isssue here is whether to tax a bad decision to pay for a public health program.



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kevin s.

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:35 pm


“I have no idea where you are getting your information from when you said people on welfare are getting what amounts to $10 an hour ?”
Between subsidized housing, food payment assistance, medical assitance, child income tax credits and the like, the yearly payout can easily exceed $20k in MN. Hard to believe that Mass would be that much different.
“I get very annoyed when some of you people talk as if all people on assistance are lazy and should get a job.”
There is very little of this talk here,particularly with respect to people with disabilities. However, there are people who take advantage of certain systems. If not for them, it would be easier to take care of people like you.
“Let’s put away free-market and libertarian idolotries and find the best way to care for those among us who are in need.”
The problem with this statement is that it dismissed the principle argument for free market ideologies (and it isn’t idolatry simply because you disagree with it). A strong economy creates jobs and allows more people the ability to serve their own needs through work. Increased governmental intervention has historically been show to hinder the economy. Ever been in a French heat wave?
“By the way, in regard to the remarks about overweight people that were expressed on this thread, the following is included in the rules of conduct:
Do not make negative personal remarks about another’s age, disability, gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexual orientation, intelligence, character, appearance, health, mental health, education or any other personal characteristic. ”
Nobody made ane personal remarks. We are an overweight society. Are we just supposed to ignore the impact this has on public health?



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Drew

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:15 pm


Thank you, Jim, for your strong statement of support for SCHIP reauthorization at a level high enough to make it possible for the 9 million uninsured children in this country to have access to adequate and affordable health insurance.
My church is a member of a PICO affiliate in California. Our state currently has 736,000 uninsured children. Over the last five years we’ve seen how SCHIP has helped reduce the number of uninsured children in our state – from 28% in 1997 to 20% in 2005.
In addition,if SCHIP is not reauthorized at a significantly greater level than before, California and other states face a shortfall beginning in 2008. In California that shortfall would be $203 million in 2008 and $778 million by 2012. If that happens, 322,000 children, or 40% of those currently enrolled will be at risk of losing their coverage.
Since January, I’ve spoken with many parents whose children lack health insurance. They tell me about sleepless nights spent worrying each time their child coughs, or catches a cold, or comes down with a fever. They tell me about their child’s chronic health problems which without insurance require long waits in an emergency room necessitating missing school and taking off from work.
All our nation’s residents deserve a place around the health-care “table of plenty,” beginning this legislative session with our children. SCHIP reauthorization at a significantly increased level, say $50 billion, is a proven way to make sure there’s room for all.
Blessings to you and Sojourners!



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Chuck

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:16 pm


I can’t resist this. Has anyone considered that there are folks who should simply not get medical care, that it is actually in the best interests of everyone else that they simply be allowed to die?
You see? We have the option of going to the other extreme.



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Týsson

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:33 pm


I agree that health coverage for children is important. However, why in the world is this something the federal government should be doing?!



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Kevin Wayne

posted July 27, 2007 at 2:05 pm


I agree that health coverage for children is important. However, why in the world is this something the federal government should be doing?!
Posted by: Týsson | July 27, 2007 1:33 PM

None, really- as Schwarzenegger & Rommney have proved in their home states.



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Kevin Wayne

posted July 27, 2007 at 2:07 pm


Let me correct what I jsut said. “None” is a little too all inclusive. I would say the Fed should be one of many resources tapped.



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get_real

posted July 27, 2007 at 2:56 pm


“I agree that health coverage for children is important. However, why in the world is this something the federal government should be doing?!”
who is going to do it??? all i’ve heard suggested so far is “the church” and “individuals”. how exactly is that going to work? church health care clinics? are tithes going to have to pay for doctors now? are we just going to pray these children well?
you have to go past ideology and actually suggest a plan. or else it’s just big government is the boogeyman and all that’s important is to argue against it doing anything.
if people were getting health coverage from the church, government wouldn’t NEED to do this.



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get_real_again

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:11 pm


it’s obvious from the comments that a lot of you “anti-big-governmenters” don’t really understand the program. i suggest you read about it before posting comments about it.
we’re talking about using PUBLIC funds (as someone pointed out, from a large pool of INDIVIDUALS, i.e. taxpayers, many of which are CHURCHgoers) to promote PUBLIC health. it’s a no-brainer.
why is bush ag’in it? because it demands accountability of private insurers, which they obviously don’t like. this isn’t a “big government” issue. we’re not talking about government bureaucrats sticking needles into childrens arms.



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get_real_once_more

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:27 pm


kevin s. said:
“Bad analogy. Would it be immoral to ask the person to pay for the firemen?”
it absolutely would be if fire service were contingent on the person being able to afford to pay for it.
then he said:
“The very isssue here is whether to tax a bad decision to pay for a public health program.”
personally, i don’t give a hoot who or what you tax. if you want it to come from somewhere else in the public treasury, i’m on board with that. but there are certainly valid public health arguments for taxing cigarettes and using the funds for public health services.



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Týsson

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:43 pm


“Let me correct what I jsut said. “None” is a little too all inclusive. I would say the Fed should be one of many resources tapped.”
That just seems like adding a middle man where none is needed.



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Rich

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:05 pm


According to the SOJO article, “the House is proposing legislation that would provide an increase of $50 billion, which would cover about 5 million more children”. That’s $10,000 per child per year!! I say the private sector can do it a lot cheaper. Using our treasure responsibly to help the disadvantaged is a “moral” issue SOJO doesn’t talk about. Making big government bigger and enslaving people to the dole is not morally acceptable, except to those who base their morality on “Sicko”. There must be a balance between people taking responsibility for their own economic status and ability to share in paying for their family’s services versus taxing others to make up for the shortage. Everything is to be in service to glorify the Lord and take part in His salvation. Does the health system in countries with government guaranteed health care seem to be working in this regard? Au contraire. You can be sure that a “health system” which includes abortion and assisted suicide will not be one of moral basis. Does SOJO beat that drum as hard? Why doesn’t SOJO campaign to spend the entire amount spent on public financing of death through the health system on real health instead? Then we might also begin to nurture a moral fiber that rejects war.



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come_on_already

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:33 pm


rich asks:
“Does the health system in countries with government guaranteed health care seem to be working in this regard?”
actually, yes. very well in some cases. but that’s completely beside the point.
once again, we’re talking about a program to provide PUBLIC funds to ensure health care for CHILDREN who would otherwise go without. how in the world is the private sector going to provide health care to underpriveledged children???
stop beating the ideological drum and offer up a REAL SOLUTION that doesn’t involve public funding.



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Anonymous

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:25 pm


“That’s $10,000 per child per year!! I say the private sector can do it a lot cheaper.”
Rich, do you have any idea what health care costs? Even minor surgery can easily break the $10,000 mark. My wife has multiple sclerosis – a treatable disease but the treatment costs come close to $20,000 annually. If we didn’t have great health coverage from an employer, we’d pretty much be out of luck and her disease would go untreated.
I don’t see what incentives there are for the private sector to provide this coverage for people who don’t have it. Who exactly in the private sector do you mean?
Ah, but of course, you suggest personal responsibility. You’re so right – those kids should be out there selling lemonade and cookies so they can afford to cover their own doctor’s bills. Lazy brats.



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Týsson

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:50 pm


“who is going to do it???”
Why can’t the states do it?
“if people were getting health coverage from the church, government wouldn’t NEED to do this.”
Conversely, if the federal government weren’t taking so much money to support its own weight, then states, local governments and, yes, members of churhces might have the resources they need to provide innovative solutions to these problems.
Admittedly, this is a difficult problem that desprately needs a solution. I have yet to hear a compelling argument, however, that big government is the only, or even the best, answer.



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Týsson

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:02 pm


“we’re talking about using PUBLIC funds (as someone pointed out, from a large pool of INDIVIDUALS, i.e. taxpayers, many of which are CHURCHgoers) to promote PUBLIC health. it’s a no-brainer.”
You are oversimplifying the situation considerably. For instance, you are neglecting in your calculations the substantial bureaucratic cost of maintaining and distributing those public funds. Moreover, you do not seem to be taking into account the inherent problems of transferring control of the means to solve local problems to a national agency that is very far removed from the people who have to implement its decisions.



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get_really_realer

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:04 pm


tysson,
if it were left up to the states, you’d end up with massive geographic inequalities in coverage. if it were left up to people, where’s the organization, where’s the incentive? there’s too much at stake to simply leave it up to people and churches to tackle such an enormous (socially and geographically) problem and hope some unique and effective solutions come to light.
the federal government is the only organization with the authority and frankly, the incentive, to provide this coverage. note that i didn’t say “big government” – i think that’s a fundamental misunderstanding here – the SCHIP program has nothing to do with making government bigger, it has to do with making it EFFECTIVE in SAVING LIVES in the IMMEDIATE FUTURE.
why are taxes okay for military defense but not to save children’s lives?
at the end of the day, the entire point of having a federal government is to protect the citizens as a whole and defend the rights of the individual. this program fits both bills and is EXACTLY the kind of thing the federal government should be doing.



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get_it_on

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:14 pm


do you really think that the only reason there are children in the united states without health care is because of taxation? that if people didn’t have to pay so darn much in taxes, all children would be completely covered? come on.



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Anonymous

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:27 pm


Where is the love of Christ in these posts?
If memory serves me correctly, many hospitals and medical clinics have been founded by Christians of various denominations. Seems as though the Church has been involved in health care far longer than our government. Unfortunately, the church has dropped the ball on this as it has many other things.
Do I like government providing health care (or for that matter public aid)? Absolutely not, BUT, we as a christian people have been so overly individualistic and selfish that we won’t do it for fear of having to ‘give’ more than our fair share. The fact that our government is picking up this ball is a testament to how self-centered our North American, even global, Christianity has become.
One of my biggest concerns in employment in the future is health insurance. Why? I am confident that unless forced to, my Christian brothers and sisters would sooner see me languish in pain than give up their cell phone or, heaven forbid, their cable TV. No doubt they would pray for me…but actually make a significant (ie life changing) sacrifice for another person…doubtful.
Reluctantly I must support a government subsidized health care system for ALL people in our society…thin, fat, healthy, sick, regardless. It’s time we start taking care of one another and not just our obese (physically as well as materially) self-centered, individualistic selves.



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Týsson

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:32 pm


“if it were left up to the states, you’d end up with massive geographic inequalities in coverage.”
Those geographic inequalities are inevitible no matter what level of control you impose. The advantage to keeping this at the state level is that it provides many more opportunities for innovation.
“if it were left up to people, where’s the organization, where’s the incentive?”
I’m confused. Are you saying that people have no incentive to help their fellow citizens? The fact that we are debating this issue suggests otherwise. The fact that churches have historically instituted quality hospitals with at least part of their mission to provide for the poor suggests that such organization is possible at the level of local groups.
“there’s too much at stake to simply leave it up to people and churches to tackle such an enormous (socially and geographically) problem and hope some unique and effective solutions come to light.”
I would counter that there is too much at stake to simply leave it up to the Federal government. The Federal government has a very poor track record on managing local problems. I suppose I just have greater faith in my fellow citizens than you do.
“why are taxes okay for military defense but not to save children’s lives?”
To whom are you addressing this question? It has no bearing on my argument at all.



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Týsson

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:37 pm


“do you really think that the only reason there are children in the united states without health care is because of taxation? that if people didn’t have to pay so darn much in taxes, all children would be completely covered? come on.”
I think the reasons that children in the United States do not have adequate access to health care are myriad and complex. Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, the Federal government has had a role to play in the problem. I am simply not convinced that the Federal government is the best equipped to solve these problems. I imagine my skepticism comes in large part due to my observations of Federal involvement with the public educational system. I do not want to see the same mistakes applied to public health.



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kevin s.

posted July 27, 2007 at 7:44 pm


“Rich, do you have any idea what health care costs? Even minor surgery can easily break the $10,000 mark.”
Yes, but insurance does not break that mark, especially for children.
“I don’t see what incentives there are for the private sector to provide this coverage for people who don’t have it. Who exactly in the private sector do you mean?”
One of the main crticisms of SCHIP is that it provides coverage for those who would otherwise have insurance subsidized by their employer.
“You’re so right – those kids should be out there selling lemonade and cookies so they can afford to cover their own doctor’s bills. Lazy brats.”
Let’s tone down the melodrama.
” there’s too much at stake to simply leave it up to people”
Is the government comprised of robots?
“the SCHIP program has nothing to do with making government bigger, it has to do with making it EFFECTIVE in SAVING LIVES in the IMMEDIATE FUTURE.”
Charging government with this task invariably makes government bigger.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 27, 2007 at 7:49 pm


New Orleans Recovery Is Slowed by Closed Hospitals
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/us/24orleans.html?_r=1&oref=slogin



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oh_you_so_crazy

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:31 pm


“Let’s tone down the melodrama.”
it’s called sarcasm, not melodrama.
“Charging government with this task invariably makes government bigger.”
now, THAT’S melodrama.
by the way, fellas, i’m still waiting for that plan to provide these children with health care that doesn’t involve the federal government. c’mon, be creative, gimme your best shot.



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snap_yo_fingers

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:34 pm


oh, and:
“Is the government comprised of robots?”
real clever response there kev, i can tell you worked on that one. but you obviously missed the point. slow down a little with the cutting and pasting and read a little more. in between snippets of your wisdom, other people have some pretty intelligent things to say too.
and… kevin s. inserts another snappy remark right about… wait for it, wait for it…



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Anonymous

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:48 pm


“Are you saying that people have no incentive to help their fellow citizens? The fact that we are debating this issue suggests otherwise. The fact that churches have historically instituted quality hospitals with at least part of their mission to provide for the poor suggests that such organization is possible at the level of local groups.”
it’s a loooong leap from caring about others to taking the initiative and having the resources and opportunity to implement programs that will provide health care for every child who needs it. meanwhile, this happens (a good example of the need for federal funding and supervision, and why it shouldn’t be left up to the states):
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/27/AR2007022702116.html
“To whom are you addressing this question? It has no bearing on my argument at all.”
it’s just based on a general observation that the anti-big governmenters tend to be fine with the massive amounts of federal dollars spent on the military. the federal government can’t be trusted to fund health care but it can certainly be trusted to protect the homeland and fight wars.



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Týsson

posted July 27, 2007 at 10:00 pm


“it’s a loooong leap from caring about others to taking the initiative and having the resources and opportunity to implement programs that will provide health care for every child who needs it.”
And it’s an even longer leap from your example of a child who dies from lack of proper dental care to the notion that the Federal government would do a better job when, in fact, considerable evidence points to the contrary. My sister is on disability and has been for years. The health care she and her family gets courtesy of the Federal government is deplorable and, frankly, Federal oversight is largely to blame.
“it’s just based on a general observation that the anti-big governmenters tend to be fine with the massive amounts of federal dollars spent on the military.”
Ah, I see. You were engaging in a logical fallacy and hoped I would take the bait. I’m sorry to disappoint you.



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kevin s.

posted July 27, 2007 at 11:25 pm


“by the way, fellas, i’m still waiting for that plan to provide these children with health care that doesn’t involve the federal government. c’mon, be creative, gimme your best shot.”
How about a plan at the state level that involves tax credits for the purchase of private insurance?
“it’s called sarcasm, not melodrama.”
The two are not mutually exclusive.
“in between snippets of your wisdom, other people have some pretty intelligent things to say too.”
I like what this Tysson fellow has to say.
“”Charging government with this task invariably makes government bigger.”
now, THAT’S melodrama”
Huh? Do you disagree? Do you know what I mean when I say big government?



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Amazon Creek

posted July 28, 2007 at 3:24 am


Thank you, Get_real and Paula, etc. My keyboard gave up the ghost in the middle of my post last night and I couldn’t type half the letters after that.
So you said it a lot better than me.
What I was so horrified on this board is the attitude expressed yesterday by so many of “I’m not my brother’s keeper.” Sheesh….WHO among us always makes wise choices.
And we don’t know why some people make poor choices. People tend to make the sorts of choices they were taught to make as children. If you’ve never been taught to think beyond tomorrow…because when you’re poor, that’s often all you can see…than how are you supposed to learn – unless someone patiently helps you learn?
The lady next door is a good example. She hurt her knee at her last job – and has been having great difficulty finding work since. No, she doesn’t know how to sell herself to employers. She often makes muddle-headed choices – because she was in an abusive marriage for years – and all HER choices were made FOR her. She needs someone right now to hold her hand and help her write a better resume, to cheer for her (because she no longer believes in herself), someone to connect her to job resources.
But she’s a sweet, caring soul – that often takes in teenagers that need some place to stay. How dare anyone rake someone like her over the coals for her poor choices. She’s never learned to make good ones up to this point in her life.
You know what the problem on this board is….you can’t SHOW patience and compassion for others – unless you yourself have EXPERIENCED patience and compassion from God.
I say this kindly – but I fear some of the posters here have never known God. They know all ABOUT him. But they have never experienced God’s great kindness and infinite patience – with US, with YOU.
Because once you’ve known that – you are a changed person. You have such an easier time empathizing with others. You understand what it is to struggle and to need God. And you are so completely thankful for that – that you want to extend it to others.
Some of you still think you did something to deserve God’s kindness, that you pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps. So that’s why you’re patting yourself on the back all the time, and boasting about how you DESERVE health care and others don’t.
If you want to adhere to this every-man-for-himself philosophy, it’s a free country, go ahead! But please don’t call it Christian. You are serving a different Jesus.



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kevin s.

posted July 28, 2007 at 12:49 pm


“WHO among us always makes wise choices.”
Nonetheless, how Americans eat has enormous implications for the state of health care in this country. Any data comparing the cost of American vs. European healthcare is apples to oranges unless you take into account the fact that a vast swath of the American population is willingly obese.
Before we progress further into the world of socialized medicine, we need to have this discussion. Otherwise, we will be left retroactively accounting for our poor health, and our elected officials will be having that conversation for us, with a full menu of onerous regulations at their disposal, including the right to regulate our eating choices.
“I say this kindly – but I fear some of the posters here have never known God. ”
Because we disagree with your political viewpoint? Give me a break. There are reasonable disagreements with your poitical positions, which you ignore in favor of sweeping judgments about the faith of others. That government cannot compensate for every bad personal decision is a statement of fact.
“Because once you’ve known that – you are a changed person.”
But not necessarily a Democrat.
“So that’s why you’re patting yourself on the back all the time, and boasting about how you DESERVE health care and others don’t.”
You are confusing the uses of the term deserve. If I work for one month for my employer, I deserve the wage we had previously negotiated. That is biblical, and is quit different from the question of whether I deserve spiritual death, but have been given grace by our Lord Jesus Christ.
If I walk in, and ask my boss where my paycheck is, and he responds by telling me that I don’t deserve one, and that I am not a Christian because I have asked such a question, is that reasonable? No. And so it is not the government’s responsibility to dispense mercy.
“If you want to adhere to this every-man-for-himself philosophy, it’s a free country, go ahead! But please don’t call it Christian. You are serving a different Jesus.”
Error of category.



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Anon

posted July 28, 2007 at 4:00 pm


Happily, the Congress seems to be in a position to override the President’s veto on this one.



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get_real

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:00 am


“That government cannot compensate for every bad personal decision is a statement of fact.”
and this sums up your incredibly arrogant argument – that people are in the position they’re in because of choices they’ve made.
oh, if we could all be as wise as you…



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realer_than_you

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:03 am


“And so it is not the government’s responsibility to dispense mercy.”
are we talking here about government FOR THE PEOPLE and BY THE PEOPLE? or are you talking about the boogeyman?



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Týsson

posted July 29, 2007 at 12:12 pm


“are we talking here about government FOR THE PEOPLE and BY THE PEOPLE? or are you talking about the boogeyman?”
I think he’s talking about the same kind of government that Thomas Paine discussed in Common Sense.
“Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
These words are as relevant today as they were 230 years ago. If there is a way to accomplish the noble ends of providing children with access to health care that does not involve government, then we should do so. If, however, government does prove necessary, then the closer that government is to the people it serves, the less onerous, the more responsive and the least expensive it will likely be.
Taking local dollars to the federal level so they can then be redistributed back to local people makes no sense. It turns dollars into pennies at the local level and invites all manner of federal control that will limit choice, stifle innovation and severely curtail the input of individuals into public health care policy and private health care decisions.



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Dale Glasshess

posted July 29, 2007 at 12:45 pm


Dear Jim,
I would normally favor spending on the federal level that benefits children. In this case, however, other factors should be considered:
(1) For the most part, most children do not have
need of health insurance. In general, this is
the most healthy time of a person’s life.
(2) As a non-health care professional, but as
someone who has had the opportunity to observe
the health care system in action, it is my
observation that a large percentage of adults
who have primary responsibility for the health
of children needlessly cart them off to the
doctor or emergency center at the first sign
of a runny nose or sore throat.
It is therefore my considered opinion that if we are going to spend more money on children’s health, we can take two approaches:
(1) spend some of the money for those children who
suffer from longterm illnesses and chronic
diseases or who are at high risk. Not every
kid in sight needs insurance!
(2) some of that money should go toward educating
adults about what truly constitutes an
emergency and what to do at home first.
I shake my head sometimes at the utter lack of
common sense with which some adults approach
caring for their kids.
Health care professionals who work for overcrowded health centers characterized by long waits and lines would be exceedingly grateful for just these small steps toward sanity.
Dale Glass-hess



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kevin s.

posted July 29, 2007 at 7:46 pm


“and this sums up your incredibly arrogant argument – that people are in the position they’re in because of choices they’ve made.”
My statement was in response to this:
“And we don’t know why some people make poor choices.”
Further, it is manifestly true.
“are we talking here about government FOR THE PEOPLE and BY THE PEOPLE? or are you talking about the boogeyman?”
By the people or not, to designate mercy as an attribute of government is an error of category.
“oh, if we could all be as wise as you…”
This is just a cheap way of side-stepping the argument.



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aaron

posted July 29, 2007 at 9:42 pm


and this sums up your incredibly arrogant argument – that people are in the position they’re in because of choices they’ve made.
I’m not quite sure how else most people end up in the situations they are in, a few anecdotes not withstanding? I thought the Christian argument was God allows free-will afterall…



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Gordon (PICO National Network)

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:06 pm


For the record, here are some helpful facts:
*Democrats and Republicans created SCHIP 10 years ago as a bi-partisan compromise. The federal government puts money in, the states do the same and parents also often contribute. This is a program that provides affordable coverage to children whose parents cannot get family coverage at work.
*Almost everyone agrees that SCHIP has been a success, reducing the rate of uninsured children by 1/3 as the number of uninsured adults has grown rapidly.
*Most of the children who would be covered with new funding are already eligible for coverage, but in many cases their states have run out of money.
*The reason why Conservative Republican Senators and Liberal Democratic Senators reached an agreement to increase funding by $35 billion over five years (the agreement President Bush threatened to veto) is that there really is not another practical way for states to get these low-income children covered with health insurance.
*the Senate plan that the President threatened to veto won support from 6 out of 10 of the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, so this really is a bi-partisan issue.
*what is needed is $50 billion over five years = $10 billion per year NOT $50 billion per year.
*children without health coverage are more likely to die and more likely to suffer long term health problems as a result of not getting good preventative care
*it costs many times more for a child to go to the emergency room than be treated by a pediatrician, so not covering children puts more costs on everyone than covering them
Of course keeping children alive and healthy is a moral issue, which is why an overwhelming number of Americans – 84 percent in a recent survey – support the idea that the federal government should make sure that all children have health coverage.



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Anonymous

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:46 am


No, some of the posters on this board do not know God because of their arrogant speech – because they pat themselves on the back for making wise choices, forgetting that the reason they make wise choices may well be because they were given a birth-family (BY GOD’S GRACE) that taught them such wise decision-making. You did nothing to GET that family. If you had been born into a family that had alcoholism and substance abuse – YOU wouldn’t have been able to do a thing to change that. And YOU would have learned to make poor choices too.
Instead of condemning others for their poor decision-making skills, what you SHOULD be doing is offering praise and thanks to God for His goodness. But no, all I hear is how wonderful YOU are, a loud pipe-organ playing “Then sings my soul, my Savior, self, to Me….How Great I art! How Great I art. To me be the glory, great things I have done.” Pride, pride, boasting.
Ummm…pardon me…but….Where does God fit into this picture?

Besides thanking God that you are not like other men as you stand at the front of the Temple?
“By their fruits you shall know them.”
And by the way, I DO happen to agree that part of health care should be educating people and teaching them to make better choices. Won’t happen overnight, but it should be done. An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.
But to say it is not the responsibility of government to dispense mercy? Government should be a reflection of the people it represents. It has no character of it’s own. All “government” is is a dead, dumb noun typed on a piece of printer paper – until the people it represents gives it a face and life they choose to.
Since God has told us to be people who value “justice and mercy and humbly walking with our God” – then the way we vote ought to reflect that. And our government ought to reflect that too. Justice, mercy, and humility.
I am posting this for the benefit of the others on this board. To be honest, I see no value in responding to Kevin, personally. He is like some attorney – whose only goal is to win an argument – irrespective of the truth. His mind is not open – therefore it is foolish speaking with him If he can get his client off on some technicality, so be it. The rest is simply immaterial.
Courtroom attornies’ minds are already made up. They are not free to speak the truth. They must defend their client – guilty or innocent. They must be selective in how they see the world and what facts they will entertain. They must win their case.
Hey, I’m going to be sporadic on this board this week because I’m getting ready to go out-of-state for several days. And so…after Friday, I won’t be on this board for several days.
So..don’t think I’ve gotten mad and deserted the board or anything… Last time I got busy, someone was afraid I’d left. Not so! Just getting ready to close up the house and take off.



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Amazon Creek

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:48 am


Sorry, my name didn’t turn out above. That was me on the post above



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aaron

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:08 am


No, some of the posters on this board do not know God because of their arrogant speech – because they pat themselves on the back for making wise choices, forgetting that the reason they make wise choices may well be because they were given a birth-family (BY GOD’S GRACE) that taught them such wise decision-making. You did nothing to GET that family. If you had been born into a family that had alcoholism and substance abuse – YOU wouldn’t have been able to do a thing to change that. And YOU would have learned to make poor choices too.
I was born into such a family, I DECIDED (when I was still young) not to MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES, I’m sorry others CHOOSE otherwise.



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kevin s.

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:25 am


“because they pat themselves on the back for making wise choices, ”
Who is doing this? This is not a necessary deduction from any statement made here.
“forgetting that the reason they make wise choices may well be because they were given a birth-family (BY GOD’S GRACE) that taught them such wise decision-making. ”
Or, in my case, parents who served as a cautionary tale about the consequences of unwise decision making.
“If you had been born into a family that had alcoholism and substance abuse – YOU wouldn’t have been able to do a thing to change that. And YOU would have learned to make poor choices too.”
My father is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and not in prison for (lesser) crimes (involving substances) that he did. Please, talk to me more about the lessons I learned and how fortunate I am to have learned them. I’ll agree with you on one thing. I live by the grace of God.
“Pride, pride, boasting.”
You do realize that, right now, you are priding yourself on your lack of pride, by way of condemning others for their pride, and based on statements that are only prideful by virtue of your uncharitable interpretation at that.
“And by the way, I DO happen to agree that part of health care should be educating people and teaching them to make better choices. ”
You just rendered your whole tirade irrelevant with this concession.
“His mind is not open – therefore it is foolish speaking with him If he can get his client off on some technicality, so be it. The rest is simply immaterial.”
Translation: I disagree with Kevin.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:34 am


“His mind is not open – therefore it is foolish speaking with him If he can get his client off on some technicality, so be it. The rest is simply immaterial.”
Translation: I disagree with Kevin.
That comment just made his entire point.



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kevin s.

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:22 am


“Translation: I disagree with Kevin.
That comment just made his entire point.”
What point was that, exactly? He sort of went on about pride for a while and then accused me of acting like an attorney.
He is correct that my point is largely made up about these issues, certainly enough that I am not going to be persuaded by talking points. However, that is not really the issue. There are plenty of opinionated people on liberal side of the spectrum who have hardly moderated their stances on this board. He is not calling them out.
So his real issue is that he disagrees with me, not that I am inflexible.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 30, 2007 at 12:30 pm


So his real issue is that he disagrees with me, not that I am inflexible.
Your comments on this blog consistently belie that statement. In my experience with you, he is absolutely correct.



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Sarasotakid

posted July 30, 2007 at 1:17 pm


This has nothing to do with people who are in poverty. Most of the affected recipients make more than twice the poverty-level income. Kevin S.
Hey dude, the poverty guidelines are set so low that you can make more than 2 to 3 times the poverty guidelines and still not make enough to afford health insurance for your kids.



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Lena

posted July 30, 2007 at 1:53 pm


I feel the need to put my two cents worth in—largely because I’m just shocked. When Jim Wallis sent this out, I did pick up the phone and call my congressional representatives to let them know that health care for all children is really important to me. I am willing to pay more in taxes to see that no child dies or is unnecessarily sick because they do not have access to health care.
I grew up in a country with national health care. If we had not had it, I would not be alive—my abscessed tooth would have eventually spread an infection to my brain and killed me or perhaps I would have died before that of whooping cough or the accidental concussion or strep throat. All of these are fatal illnesses if left untreated. Both of my parents were employed—my father a college professor and my mother working several part time jobs. They did not make enough money to afford insurance. Perhaps it would have been better if I had died as some lovely person suggested somewhere up on the list…
Having worked in an emergency room as a hospital chaplain, I experienced first hand how badly the heath care system in the United States works. Believe me, you do pay for children who do not have health insurance. They come to the emergency room and emergency rooms treat them—they are human beings, after all. So, your precious dollars are being spent in the least efficient way possible to treat these children.
It’s good that they get treated—it’s sad to see the news stories of this child or that who died because of an easily treatable illness that couldn’t be treated because they couldn’t afford it. I can’t help but wonder if that child may have been the next noble peace prize winner or some amazing person who God was going to use to change the world in an amazing way. It’s not like these children, simply because of their circumstances are expendable–which we clearly see from someone like Aaron, who has had the opportunity to make different choices than his family and do something amazingly better with his life. What right to we have from keeping other children from doing that too?
I believe that the church is an amazing group of people and an institution centered toward doing the work of God in the world–which includes justice, mercy, compassion. But I believe that government is instituted by God to also do God’s work in the world. The government has many more resources than we as a church. I’d suggest we encourage the government to use them for the good of the least of these, the little ones, the children.



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ngchen

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:13 pm


The poster who noted the per=child cost has a good point. Rereading the article, it notes that what’s proposed is $35 billion over 5 years to cover 9 million more kids. The house version is $50 billion over 5 years for 5 million more kids. So the house version is $2000/child. Honestly, that seems WAY bloated, esp considering how kids are generally healthy. Government programs are not inherently bad, but this sort of largess is inflationary, and would drive the cost of health care UP. (providers would charge that rate for everybody, knowing that there is a willing payer at that rate).
As for the other version, we have $778/child, which seems more reasonable, although it still seems high. As the would-be single-largest payer, the government should be able to negotiate for lower rates while still getting the services being payed for. It’s good stewardship of taxpayer funds.



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kevin s.

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:34 pm


“Hey dude, the poverty guidelines are set so low that you can make more than 2 to 3 times the poverty guidelines and still not make enough to afford health insurance for your kids.”
Be that as it may, my statement was still correct.
“Your comments on this blog consistently belie that statement. In my experience with you, he is absolutely correct.”
I didn’t deny that he was correct. You misread my statement. I’m done with this.
Lena,
Nobody is calling to end health insurance for kids. It’s an efficiency issue. Reducing issues to being for or against “the children” is a great way to have terrible, bloated legislation. And if you don’t think good intentions can become terrible and bloated when put into legislative practice, I would point you to our nation’s farm bill.



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gramfran

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:42 pm


I can’t believe some of the posts I’ve been reading. We’re talking about CHILDREN here, folks. They aren’t old enough to make wise or unwise choices. If their parents make unwise ones, are the children to be penalized?
I’m sure there will be mismanagement in this, as in other government programs, because they’re managed by humans, but I don’t see anyone calling for their abolition. The private sector isn’t immune from mismanagement either. And this isn’t a new program, but just an expansion. Yes, some people will take advantage of it who shouldn’t, but probably not on the same scale as the large corporations do with the farm subsidy programs. It all seems like so much nitpicking to me.
“Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of God”.



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kevin s.

posted July 30, 2007 at 4:15 pm


“I can’t believe some of the posts I’ve been reading. We’re talking about CHILDREN here, folks. They aren’t old enough to make wise or unwise choices.”
The conversation took a broader turn for awhile. i don’t think anyone was suggesting that we shouldn’t cover children because they have choices.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 30, 2007 at 5:20 pm


Art,
Matthew 25 is pretty straightforward that we as Christians need to take care of those who can’t provide certain needs for themselves.
Christ of course never appealed to Rome to clothe , feed , or house the poor . Israel yes . If we were a Christian nation I would be a liberal in regards to this . But you are asking a secular nation to carry out Christ’s commands . I am not convinced of that Bibically ,or of the consequences . It could be worse for our Grand Children , it could be better . but I am open to reasons why you think it would work better then the way it is now .
Are you not concerned of our nation who progressively appear to put morality on one plane . Good and evil as seen by the beholder. Even now , medical decisions are sometimes made on the value the HMO puts on the life , will they get better , age , who they are . The state below Washington State where I live has assisted suicide , these kinds of policies tend to expand .
Or is that off your radar as a concern ?



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fran krom

posted July 30, 2007 at 5:39 pm


The preceding was my first post on this site, so please forgive my posting it so many times. I didn’t think it had gone through.
Maybe I didn’t read them right, but it seems to me that there was a lot of talk about choices, and as this bill pertains to children, it would necessarily follow that their poor choices were implied.
I am always amazed at the people who nitpick social programs like this because they will be mismanaged or defrauded, but at the same time, they never seem to complain about the terrible mismanagement and fraud in the Iraq war. Not a peep about Halliburton’s millions in profits, or the lack of proper armor and equipment for our troops, or the building deficiencies in the $$$$$ white elephant of an embassy. I think it’s about time for us to think about priorities.
It would be nice if the churches could take care of these medical programs, but realistically, where would the money come from? Most Protestant churches which do have money plow it into more and bigger megachurches. The Catholic church, which has always been in the forefront of charity work, is closing schools for lack of money. And no matter what religion contributed, there would always be real or imagined “prosilytizing” attached.
I wonder how many of those complaining about government programs would give up unemployment insurance and Social Security, unless they were independently wealthy?



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Lena

posted July 30, 2007 at 5:43 pm


Kevin,
Perhaps I have misunderstood your posts, but it seems to me that you are suggesting that the government not cover children’s health care.
Speaking of the Farm Bill, if you are referring to food stamps–that particular federal program runs at about a 98% efficiency–meaning that 98% of people who are in the program should be and are getting the aid that they qualify for. Most of the inefficiency in that program is underpayment to those who qualify for more. If you are referring to the subsidies that the Federal government doles out to this country’s richest farmers at the expense of farmers around the world, then, yes, I completely agree with you.
ngchen,
It seems that $778/child is cheap. I currently pay over $3000 for myself to be on health insurance and I’m in my twenties and very healthy. To add a child to the plan would cost me around $1000 more/year. And my insurance is pathetic…



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aaron

posted July 30, 2007 at 6:04 pm


I wonder how many of those complaining about government programs would give up unemployment insurance and Social Security, unless they were independently wealthy?
Please, scrap the disaster waiting to happen, hell they can even keep what they already took, just let me me keep my future earnings. I know I can invest it a lot better than the feds can.
I am always amazed at the people who nitpick social programs like this because they will be mismanaged or defrauded, but at the same time, they never seem to complain about the terrible mismanagement and fraud in the Iraq war.
Ok fine, we pull out of Iraq tomorrow AND pull out of social programs? Is that good with you?



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gramfran

posted July 30, 2007 at 6:04 pm


Perhaps not, but there was a lot said about the parents’ choices.
I don’t know how obesity got into the discussion.
I wonder why the people who nitpick social programs like this don’t do the same with programs that benefit big business, like the farm bill for agribusiness, and the war. Halliburton is making millions, and has been suspected of fraud, but nothing has been done about it. Our troops didn’t get the right equipmant or armor, and we’re building an immense embassy that has all kinds of problems due to inefficiency. Why not carp about that?
I also wonder how many who are opposed to government programs would refuse unemployment insurance and Social Security, unless they are independently wealthy.
I lived through the great depression, and saw what happened to people when these programs didn’t exist.



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amy w.

posted July 30, 2007 at 6:13 pm


I am appalled by some of these comments, specifically regarding obesity. First of all, it barely pertains to Jim’s blog. Secondly, where is the grace, the mercy, the compassion for so-called “abusers” of society like people who struggle with obesity? Many cases of obesity stem from psychological/emotional instability. Eating has become just as habitual and addictive for some as smoking or drinking. Do you think you are better than these people–that you deserve medical aid more than they do, just because you weigh less? I think it’s inhumane to have such a harsh, judgmental attitude like some of the commenters have expressed. No wonder we’re content with letting good welfare programs go–we’re too busy pointing the finger and desensitizing ourselves to the core of the real issue, which is giving to children who don’t have access to affordable health care! If you don’t agree with Jim, that’s fine–let’s work together on developing another program or option that will help, not hinder. Please keep your distasteful comments to yourself, and find another passion besides belligerancy.



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gramfran

posted July 30, 2007 at 6:13 pm


Oops! Sorry, did it again. So I repeated myself. I’ll get the hang of it eventually. I just don’t know how long it takes for stuff to post.
Aaron, what disaster waiting to happen are you referring to? I’m glad you’re so sure you can invest it better. Lots of people have lost their shirts in the stock market. You obviously like over-simplifications. Why do we have to pull out of both?



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kevin s.

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm


“Perhaps I have misunderstood your posts, but it seems to me that you are suggesting that the government not cover children’s health care.”
No. I agree with Bush that this is an important program, but that we cannot use it as a proxy to slowly convert to nationalized health care.
“If you are referring to the subsidies that the Federal government doles out to this country’s richest farmers at the expense of farmers around the world, then, yes, I completely agree with you.”
Yes. The farm bill is a big, big mess.
“Aaron, what disaster waiting to happen are you referring to? I’m glad you’re so sure you can invest it better. Lots of people have lost their shirts in the stock market. ”
I would so much rather invest my money in a 401k. No reasonable person would prefer to put their money in Social Security. As it stands now, I am literally expecting no payout whatsoever from the program when I retire. So it is a matter of possibly losing my shirt (to the extent that my FICA payments constitute same) or assuredly losing it.
“Many cases of obesity stem from psychological/emotional instability. Eating has become just as habitual and addictive for some as smoking or drinking. ”
So why do we have to pay for the consequences? At what point do we require people to own up to their problems. If you smoke, you pay a higher premium. If you are very fat, why not the same?
I can guarantee you that the government will think in these terms (and not yours) should they take over the system. And they will take it further than that. So help me, if my government closes down my favorite steak joint because some dude can’t help burying his sorrows in a porterhouse, I’m gonna be pissed.
Health care is unsustainable in this country because people in this country cannot control their appetites. Parents pass their nasty habits onto their children, jacking them full of lunchables, pizza, hotdogs, chicken strips and macaroni & cheese, to say nothing of the troughs full of milk, juice and soda.
We are killing our kids with this crap. Literally taking year off their lives because we are too lazy (yes, lazy) to heat up some ^#$&@# peas and carrots. And I am supposed to just be quiet about it? Prophetic voice my ass…
No you’ve got me foaming at the mouth like a liberal.
That doesn’t mean I go around McDonalds pointing fingers at people, but I do have to take this into consideration when those same people want me to pay for their heart attacks. Gluttony is a sin, not a social disease. As I said before, the government simply cannot afford to compensate for every bad decision.
It does not make me belligerent to point that out. It does not make me sanctimonious, or imply that I think I am perfect, to note that we have a problem with food in this society. Yes, it’s a problem. Yes, it has root causes. Yes, 3% of the population suffers from hypothyroidism.
We can talk about these issues or not, but playing the “you’re judgmental” card is simply obnoxious.



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gramfran

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:15 am


Back to fat and obesity and gluttony again? That all applies to adults, and I agree with you. But this all started about children’s health care, didn’t it? They eat what they are given, at least until they’re old enough to make their own decisions. So again, let’s not penalize poor children for their parents’ mistakes, laziness or whatever you want to call it. A modicum of compassion is called for here, I think.



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Anonymous

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:45 am


Kevin
What’s obnoxious is your judgmentalism, over and over, no matter what the subject, while claiming to be a Christian. It’s that kind of thinking that turns people away from the church. All of your comments reek of it and this is not the first time you have been told. I would like to be a little more charitable, but subtlety doesn’t work on you. Think about the possibility, for just a minute, that perhaps you are too much enjoying your sense of superiority. And I believe, from personal experience, that you are tempting fate by rejecting even the possibility that you could be a little more humble and actually learn something from soneone else.
Amazon Creek
As usual, your points are well-said. Your insights always bring something new to the discussion.
Instead of putting energy into judging whether people deserve help or not, seems to me it would be a better idea to find a way to help them make better choices, whether it’s obesity, drug use, poor social skills. That would benefit society as a whole



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Anonymous

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:26 am


“What’s obnoxious is your judgmentalism, over and over, no matter what the subject, while claiming to be a Christian.”
Bologna. There is nothing unbiblical for noting that we have an obesity problem in this nation stemming from gluttony. Nothing whatsoever.
“It’s that kind of thinking that turns people away from the church.”
I disagree. I think the stereotype of a Christian is a fat white man who cares nothing about health issues. Christians caring about health, and differentiating themselves from society in such a matter, are winsome.
“All of your comments reek of it and this is not the first time you have been told.”
Simply because I am told something, doesn’t make it so.
“I would like to be a little more charitable, but subtlety doesn’t work on you.”
Anonymous barbs don’t either.
“Think about the possibility, for just a minute, that perhaps you are too much enjoying your sense of superiority.”
Superiority over whom? I have not, in any statement here or elsewhere, stated that I am above temptation, or failed to give credit to God for his work in my life. Why not engage the argument instead of playing whatever game it is your playing here?
Again, our seemingly unsolvable health-care crisis stems, at least partly, from our inability, as a nation, to take care of ourselves. That’s a tricky subject to contend with, and requires some nuance w/r/t public policy, but you are not interested in that.
I submit that federal intervention as a means of solving our health care crisis will ultimately diminish our personal rights, and that this is a fate worse than the possibility of denying coverage to certain people. Do you want to contend with that argument, or do you want to bang your chest a little more? Cause what you are doing certainly seems self-righteous to me.



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Lena

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:37 am


“Perhaps I have misunderstood your posts, but it seems to me that you are suggesting that the government not cover children’s health care.”
No. I agree with Bush that this is an important program, but that we cannot use it as a proxy to slowly convert to nationalized health care.

Kevin, could you please explain to me the difference here? I recognize that I do not entirely understand the “big government” argument and am really probably basically a socialist, but I don’t see how you can support children’s health care while simultaneously not supporting it. I think I must be missing something.
To give an interesting piece of information: obesity is more likely a sign of malnutrition in the United States than simply over consumption. Calories with no nutritional value (like Mac&Cheese) are cheap. Food stamps, all told provide about $1/meal/person. It is hard to eat well on that. There is currently a food stamp challenge going on sponsored by the ELCA Washington Office. Can you eat well on $3 a day? Considering the price of fruits and vegetables, there is no way that I could. I think I’d probably eat a lot of rice and beans.
As for the judgmental piece of things, it seems as though this thread has basically disintegrated into assorted name calling from both sides. I guess that is politics in the United States. Everybody likes to put everybody else into a box—preferably one painted either blue or red.



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aaron

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:02 am


Do you think you are better than these people–that you deserve medical aid more than they do, just because you weigh less?
No, I just don’t think the taxpayer should subsidize the healthcare costs of obesity related problems, which are willingly self-inflicted.
Aaron, what disaster waiting to happen are you referring to?
Social security.
I’m glad you’re so sure you can invest it better. Lots of people have lost their shirts in the stock market.
So you think I’m too stupid to handle my own money and I need the government to set it aside for me, and as I get older they continually change the conditions upon which I can get it back? No thanks.



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Wolverine

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:49 am


Lena wrote:
Kevin, could you please explain to me the difference here? I recognize that I do not entirely understand the “big government” argument and am really probably basically a socialist, but I don’t see how you can support children’s health care while simultaneously not supporting it. I think I must be missing something.
If you don’t mind me stepping in for Kevin…
Lena, the big difference is that we do not see the government as the primary caregiver for children. Opposing a government healthcare program is not the same as opposing healthcare because there are other institutions that are better situated to care for children. Families are the obvious first choice, after that comes churches and private charities.
In our view government is and should remain the health-care provider of last resort, not because we don’t like kids or health care, but because we don’t think government is the best health-care provider, and because there are other groups in society that can do the job better.
I think the left tends to reduce society to a constant struggle between government and business. But there is a whole third segment of society that is largely (hardly anyone’s totally pure, just as hardly anyone is irredeemably evil) motivated by humanitarian concerns.
This “social sector” may not have the power of government or the wealth of business, but it has a high degree of good will built up and because it defines itself by caring it is in a much better position to actually provide care.
Anyway, I hope this helps explain things.
Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:06 am


“Kevin, could you please explain to me the difference here? I recognize that I do not entirely understand the “big government” argument and am really probably basically a socialist, but I don’t see how you can support children’s health care while simultaneously not supporting it.”
Bush wants to maintain the program, but he does not see federal intervention as the future of healthcare. He wants to transition to a privatized model that exerts as little governmental control as possible. This proposal would simply stuff more money into the status-quo program.
You can debate whether that is a good idea (I strongly believe it is), and I think there is an argument to be made for extricating our health coverage from employee benefits packages.
“To give an interesting piece of information: obesity is more likely a sign of malnutrition in the United States than simply over consumption. Calories with no nutritional value (like Mac&Cheese) are cheap.”
Kraft Mac & Cheese costs about 79 cents for 7 oz. 1 lb. of lentils costs about 26 cents for the same amount, which leaves you with enough to buy a clove of garlic and some peas to go with it.
The notion that healthy food is somehow unattainable is a vicious lie promoted by various people with various agendas. Brown rice is cheap. Legumes are cheap. Potatos are cheap. Whole wheat bread is cheap. Frozen veggies are cheap. Wheat pasta is cheap. Organic marinara sauce is cheap (unless you live in a rural area, where it is likely unavailable).
What’s not cheap? Milk (especially when kids are drinking a gallon per week) , juice, chips, frozen meals, hot dogs, Lunchables, sugar cereals.
“Can you eat well on $3 a day?”
Absolutely.



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aaron

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:43 am


Brown rice is cheap. Legumes are cheap. …
A packet of over a hundred tomato seeds is under $1.50. Two blueberry bushes can be had for under $15.



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Lena

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:18 pm


Wolverine,
Thank you for the explanation. That is really helpful. I think what concerns me is that sometimes governmental policies actually work against the ability of family or church or social agencies to provide proper health care and support to children. Isn’t there something wrong with a structure in which children are left behind, where seniors choose between filling prescriptions or eating, where people who are well educated and working are still uninsured? How is the church providing charity changing the structure? How much of that is simply a bandage to cover up a greater problem?
I spent a year working as an adjunct faculty member at a community college. I worked nearly full time–but not quite. The college intentionally kept me from working full time so that they would not have to help me with health care. My health insurance that year was I’d better not get really sick. I couldn’t afford a policy on my own at all. I technically qualified for COBRA, because I had spent the year previous working for AmeriCorps, but every time I tried to get that paperwork no one would speak to me and the paperwork would disappear into the void. (I recognize this is a government supported program and that reform is certainly necessary.) I understand that I was far from the only person who this situation applied to.
I guess my question is what incentive does private corporation have to insure good health care? Thus far the privatization of trade and health services and about everything else (including water) has lead to the general perspective that people are commodities to be bought and sold on the open market. The cheapest labor wins, the highest bidder on water wins, the lowest price on food wins… I just wonder, is God’s creation really up for sale? Are humans really commodifiable?
That seems like a bit off subject, but it seems that if we continually reduce the ability of government to regulate and control industry, eventually the model in which industry functions—Darwinian economics (only the strongest survive)—will win. How can the church, a declining body of people who are largely more concerned about keeping their buildings standing, do anything when the government is essentially crippled?
I’m Lutheran and so I’m going to quote Martin Luther. I think he is probably a little beyond the “right” or “left,” since he lived in Germany in the early 1500’s. This is in his commentary on the fourth commandment, You are to honor your father and mother.: “For civil authority is the “father” not of an individual family, but of as many people as he has inhabitants, citizens, or subjects. Through civil rulers, as through our own parents, God gives us food, house and home, protection and security, and he preserves us through them. . . Where [those who disrespect civil authority] count on gaining a gulden, they will lose ten times more elsewhere, or they will fall prey to the hangman, or perish through war, pestilence, or famine, or their children will turn out badly; servants, neighbors, or strangers and tyrants will inflict injury, injustice, and violence upon them until what we seek and earn will finally come home to roost and mete out payment.”
Luther was never one to mince words. I want to clarify that He doesn’t think that civil disobedience is not an option, but I wanted to point out that it seems as though government regulation is important–for the good of everyone, not just those really incredible people who manage to find their bootstraps and pull themselves up by them. I would love to hear your opinions on this.
Thanks!



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aaron

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:52 pm


Through civil rulers, as through our own parents, God gives us food, house and home, protection and security, and he preserves us through them. . .
I can forgive Luther, being a product of the 1500’s, to have such a top-down approach by divine mandate. I can’t forgive anyone living in America for using the same model when government is by the people for the people. The feds are not my parents.



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Lena

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:10 pm


Aaron,
I suppose people are supposed to eat air while those blueberry bushes of yours and the the tomato plants grow?
If government is “by the people, for the people” shouldn’t it actually be “for the people?”
I suppose we are getting better every day in every way that an opinion from the 1500s isn’t valid today? I suppose then anything that was written, say in the 200s or so, like the gospels, is entirely obsolete.
I’m glad you are so proud of your country. A country in which people are the wealthiest in the world but that has the lowest life expectancy of any industrialized country in the world. A country made up of hard working people–unlike, apparently the rest of the world. A country that spends more on blowing other people up than the next ten nations spending put together. A country to definitely be proud of.



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Shaun Lee

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:23 pm


The problem with privitizing health care, is that it only works if we are all doing what the Lord has called us to do according to James 1:27. If we all consider it our obligation to care for the widows and the orphans, then its a good idea. The reality, however, is that this is far from the truth. I am a member of a church that is currently much more content delivering meals to the middle class after a pregnancy our recent surgery of one of its members. These are good things, but what about the children of the ghettos 10 miles down the highway? Our government is telling us that we should be caring for them. I wish we didn’t need programs like SCHIP, but WE DO! Lets stop living in a make believe world, and start looking into the faces of the margins of society. We have to be responsibly compassionate, and SCHIP is just that.



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aaron

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:32 pm


I suppose people are supposed to eat air while those blueberry bushes of yours and the the tomato plants grow?
Must be so simple for you. I guess they should wait for the government handout or other socialist programs, god forbid they buy healthy low cost food like Kevin suggested, or learn continous planting cycles, drying, freezing and canning.
I suppose we are getting better every day in every way that an opinion from the 1500s isn’t valid today? I suppose then anything that was written, say in the 200s or so, like the gospels, is entirely obsolete.
I do consider the gospels obsolete, a bunch of redacted history by anonymous authors continuously edited by the church with no new insights into the human condition and all.
If government is “by the people, for the people” shouldn’t it actually be “for the people?”
By ensuring basic freedoms as written in our Constitution and allowing people free-will and reaping the benefits or negative consequences is ‘for the people’. But you must mean government handouts “for the people”.
I’m glad you are so proud of your country.
Do you enjoy arguing with words of your own construction? Is it easier than addressing what people actually say?
A country in which people are the wealthiest in the world but that has the lowest life expectancy of any industrialized country in the world.
Why is that? Would their own personal choices have anything to do with that? Does obesity contribute to that?
A country made up of hard working people–unlike, apparently the rest of the world.
Again, who are you arguing with, do you have a split personality I’m unaware of?
A country that spends more on blowing other people up than the next ten nations spending put together.
And this has to do with…



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Lena

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:45 pm


Aaron,
I think it an absolutely wonderful idea to help people become self-sufficient by learning to grow their own food and learning how to freeze, can, and store it properly. Actually, I spent an entire year of my life doing just that in AmeriCorps. We taught families to grow their own gardens, taught children in low-income schools about nutrition, and taught canning classes. Oh, but that was a federal government program…I guess you don’t approve of that.
I don’t feel the need to continue a conversation with someone who feels that the gospels have nothing to say. Particularly an ideological one. That is fundamentally where I’m coming from. If you’re not, we won’t ever be on the same page, no matter how basic we get.
I’m sorry that you feel like the only thing or person that you can trust is yourself.



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kevin s.

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:45 pm


“I guess my question is what incentive does private corporation have to insure good health care?”
What incentive does any corporation have to insure anything? A better question might be, what incentive does the government have to insure good health care? Luther’s view of government is non-controversial, though I have no idea why he finds inspiration in the commandments for his viewpoint.
“A country in which people are the wealthiest in the world but that has the lowest life expectancy of any industrialized country in the world. ”
For those asking why the obesity issue was relevant, this is why. We are likely to die one year earlier than those in Britain. Our obesity rate is somewhere between 150-200 percent that of British citizens. Regardless of what causes obesity, we know that obesity causes death. It seems perfectly reasonable that it would cost the average American one year.



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Lena

posted July 31, 2007 at 2:04 pm


Kevin,
What incentive does the gov’t have for providing good health care? None, I suppose. Particularly if “the people,” as Aaron pointed out, don’t demand it of them. (since this gov’t is of the people, for the people.)
It is technically the government’s job to take care of its citizens, isn’t it? Otherwise, what is the point of having a government at all? Perhaps an anarchy would be better?
Perhaps a way to take care of its citizens is to find ways in which those citizens can become self-sufficient, like helping them be healthy by teaching nutrition and exercise (in better ways than I was ever taught in school), or providing a safety net health care program so that citizens can stay healthy, or both since accidents happen.
As for Luther, you’d have to read the whole explanation to the 4th commandment, but I’m not about to type it in–it’s about ten pages of text. It’s in his Large Catechism, if you are interested. I can tell you that it has a lot to do with how he views the first commandment, You are to have no other gods. He then views everything else, including gov’t and parents as gifts and tools from God to be used for God’s work in the world.



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aaron

posted July 31, 2007 at 2:20 pm


I think it an absolutely wonderful idea to help people become self-sufficient by learning to grow their own food and learning how to freeze, can, and store it properly. Actually, I spent an entire year of my life doing just that in AmeriCorps. We taught families to grow their own gardens, taught children in low-income schools about nutrition, and taught canning classes. Oh, but that was a federal government program…I guess you don’t approve of that.
Strange that my ability to read and check books out of the library allowed me to do the same.
like helping them be healthy by teaching nutrition and exercise (in better ways than I was ever taught in school),
Good of you too mention this, $1 billion spent on federal nutritional programs has shown very little beneift, and you want them to now take on healthcare costs?
I don’t feel the need to continue a conversation with someone who feels that the gospels have nothing to say.
I’m sad to hear you are so close-minded that you cannot accept any talk if it’s not sprinkled liberally with the words Jesus, praise, or Dear Lord.
I’m sorry that you feel like the only thing or person that you can trust is yourself.
I’m sorry you keep beating these strawmen you stuff.



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Wolverine

posted July 31, 2007 at 4:55 pm


Lena wrote:
I guess my question is what incentive does private corporation have to insure good health care? Thus far the privatization of trade and health services and about everything else (including water) has lead to the general perspective that people are commodities to be bought and sold on the open market. The cheapest labor wins, the highest bidder on water wins, the lowest price on food wins… I just wonder, is God’s creation really up for sale? Are humans really commodifiable?
First off, we have made health-care finance more complicated in this country by having most health care paid through insurance, and then encouraging employers to provide health insurance rather than having individuals pay for it themselves. In a saner health care system, individuals would pay for most routine health-care expenses (check-ups, minor ailments and injuries) out-of-pocket, and buy insurance on their own for major injuries and ailments (major surgery, cancer treatments).
Insurance itself would be cheaper because it would be less extensive but would still cover the major expenses that people typically buy insurance for — the things that might bankrupt you if you had to pay them on your own. And while most of us would need to pay for our own care, we would also have higher incomes because employers would not be expected to provide insurance.
The incentives for insurers would be the good reputation that attracts customers and insurance premiums. Even with the complications, that incentive is not entirely gone. Some insurance programs are understood to be better than others, and employers that offer better insurance packages have an advantage in attracting employees.
I’m not sure what you mean when you say that privatization has led to humans being treated as commodities. But yes, creation has always been up for sale, or at least large chunks of it. People trade. It’s been going on since man has been able to write, and while government can regulate trade it can’t stamp trade out completely without resorting to drastic and oppressive measures.
That seems like a bit off subject, but it seems that if we continually reduce the ability of government to regulate and control industry, eventually the model in which industry functions—Darwinian economics (only the strongest survive)—will win. How can the church, a declining body of people who are largely more concerned about keeping their buildings standing, do anything when the government is essentially crippled?
Well, first off, the “ability” of government to regulate is not in question. What we are questioning is the effectiveness and value of the regulations we have in place. Much regulation is the result of a romantic view of government that underestimates the costs of regulations and the ignores the possibility that regulation itself can be misused.
Yes, economic competition can be rough, which is part of why a healthy society will also have a strong social sector as well as a government. As long as the government can maintain basic civil order — which ours does quite well for the most part — then the social sector should be able to do its work and be effective.
Wolverine



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Lena

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:04 pm


Wolverine wrote:
First off, we have made health-care finance more complicated in this country by having most health care paid through insurance, and then encouraging employers to provide health insurance rather than having individuals pay for it themselves. In a saner health care system, individuals would pay for most routine health-care expenses (check-ups, minor ailments and injuries) out-of-pocket, and buy insurance on their own for major injuries and ailments (major surgery, cancer treatments).
Well, that’s already basically been my experience with assorted health care plans. Generally though, insurance companies also have a cap on the maximum amount of money that they will pay out.
And while most of us would need to pay for our own care, we would also have higher incomes because employers would not be expected to provide insurance.
I want to come and work for the company that you work for. I have yet to work for a company that was required to provide insurance. It is an incentive, but not a requirement. Many, many people in the United States do not have insurance provided for them because either their place of employment does not provide it at all or they are only working 38 hours or less a week (not generally voluntarily). I suppose giving everyone a higher income and then letting everyone find their own plans would at least put everyone on an equal playing field. But I wonder how you would convince a company to increase your income if they chose to drop health benefits?
employers that offer better insurance packages have an advantage in attracting employees.
I suppose in certain sectors of the economy. Despite two Master’s degrees, I haven’t exactly been able to play employers benefits packages against each other.
I’m not sure what you mean when you say that privatization has led to humans being treated as commodities. But yes, creation has always been up for sale, or at least large chunks of it. People trade. It’s been going on since man has been able to write, and while government can regulate trade it can’t stamp trade out completely without resorting to drastic and oppressive measures.
I just wonder if everything should be trade-able, that’s all. I don’t see a problem with trade. It is important. But we still traffic slaves around the world. Should they really be commodities? Should water, something necessary for everyone to live, be owned by private companies? Why should health care be restricted to only those who can afford it?
These are clearly not all the same thing, and people do need to be paid for their skills and their work, but I’m willing to pay more so that someone who can’t afford as much will pay less. Kind of like I already do so that we can all drive on roads, paid for with taxes and we call all go to school, paid for with taxes, and we call all go to the library and check out books, paid for with taxes.
Of course regulation can be misused. We’re already misusing it. But what do you think would really happen if the United States became a socialist democracy or even a partially socialist democracy? It won’t–I’m more than sure of that–there are way too many people in this country who are scared of their government to let that happen (probably with good reason). But, really, what do you think would happen?



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kevin s.

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:31 am


“But I wonder how you would convince a company to increase your income if they chose to drop health benefits?”
Why do they provide the benefits in the first place? Where does the money come from? It is the same source. One of the arguments advance for nationalized health care is that employers are able to pay more (and hire more people) when they are not burdened by health care costs.
“Despite two Master’s degrees, I haven’t exactly been able to play employers benefits packages against each other.”
Meh. If I see a resume from someone with two masters degrees, I wonder why they weren’t working instead of getting a masters degree. No offense, but I think that explains your predicament.
Someone with more experience in your field is likely fielding offers, unless you are a speech pathologist, social worker, or some other job where the number of applicants vastly outweigh the number of job opportunities.
” But, really, what do you think would happen?”
Well, what is happening in France? What happened in Australia before they elected John Howard? Contrary to what those who advocate socialist policy will tell you, the unemployment rate matters. Double digit unemployment means that people are not generating any of their own income.
For those who prefer increase governmental intervention, I would note that such a scenario would result in a tremendous strain on governmental provisions (you do know where taxes come from, don’t you?).
That is not some intangible concept. When people don’t make money, people die (by heat wave, for example).



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Peter

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:01 pm


What in heck is the big deal with expanding SCHIP to cover more children? Why should this even be a debated issue among Christians? It does not substantially change the program and it does not cost that much more money. Thank God (and I mean that literally) reading some of the compassionate AND knowledgeable posts here and in other GP threads reminds me that the Church is a big body and there are millions of others who care.
If this sounds self-righteous, I apologize. But I long to be part of a church where people can disagree on some things but at least most are making a good-faith effort to live out their love for humanity, rather than using ideologies as a mask for personal heartlessness.



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Peter

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:11 pm


Somebody wrote: If I see a resume from someone with two masters degrees, I wonder why they weren’t working instead of getting a masters degree. No offense, but I think that explains your predicament.
My response: If I look at a thread and see lots and lots of text by the same author, I wonder why he isn’t working instead of spending hours and hours each day on a blog. No offense, but I think that explains something about why you have such a cavalier attitude toward people less fortunate than yourself, many of whom DO have to work and remain poor. As for me, I’m leaving the site for now; I’ve gotta get back to my REAL job.



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Anonymous

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:18 pm


Peter wrote:
What in heck is the big deal with expanding SCHIP to cover more children? Why should this even be a debated issue among Christians? It does not substantially change the program and it does not cost that much more money.
It’s a big deal because what started out as a program to help children in poor households is likely to be expanded into a benefit for lower middle class households. There does come a point where society should expect parents to provide for children.
This is potentially an enormous change in the program, and projected costs for health-care programs are notorious for understating actual costs.
Wolverine



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Peter

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:59 pm


Wolverine, you need to make sure you know what you’re talking about. SCHIP was not created to help poor children, who are already covered by Medicaid. SCHIP was created to help insure children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but who do not earn enough money to be able to purchase their own private insurance without causing hardship, and do not have employer-sponsored insurance.
I’m assuming you purchase private health insurance out of your own pocket, and that is why you are throwing stones at parents who have a hard time doing that. If your employer provides your insurance for you, you’re being a hypocrite: to paraphrase your logic, “there comes a point where society should expect you to buy your own insurance.”



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kevin s.

posted August 1, 2007 at 5:06 pm


“If this sounds self-righteous”
It IS self-righteous.
” rather than using ideologies as a mask for personal heartlessness.”
Why am I personally heartless? Because I don’t want to spend other people’s money on different people? My heart is not tied to government.
“If I look at a thread and see lots and lots of text by the same author, I wonder why he isn’t working instead of spending hours and hours each day on a blog.”
Not hours and hours. I type quick. And I do have a job. And you somehow found the time to come on here and hurl an empty insult. And I guarantee you come back to check for my response. So there you go.



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Peter

posted August 1, 2007 at 5:09 pm


By the way, in response to “projected costs for health-care programs are notorious for understating actual costs,” I would say that the reason Medicaid projections were lower than what actually transpired was because nobody expected the number of people facing need to rise the way it did a few years ago. That was not an error on Medicaid’s part–it does exactly what it was created to do, and efficiently. On the other hand, the cost of the Republican proposal for the Medicare drug prescription program was WAY understated, and that was deliberate because the Bush administration was afraid that Congress would not approve it if they knew the true costs. If you don’t know about this, try Googling “Richard Foster” “Medicare” and “cost.”



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kevin s.

posted August 1, 2007 at 7:00 pm


“Wolverine, you need to make sure you know what you’re talking about. SCHIP was not created to help poor children, who are already covered by Medicaid.”
Maybe Wallis should make sure he knows what he’s talking about, because he said the same thing. Nonetheless, Wolverine’s point has merit. Deal with it sensibly instead of simply insulting him.
“On the other hand, the cost of the Republican proposal for the Medicare drug prescription program was WAY understated, and that was deliberate because the Bush administration was afraid that Congress would not approve it if they knew the true costs.”
On this we agree. My mom likes it, FWIW.



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Wolverine

posted August 1, 2007 at 8:54 pm


Peter,
You are right on the technicalities, and wrong on the larger principles.
Yes, I should have been more precise and said that SCHIP was mainly meant for low-income families (up to twice federal poverty level, to be precise) so you got me on that one.
But you are wrong when you accuse me of throwing stones at parents. I am throwing stones at politicians. There is a difference. I never said that parents who are eligible for SCHIP should not apply for it.
As for how I get my health insurance, it is in fact provided by an insurer, and I earn it by showing up for work. It is not hypocritical for me to make the best of a less than ideal situation, while I advocate a system that would make more sense.
Wolverine



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Peter

posted August 2, 2007 at 9:56 am


Wolverine, I’m glad your employer provides health insurance for you. So does mine. I wish everybody would have their insurance provided for them, because it’s expensive. But there are many who do not. So, no, it is not hypocritical for you to accept insurance from your employer, but it is hypocritical for you to suggest that other people who are less fortunate than you should have to pay it out of their own pocket. Would you rather there be a law forcing employers to pay for expensive health insuracne for their employees? Or would you rather just see some people do without?



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Peter

posted August 3, 2007 at 9:12 am


Anyway, this is all a moot point, eh? Senate passed it last night 68-31, and you guys (Kevin, Wolverine, Aaron) are to the right of even Orrin Hatch on this issue. So to Jim Wallis and all the pro-SCHIP advocates on this thread, I say lets raise a toast and celebrate!



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Wolverine

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:00 am


Peter wrote:
Would you rather there be a law forcing employers to pay for expensive health insuracne for their employees? Or would you rather just see some people do without?
I would opt for laws that make health insurance less expensive, so that nearly all Americans can afford it. Then I would have a relatively modest government program to provide basic health care to the small number of people who cannot afford it.
Wolverine



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RJ Phillips

posted August 8, 2007 at 6:03 pm


Questions! Does Sojourners still withhold a portion of its federal income tax that would be designated for military uses? I know Jim has done so for years. If this is still the case, were the Democratic Presidential candidates made aware of this prior to accepting the invitation to debate, to avoid being blindsided by accusations of being “unpatriotic” or whatever IF this is true and became widely known?



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