God's Politics

God's Politics


Irresponsible Democrats (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

In his Saturday radio address, The Washington Post reports that




President Bush again called Democrats “irresponsible” for pushing an expansion he opposes to a children’s health insurance program. “Democrats in Congress have decided to pass a bill they know will be vetoed,” Bush said of the measure.


So, one may wonder, just who are these irresponsible Democrats who are pushing the expansion of SCHIP?



“This legislation will get the Children’s Health Insurance Program back on track and reclaim precious resources for low-income kids,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.



Another Republican, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, called the agreement “an honest compromise that improves a program that works for America’s low-income children.” Asked whether he would vote to override a veto, Sen. Hatch, a staunch conservative, said, “You bet your sweet bippy I will.”



“I am proud to support this important bill, which will provide health insurance coverage to approximately 4 million more children who would otherwise be uninsured. I’m glad my colleagues and I were able to put politics aside and do what is right for these children,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kans.



“I’m very, very disappointed,” said Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore. “I’m going to be voting for it.”



“I am so pleased that the Senate has passed legislation to extend and strengthen this important program. Our bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, increases funding for SCHIP by $35 billion over the next five years, a level which is sufficient to maintain coverage for all 6.6 million children currently enrolled, and also allows the program to expand to cover an additional 3.3 million low-income children,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.


There is strong bipartisan support for expanding the children’s health insurance program in the Congress. But President Bush promises to veto this vital program for children’s health. So, who is being irresponsible?



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justintime

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:25 am


Perhaps this bill will be the first to attract enough Republican votes to override Bush’s veto.
Just how hypocritical are the Senate Republicans?
And how lame is this duck?



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N.M. Rod

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:39 am


I was never one for expanding government programs – I believed that often it was counterproductive to the actual ends desired.
However, looking at the vast expansion of government in the areas of militarism and surveillance, at a cost far beyond anything social programs would have cost, if the choice is a bloated garrison state or one that attempts to provide something positive rather than destructive, I can’t in good conscience approve one and not the other.
Unfortunately, many evangelicals have bought into unquestioned, and ultimately, just as it did in the old Soviet Union, a bankrupting massive expansion of state security apparatus and what they used to call military adventurism.
I think this is because the basic conservative mindset tends to the temptation of becoming authoritarian and legalistic, not just advocating the positive aspect of preserving what is good culturally and religiously from previous generations. Often our religious expression takes on the characteristics of our basic natures, rather than the other way around. We change religion instead of it transforming us. When challenges come, we are then tempted to act in a reactionary way.
Ultimately, an investment in health offers a better return than one in the disease of war is going to, even if both are government funded.



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splinterlog

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:24 am


Good point NM Rod – this newer breed of big military/govt conservatives can harldy appeal to the small govt criticisms of the older conservatives to roll back govt programs like this.



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moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:30 am


This is one of the most abused programs in the US. In MN it has been est. that over 60% of the recpts. of this program ar ‘adults’.
So much for children.
Blessings –
.



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kevin s.

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:38 am


I would also note that the money is coming from other health initiatives that Bush supports, which is why he opposes this bill But yes, Republicans have plenty fiscally irresponsible.
On a bright note re: fiscal responsibility, the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” has no officially gone, well, nowhere.



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Donny

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:40 am


So, Republicans are OK as long as they are Democrats.
Or, how about we allow the “protection of marriage” to stay sane and normal. Like Jesus, the GOP seems to know what a real marriage is “too.” That being . . . a man and a woman. It’s all about “family.”
Any takers Sojouners?



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justintime

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:46 am


“This is one of the most abused programs in the US. In MN it has been est. that over 60% of the recpts. of this program ar ‘adults’.”
Sources?



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N.M. Rod

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:46 am


Is it really an “abuse” for people to be able to obtain medical treatment just because they pass a certain arbitrary cutoff date?
In America, “for the children” is a sentimental mantra that tears at heartstrings and opens purse strings.
I’m reminded of the old reprobate, Fyodor Karamazov, in Dostoyevsky’s novel, who wept at the death of his wife which his own hardness of heart and miserly ways had caused. It was said of him, “He was sentimental… sentimental and evil.”
In truth, there’s no difference in the value of a child’s life or an adult’s.
In some cases, we are talking about seriously disabled children who move into adulthood, or developmentally disabled children who grow older, but whose need for care doesn’t change.
We conservatives really squirm at that question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I don’t like it all that much myself because I think about how much I’m going to be required to contribute, and I’ve already got my own spending plans.
Im all right jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, its a hit.
Dont give me that do goody good bullshit.
Im in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a lear jet.
Money, its a crime.
Share it fairly but dont take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise its no surprise that theyre
Giving none away.



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Jeff

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:47 am


Jim’s right. The president unfairly attacks just Democrats in his address. There are some irresponsible Republicans he should have also pointed out.
Jeff



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Moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:34 pm


Posted by: Jeff | September 24, 2007 11:48 AM
‘The president unfairly attacks just Democrats…’
And Clinton(s) were so respectful to Republicans when they were in the Oval Office – I don’t think so.
Welcome to politics in the US.
Blessings –
.



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:37 pm


Posted by: justintime | September 24, 2007 11:46 AM
Sources?
Check the StarTribune – I believe it was one of those Sect D, Page 9, below the fold articles. I will see if I can find it too – it has been awhile.
Blessings –
.



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Payshun

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:53 pm


The president is a lame duck w/ no plans for any domestic policy. I don’t understand why anyone would be surprised by this fool. It’s about time that people just stand up to him. They fear him because he is the president. But at this point who cares? I refuse to put any trust in this man. He has done nothing to earn it (save for more funds to Africa.)
p



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Concerned

posted September 24, 2007 at 1:45 pm


When evaluating the SCHIP reauthorization (and who is being the most irresponsible with this issue), it is important to look at the goal of the bill and whether or not the plan will realistically accomplish it. There is concern that Congress’ SCHIP bill is not the most efficient method of providing insurance for poor children (see: blog.ntu.org/main/post.php?post_id=2658). Perhaps we should look at alternative methods for a comparison?



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N.M. Rod

posted September 24, 2007 at 3:16 pm


It’s fine to look at alternatives, but they are meaningless unless they have any practical prospect of being enacted.
Since politics is the art of compromise, not perfection, it is an old political technique to defeat imperfect legislation by proposing that which cannot be passed.
We know that conservatives do not want any expansion at all of publicly-funded health care, even as private insurance without which care cannot be obtained continues to wither away. They must make a moral case that the growing pool of millions who cannot get health care, including children and families who are not impoverished, yet cannot afford it, is a side-effect of capitalism that is worth it for society overall even as the earnings of the super wealthy who can afford anything at all continues to grow. and multiply.
All that we seem to have are vague worries about “moral hazard” for the common people if they are not completely responsible for all the stunningly inflationary costs, while what amounts to corporate welfare through enormous profitable contracts and favoritist tax legislation is seen to produce no hazards of irresponsible behavior at all among elites – despite all the scandals of cronyism and executive greed.
Instead of real solutions, those opposed are crying fiscal irresponsibility while doling out billions of taxpayer funds to their own favored interests instead, and sowing fear, uncertainty, doubt and delay.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm


Concerned ,
Thanks , your right about this may be the right idea , but the plan is what should be debated .
Don’t expect Sojourners to do that though .
Jaff said
‘The president unfairly attacks just Democrats…
I am no fan of this President’ policies , and it historical perspective most likely he will be rated in the bottom half of Presidents. I think Grant was worse .
But I got a kick out of this statement , I think if you turn on NBC , CNBC , BBC , CBS , your local newspapers , and all left wing blogs such as this , expecting fairness from someone aligned with war criminals , murderers , drunks , liars , taking from the poor to give to the rich , denying health care to children is kind of silly to expect in the first place . I really have little respect for the left in how they have talked about the issues Jeff , because a Presient does not come from your political bent , does not make him scum . Or vice a versa , but it is very hard for me anyway to have a rational conversation on issues when everyone that is associated with some of your views is considere the scum of the earth .
My own take is that its kind of hard of telling the average American in my opinion that we are spending billions , or is it trillions ? over in Iraq and we are stopping 30 billion a year here thats helps kids with a healthy start in life because the program over laps others .
If the dems in Congress had any backbone they would be all over this , I am a conservative and the hypocracy ticks me off . Now the President chooses to be fiancially responsible ?



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Peter W.

posted September 24, 2007 at 3:48 pm


I fail to understand why SoJo/Jim Wallis and friends invite comments to their well-informed, reasonable, and faith-based commentary.
Many of the responses appear to have nothing to do with faith, or, at best, are expressions from the Babylonian captivity of American cultural Christianity, not to mention mean-spirited. What would Jesus do? Probably remind us of the planks in our own eyes and exhibit compassion for the least and most vulnerable. How can there be any other stance in relation to the politics of Rome except an informed, humble, skeptical, and prophetic one?



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john

posted September 24, 2007 at 3:58 pm


So, Republicans are OK as long as they are Democrats.
Or, how about we allow the “protection of marriage” to stay sane and normal. Like Jesus, the GOP seems to know what a real marriage is “too.” That being . . . a man and a woman. It’s all about “family.”
Any takers Sojouners?
GOod point….
And contrary to popular belief and the lines of the quoted Pink Floyd song above, it is “The LOVE of money that is the root of all evil.” 1Tim 6:10. check it.



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Amazon Creek

posted September 24, 2007 at 4:11 pm


Hi Peter,
I share your frustration with a lot of the posts on this board. So much so, that I just don’t even bother responding to many of them. A number of posters’ minds are already made up – and no matter what you say – they will concoct some reason in their heads to reject it.
But…I draw the line at not allowing them. The New Testament directs us to examine all ideas that are put forth. In other words, God puts the responsibility on each of our shoulders – “Golly Gee, you’re a BIG kid now!” On a message board, that produces some good discussion – and some bad.
But they are all a part of “examining”. And so…we also “examine” the posts. And we keep the ones that resonate and make sense with what we know the New Testament is saying. And we toss the ones that don’t.
Any idea whose proponents don’t allow it be openly examined in the light of day – probably is false. If it has merit, it will hold up to examining, even if it needs to be refined by the examining.



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linda

posted September 24, 2007 at 4:24 pm


Surely everyone, yes everyone, must realize
that the current healthcare system in the U.S.
will *bankrupt* all but the top 300,000 earners
in the country. And for the majority it will be long before their 70th birthday.
Greenspan knows what a disaster the Republican Political Machine has been. Yet he would still favor a Republican for the next President.
I look at my friends in their 80’s and their
loss of mental functioning is so very apparent.
Unfortunately, they all seem to remember how to
pull that “R” lever.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 24, 2007 at 6:28 pm


It’s absolutely true that it’s the love of money, not money itself, that’s the root of all evil, says scripture. Pink wasn’t feeling well so he said, which is also true, “so they say”…
And that is just the point of all those lines – greed and selfishness
as the highest individual aspirations, personified.
If he kept everyone’s hands off his stack, maybe Roger Waters got a Lear Jet, as one of the high-flying high-fidelity first class traveling set.



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Jeff

posted September 24, 2007 at 6:47 pm


Moderlatelad and Mick Sheldon,
Maybe you missed my point because of the tongue in cheek matter I put out the quote you objected to. Go back and read my post without being so literal.
I agree with the President, this level of expansion of Schip should be vetoed. The President would like to see a smaller expansion and tighter ship (sorry) that makes sure the targeted children get the insurance. The Senates version expands the program into wealthier people without doing anything to better insure the poorest children.
Jeff



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jesse

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:38 pm


I hate to point this out again, but…
…Jim is basing his argument purely on appeals to authority!
Instead of addressing the substantive criticisms listed above, he basically says “since it has bipartisan support and must be implemented.”
I wonder if he remembers that the original decision to overthrow Saddam also had bi-partisan support?



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Donny

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:51 pm


Jezze has a good point. Democrats can do the right thing sometimes. Democrats are OK as long as they’re Republicans.



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Donny

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:53 pm


Sorry “jesse.”



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Payshun

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:58 pm


So in the meantime children don’t get assistance. Just so we are on the same page huh?
Does anyone else have a problem w/ this?
p



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Jeff

posted September 24, 2007 at 8:34 pm


Payshun,
Who are the children you are asking about? The expansion of Schip being discussed would cover children whose parents can already afford health insurance.
Jeff



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kevin s.

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:34 pm


“Surely everyone, yes everyone, must realize
that the current healthcare system in the U.S.
will *bankrupt* all but the top 300,000 earners”
If this is true, please explain how a governmentally funded system will avert this consequence.
“So in the meantime children don’t get assistance. Just so we are on the same page huh?”
That wouldn’t be the case if the plan Bush supports goes through. This is actually a battle between public funding versus partial privatization. The Democrats want to divert money from partial privatization and Bush doesn’t. Instead of simply passing legislation that would eliminate Bush’s plan, which would leave them vulnerable to the charge that THEY are eliminating health care funding, they are choosing to divert the funds to SCHIP, which is politically unassailable.
Now, to the question of whether SCHIP should be expanded on the merits, CBO estimates suggest that, for every two children who earn SCHIP coverage, one will leave private insurance. That is a tremendously wasteful amount. Further, Moderatelad is correct that adults have benefitted from the federal aid, as many states have used budget surplusses to pay out extra CHIP dollars. Now, many of these states face deficits, which would require extra federal dollars.
We can debate these particulars, and we can debate what bearing they should have on which particular piece of legislation is passed. I would expect a Harvard professor to be able to engage the debate at some sort of adult level, but even if he can’t, we certainly ought to be able to.



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Payshun

posted September 25, 2007 at 2:20 am


Jeff,
I am referring to the kids that can’t afford it. When this program get’s vetoed and it will then that means that the poor will still get the shaft. What happens to those kids then?
p



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Jeff

posted September 25, 2007 at 10:02 am


Payshun,
Again what kids? The poorest have access to medicare. Schip is for those who have to much income for medicare but not enough to pay for insurance. Expanding Schip covers kids already covered by insurance (or kids in families who should have enough income to pay).
This is not about covering desperate kids. Its about expanding government health care. I think expanding government provided health is a worthy topic for our government to debate. But lets be honest and have the debate.
Jeff



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Payshun

posted September 25, 2007 at 12:05 pm


Jeff asked:
Again what kids?
me taken from you:
Schip is for those who have to much income for medicare but not enough to pay for insurance.
My question remains what happens to those that make too much for medicaid? Those kids fall between the cracks and that’s my primary concern.
Expanding it may affect those that can afford private insurance but there are still those that can’t. W/o Schip what will they have? Medicaid won’t work for them.
as of last year some 31.1 million kids were insured thru Medicaid and Schip.
I got that figure from here.
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/CapMarketUpdates/Downloads/2006CMSstat.pdf
P



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Dee

posted September 25, 2007 at 12:07 pm


The poor (unless they’re also elderly or disabled) do not have access to Medicare, they have access to Medicaid. Those are two entirely different programs with entirely different criteria. Might as well get the facts straight.
Ultimately, Bush is right that an expansion of SCHIP now, under the current circumstances is wrong and irresponsible, but for very wrong reasons. If we cannot appropriately fund the programs meant to assist those who need assistance under the current nearly delusional guidelines that define need and assistance, then we have no business expanding assistance to include people who if they were being honest about their families’ needs and making better choices about budgeting could afford insurance though the choices might not be easy ones (like shopping at cheaper stores, giving up dining out or sticking with the paid off car). This SCHIP bill is about expanding SCHIP to families making about $80K/year (or about 400% of the poverty line) – not expanding it to more families who truly need assistance or shoring up programs for families on assistance. Also, even though it’s not politically popular, it’s time to face the facts that a child’s life is not more valuable than an adult’s.
Ultimately, what’s needed is exactly what Jeff said – we need to have an open discussion and make some painful choices. No pandering to parents, no pandering to insurance companies, doctors, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, or political parties. It’s time to face what works (such as all the research and development), what’s at least dysfunctional (like heavy marketing of pharmaceuticals to consumers) and what clearly doesn’t work (like all the access issues that leave many risking or even suffering fates like death or disability that could have been avoided by consistent, timely access to appropriate care) – and to then make all the right decisions and take all the right steps to fix the mess, no matter how politically painful. It might mean socialized care, a two tier system that mixes socialized medicine with insurance, raised taxes, limits on profits, caps on consumer costs, even an end to health insurance as we know it. But clearly what we have does NOT work and personal experience tells me it’s quite likely beyond simple repairs.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 1:14 pm


If your job’s been outsourced and offshored, and now your before tax income is $28K and you have a wife and 3 children, how do you afford health insurance on your own that costs $1500 per month (yes, folks, that’s what your employer-paid plans really cost) even with deductibles and co-pays?
Remember, you make too much to get Medicaid and you’re too young for Medicare.
Now you can purchase one of those high deductible plans the President touted as a savior for the poor. That means you pay $500 per month for something that doesn’t begin to cover anything at all until you spend $7500 out of pocket – then it pays 80% with other deductibles. This plan is supposedly tax deductible, but the tax credit ends up being worth less than $50. Do the math – you still have to spend over $12000 out of pocket before you get any coverage at all. In reality, this is a plan for those making $130,000+ per year.
It’s true we have the best health care system you can’t afford.
It’s mainly geared to making the middlemen, the insurance companies, extremely rich – more of the Wall Street elite preferencial option for the rich so typical to our crony capitalism financial services system.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 1:19 pm


As for access to Medicare, there are currently no doctors accepting new Medicare patients in our community. Patients must travel to cities fifty miles away to try to find doctors who will accept Medicare patients.
Money, it’s a gas.



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Rita Eason

posted September 25, 2007 at 3:33 pm


Texas where I live has the highest number of both children and adults under 65 without health insurance. Yet 2.5 million of Federal state CHIP federal monies were not used because our Concervative Republican dominated Legislature cut state matching funds. They were saving money for what, the Governor’s a generous fund to entice businesses both foreign and domestic to come to Texas. Oh yes he could make many trips to other countries taking his spouse to sell Texas.
Texas has more than half of the poorest counties in the country!
Texas is the right place for those bloggers who seem to have no mercy left in their souls.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 25, 2007 at 4:02 pm


Interesting points , not yours Rita .
I think part of the problem is the method of government implementing the policy . This policy has good intentions , but the methodology of implementation is flawed . When your dealing with large numbers of people and different circumstances to implement policies like this , I would expect it to have problems . Maybe we should take criticisms of policies as an opportunity to make the system better .
A good point was medicare from a blogger , in some areas doctors can not afford to take any more medicare patients , some don’t at all , so increasing medicare funding would not really help people in that area who had no transportation . So using scripture to promote government policies that help the poor that may cause some poor to be left out of the loop is not exactly justified either .
Anyone consider that a voucher system for children under certain poverty levels could be at part of the solution if the parents wished it that way ? , thus giving more oversight in each individual situation and even help competition and keep prices down somewhat ?
Often the devil is in the deatils But just to blanketly support legislation based on concern for the poor , or be against it based on government waste and principle is what democrats and republicans do , for the smart folks on this blog I wish some start talking to each other so the light weights as myself could glean a little more of what is going on .



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 7:31 pm


Here’s the reality.
Good-paying jobs with benefits will continue to disappear to be replaced by lower-paying ones without benefits.
This must happen because employers can get the same jobs done in other countries cheaper where they don’t have to give benefits, either because they are part of the social structure there or aren’t available at all and where the desperate population will work for a fraction of the amount of those here where those benefits were hard-won over many decades.
This is the irrefutable economic logic. Any business that’s not cognizant of this goes out of business under our current structure because its costs will be too high making its products and services uncompetitive.
The American worker must become poorer and less demanding in order to compete and must become content with a much lower standard of living.
Devaluation of our currency and inflation are two methods being used to create a leveling internationally of labor costs.
Ironically, all this is extremely good for stock prices and management pay, because it makes companies economically more efficient and profitable – because labor becomes another commodity sold at the cheapest price possible globally.
Business sees health insurance as a huge drag on profitability and will eventually eliminate it, except for as a perk at the highest levels.
Therefore, medical care will have to either drastically deflate in value or government – the larger community outside business – is going to have to step in if we are not willing to see health care become a perk for the rich alone.
I think it’s completely unrealistic to expect the Church to be supplying medical care for either its own or the larger population at drastically reduced rates – certainly I have seen no evidence whatsoever that it is or can do so in any way whatsoever. Certainly no one is stepping up to the plate – not Christian doctors nor businessmen, though I see lots of Beemers parked in the megachurch lots.



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Arthur Keith

posted September 25, 2007 at 8:55 pm


Why cannot the Church provide medical care? I live in the poorest county in Mississippi, a real depressed area, 85% minority, 35% unemployment, 65+% of children under 12 eligible for food assistance in school. We have one hospital, about 8 MD’s in the county, no surgeons or anything like that.
But in my Church we have two nuns, both RN’s who have gone and finished their master’s work and now serve as Nurse Practicioners, taking care of those among us who cannot afford medical care. The Church can take care of the poor if only it wants to.



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Arthur Keith

posted September 25, 2007 at 9:04 pm


I would like to add that I honestly do not want to see more government involvement. I know that by saying that a certain number of people will get upset with me. I, however, have seen the waste in almost anything the government touches. If we could take the same number of dollars that the government spend, and allow churches to take it and with it take care of the people in their communities, we would be much better off. If I want to think of waste, I only have to look at the welfare system in Mississippi, Medicaid in this state where at this moment only limited medications per person are allowed. If you are really sick, they tell you to either pay for it yourself of find family or churches that will help you.
I know that we all want to help the poor and especially poor children. I want to see, though, a better system than the present bureaucracy.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 9:22 pm


The bureaucracy’s not poor at service because it has to be, but because that serves someone’s purposes and priorities.
Should those priorities be changed by someone with the power to do so and who wants to, it will change. Other jurisdictions don’t serve their citizens so atrociously, neither everywhere in America, or in other countries with a higher commitment to good government service and accountability.
I sometimes think that some intentionally keep government service loathsome simply because that fits their preconceptions and their agenda to not allow it to be good for fear people will then see that it could be better utilised – which might cause the voters to demand that in opposition to their own ideology.
But good stewardship demands that whatever level of government service we decide to be appropriate must be delivered, and can be, efficiently and with accountability.
However, two nurse practitioners do not make a health care system for the number of people you are describing.
The likely outcome of government doing nothing, or less than nothing, is that the level of health care would be about what it was in the Middle Ages when the church delivered it. Are we more committed than they were then? Won’t we need a revitalisation of faith that returns us to first century norms that are far from the experience and practice of the alienation that we see is characteristic of our current christianity?
Moreover, those who are currently trying to reduce the size of government by “starving Leviathan” – that is, cutting government social services or administrating them into insolvency and ineptitude to destroy them – have caused spending to balloon out elsewhere, into police state measures, militarism and garrisons.
If that is the great evil that some see it as, it would be practically productive to restrain Leviathan’s warmaking financial gluttony by putting the tax money instead into an investment in infrastructure and the health of the citizenry.



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Arthur Keith

posted September 25, 2007 at 9:56 pm


I agree, two people is not enough to serve all the poor in our communities. Those who have any insurance, Whatever it may be, go elsewhere. By choice because they would be welcome as well. The biggest problem we have is having enough meds. You can only get so many samples. But what does anyone else do? Nothing.
We have all these fantastic federal programs. They are failing our people. We have no state program. That is okay, it would do no better than the federal ones. We have had state aid in the past, as soon as you get used to it, they jerk it away from you. I do not know if there is anything out there that can do better.
Yes, I wished that we would have universal insurance. But even that would not serve us since, at least in this state, we have counties and communities that can get no MD’s to move there. How do you solve a problem that is almost to big to solve? One small step at a time.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 10:29 pm


People don’t go into medicine in the US in order to serve the poor – they do it to become high status community members who make scads of money and who also happen to find it interesting and have plenty of talent.
Now there are those who act as medical missionaries to other countries – why could they not do that here?
The structures we have erected prevent that in this country in order to serve financial interests who benefit by having it just the way it is.
We are learning the federal government, at least as currently administered, can’t do anything at all well – neither domestically nor internationally. That’s not going to change for a while to say the least.
The best approach, I believe, would be not to have the federal government administer any wider-scale program. You noted that the more local programs were helpful, but unsustainable.
The federal government could make the funding for those localised programs, under local control, more sustainable.
The federal government could establish a minimum standard for health coverage for all states, with very liberal interpretations of how those standards and goals are to actually be accomplished. The federal government would not actually administer the programs, but would hold them accountable for meeting minimum standards. States would be free to be creative in delivering services to their residents, either through a mix of private and public competition or any ratio they chose, as long as standards were met.
Private insurance companies, which will only be dragged into any improvement kicking and screaming, could be offered a role in offering premium services not offered by the minimum that individuals and companies could purchases. This could mitigate the problems this sector would face in a transition to universal coverage. They could also be used as contractors with the proper incentives to encourage efficiency in delivery of universal services.



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Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

posted September 25, 2007 at 10:51 pm


Seriously, with this much bi-partisan support, Bush is simply throwing his presidential weight around daring Congress to challenge him. Welcome to the world of checks and balances.
That aside, this bill needs to pass. There’s a deadline people, and when even the Republicans are voting for this, Bush needs to do the obvious, not to mention right, thing. Growing up in a single parent family, I qualified for Medicaid. However, a friend of mine who’s mother and stepfather made too much to qualify, yet not enough to afford health insurance, remembers “toughing” it out on more than one occasion when she probably should have been in a doctor’s office.
Tasiyagnunpa
http://www.thelordslark.blogspot.com



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Moderatelad

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:28 am


Why cannot the Church provide medical care?
You kidding – in our litigious soceity?
Back in the day, most hospitals were started and supported by churches, groups of churches or denominations. Now – it is almost impossible to do that in this day and age. The medical field has been so bastardized because of lawyers and needless lawsuits. It is a medical practice. Get the lawyers out – I believe we could reduce the cost of healthcare by 20%. Allow people to die 3 months prior than they currently do – you might be able to save another 25 to 30%.
Blessings –
.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:50 am


But, without the threat of litigation, it’s likely that the insurance companies would let people die rather than release permission for their treatment.
Remember, insurance companies are not charities but businesses whose sole responsibility is to profit and their shareholders.
Insurance is a business in which huge amounts of money are taken in upfront and then the profits are derived from preventing claim payouts as much as is legally possible.
Their own lawyers work hard to reduce their own responsibilities as much as they possibly can accoding to their contracts.
[Our own chiled was injured while crossing the road by a hit-and-run driver, left for dead on the road with a severe brain injury and was emergency airlifted to a hospital. The insurance company (a major one) refused to pay the hospital bill on the grounds that he needed to be pre-approved for admittance.]



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Arthur Keith

posted September 26, 2007 at 12:20 pm


I know that we all have horror stories about both insurance companies and lawyers. Just a few years ago we ran the last of the neuro surgeons out of Mississippi. It was just to expansive to practice here. Even today we only have a few, after lawsuit legislation was passed, they have slowly returned. OB-GYN’s are few and far in between. You want to have a baby, in my situation, you have to drive at least 55 miles to find a hospital willing to provide that service. Nurse-midwifes have been run out of the immediate counties around us. We do not have any insurance companies that provide HMO’s in our area. Why? Not enough money. Not enough patients. Not enough profits.
There are much blame to go around. Five years ago, many people from other states used to come to my county in Mississippi to sue pharmaceutical companies. It was know that you could get more money here than anywhere else. It has been stopped today. They put a few lawyers and their aids in jail for abusing our systems. And they had to pay back money they fraudulently received.
Our hospital will accept anyone in its emergency rooms. And then try to get rid off you as soon as possible.
Trained ER doctors, forget it. We use doctors from the University that rotate through our ER. They may be in training to be any specialty, very seldom do you have one that can really help you.
Enough complaints. I am ready for solutions.



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kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm


“But, without the threat of litigation, it’s likely that the insurance companies would let people die rather than release permission for their treatment.”
No. Criminal negligence is punishable by law, and even though competition between insurance companies is limited, simply letting patients day would ensure that companies never select your company.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:00 pm


Some people are so wedded to their ideologies that the facts will never convince them.
Insurance companies can get away with their behavior because it is the medical provider who by law is forced to give life-saving treatment regardless of the ability to pay, under penalty of law. Then they send the bill, which the insurance company tries to avoid paying.
If the treatment were up to the insurance company, the patient would die.
Saying “we can all quote horror stories” as if that dismisses their relevance is the height of uncompassionate conservatism.
Evidently you have no idea, and I certainly don’t hope that you have to experience it yourself to change your perspective as it did mine – I don’t wish what happened to us on anyone.
Ayn Rand would let them die, anyhow – objectively speaking. And she loathed the very idea of God, and most particularly what she saw as the vile weakness of Jesus’ compassion.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:19 pm


is the height of uncompassionate conservatism.
Compared to compassionate conservatism which got us in a war ?
Why not have some very honest lawyers and some very honest insurance agents , may take a committee to find them , and put in some consumers and come up with an independent , non political plan ?



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:22 pm


Our own chiled was injured while crossing the road by a hit-and-run driver, left for dead on the road with a severe brain injury and was emergency airlifted to a hospital. The insurance company (a major one) refused to pay the hospital bill on the grounds that he needed to be pre-approved for admittance.]
Posted by: N.M. Rod
This is pathetic , and I totally understand your view and passion because of this . How did it turn out ?



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N.M. Rod

posted September 26, 2007 at 9:12 pm


The insurance company never did pay. Kept trying to make excuses and foist it off on anybody else.
The bill for a week in the hospital was $214,000.
It wasn’t possible to pay for any sort of formal rehabilitation at all, despite initial prognosis of being at a five year old’s developmental state permanently, for a sixteen year old boy who had been intellectually far ahead and home schooled.
We were never able to find the hit-and-run driver, whose own insurance might have paid, despite appeals on all the three local network affiliates newscasts.
I personally appealed to the driver in those newscasts that we understood his own fear of being ruined and that regardless we forgave him or her because Christ commanded us to love him and would intercede for him if he came forward. We had no interest in seeing anyone jailed – we just needed help.
The stations publicized a fund for donations and we eventually received $2000 from viewers.
I must say the whole experience of seeing all the other children seriously injured and ill in the time we spent around the clock with our son at the hospital totally changed my idea of how compassion ought to be expressed in society and my own hardshell conservative expression of Christianity.
Every time we would hear the whup-whup of another helicopter landing on the pad near the room once he was out of ICU, just as it had brought him in, I would wince and realise yet another child was grievously injured.
I also met many Christians, the most valuable of them the Latin immigrant women that were used as after-hours nurses aides to watch patients to keep them from being reinjured during their brains’ healing. Some of these people were or had been illegal immigrants, were poor and often with broken English, yet they told this parent their own stories of faith which shamed my own faith and gave me hope. They LOVED my son and me and our family and gave of themselves out of their own poverty of wealth but richness of spirit. They literally held us up when I personally could not stand at all.
I guess, thinking about this now, this was when a change began to gently come over me that set the stage for turning against war as a Christian activity, later on once some of our own serious moral failures later on had been revealed.
So many suffering and injured – and these were not deliberate, but the result of accident, and what devastation and wrongness. To do this to other human beings intentionally —



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Tattydolly

posted September 27, 2007 at 12:02 pm


I’m from the UK and I’ve read a few of these discussions about healthcare in the US with a certain amount of bewilderment. I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that we just expect different things from our respective governments. In the UK, we expect our government to be able to run an efficient and equitable healthcare system. If they can’t, we change the government. As a consequence healthcare is as important an issue come election time as the economy, education or crime. And after the election the winning party is held to account and expected to come good on their promises.



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Luella Cole

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:13 pm


I am amazed that no one has picked up on the assertion “a child’s life is not more valuable than an adult’s” in the debate over SCHIP. While I agree that every human being is intrinsically valuable and equal in the sight of God, I hope the writer realizes that lack of health care in childhood can lead to developmental and educational deficits that will doom an individual to a less productive life. In every childhood there are developmental “windows”–critical age spans–in which certain skills, for example language, must develop or be forever deficient. Lack of health care in early childhood contributes to lower intellectual development, poor educational achievement and helps to perpetuate the cycle of poverty.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:11 am


Once I’ve admitted that a child ought not to be denied medical treatment, I find it hard to turn away from the needs of suffering adults, as if they are somehow disposable regardless of circumstance other than age alone.



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john

posted October 1, 2007 at 4:43 pm


“I, however, have seen the waste in almost anything the government touches…”
Of all Medicare funding, 3% goes to administration and overhead, 97% goes to paying claims.
Of all private insurance premiums, 30% goes to administration and overhead (and profit), and 70% goes to paying claims.
I’ve worked in both the public and private sectors, and neither has a monopoly on either efficiency, nor inefficiency. But they do have different objectives. In the public sector, the objective is to provide a service. In the private sector, the objective is to turn a profit.



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posted September 11, 2011 at 3:07 am


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