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Edwards on health care

posted by David Kuo

Perhaps you’ve seen the clip below. If not, it is worth watching for its honesty and passionIt is easy to see John Edwards as a slick, rich, glossy politician defined not by the substance of his campaign – economic justice, compassion, challenges to corporations – but by the gaffes – expensive haircuts – and the reality of his personal wealth. But to dismiss his message because of the gaffes or because he is wealthy is to miss someone who is truly challenging the status quo. There are certainly things he says that give me gas – the idea that we are going to “eliminate” poverty in 30 years seems utopian; his answer to a forum in the gay community about what a mistake it was for faith to inform his opinion was a true head scratcher. All that being said, however, his message is important and his passion is unquestionably real. This is not a man posing by poverty’s side for electoral gain. This is real stuff.



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Donny

posted August 31, 2007 at 9:12 am


If it were “real stuff” for Edwards to believe in free healthcare, he would take his millions and open up free clinics in his neighborhood. His property is big enough for a hospital.
And his political groveling before the LOGO/LGBT tribunal-debate may have put him outside of the Church body until he repents. Not one Apostle did obeisance to these kinds of people. In fact they disapproved of their behaviors in word and deed. Their “faith” stood strong, even in the face of great political persecution. (Look up Nero and his sexual proclivities if you have any doubts.)



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Stan

posted August 31, 2007 at 12:27 pm


I guess if Pres. Bush could open up Kennebunkport as a hospital. After would the ill at ease love to be on the water? How about Cheney or Rove how many of there large estates have then opened up? Really get an argument that is real and not fantasy.
Nero = Democrat? A stretch there don’t you think?
I personally think you can both have money and talk about healthcare.



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doug

posted August 31, 2007 at 2:40 pm


Donne, no one’s rich enough to solve healthcare on their own. Can you give no credit that he might mean to help?



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Jan

posted August 31, 2007 at 4:21 pm


It is not necessary for anyone to apologize for being wealthy. Wealthy people liked John Edwards are often the agents of change for the poor. We treat our poor and less fortunate abysmally in this country. The class system is as ingrained as any on earth. It depresses me that even Christians, when we are honest, think this way.



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c kitty

posted August 31, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Donny criticizes Edwards for being rich and expressing c oncern for the poor. apparently it is more virtuous for the rich not to care about the poor, like the rich who passed legislation protecting the profits of the medical suppliers.



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KDB

posted August 31, 2007 at 9:36 pm


For a presidential candidate to talk about eliminating poverty and making health care available to all, to truly talk about taking care of the least among us is, frankly, political suicide. Americans just don’t go for that kind of stuff in presidential. For someone to make it the heart of their campaign has to truly believe in it. We can make endless jokes and comments about how much money John Edwards has or how much he pays for haircuts. But you have to ask yourself, why would a presidential candidate speak out unabashedly about something that he knows will most likely reduce if not eliminate his chances of getting elected? Despite whatever faults you find or cynical motives you attribute to the man, it is pretty brave, politically speaking, for John Edwards to take on these topics. What other candidates are truly campaigning on Jesus’ words “whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me”?



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Thinker

posted August 31, 2007 at 11:58 pm


John Edwards is the real thing. But I’m afraid Americans prefer cartoons. So we make fun of his accent and his hair and hope his words won’t touch us too deeply. Perhaps those who oppose universal health care and who proclaim themselves pro-life can tell me exactly what should happen to those sick people without insurance. Perhaps large human refuse boxes outside of emergency rooms? Or quiet little hell-hole nursing homes where everyone ignores you until you die? (In my state, such nursing homes are the norm – there is precious little regulation of these places here ) Perhaps those children who live in very poor neighborhoods and have asthma – regular horrible oxygen sucking asthma – now what should we do about them. We’re already doing it. Pretending they don’t exist.
I want to see George Bush stand in one of those emergency rooms for a night – just stand and watch. Or Mitt Romney – who fought universal health care in Massachusetts and now claims it as his own. I recall a woman talking about a terrible incident in a hospital in Boston. After she told her story – Mitt turned to her and said – about as coldly as anything I have witnessed – something like – ‘and that is supposed to be my responsibility?’. It was one of those C-Span moments that will live in infamy if it ever surfaces. How about Rudy – yeah – there’s Mr. Compassion – what happened to public health in New York City during his time as mayor. I think Governor Huckabee gets it. I’m sure Hilary understands the system – but I do not know if she understands the suffering part . Don’t know about Obama, but he does understand that ignoring this broken system is dangerous indeed.
We have somehow convinced ourselves that to be sick is your own fault. Some puritanical ethic says that good people don’t get sick. Or injured. And if they do – they must be “smokers” or “fat”. Preventive care – forget it. People should know better. Now if these good people get sick – they have the “best” insurance – the one that only the “best” people get. Or perhaps not. Family friends- wonderful people – recently learned that their very good insurance wouldn’t pay for life-saving chemotherapy. Or my friend who was sent home only a few hours after having 24 week stillborn twins – she was sent home because the hospital had to get her out by midnight – they wouldn’t pay for anything inpatient on that one. Perhaps the soldiers who go back to rural areas and try to rehab after traumatic brain injury – there’s no place to rehab. Our health system is expensive and supports big drug companies, some physicians (most are barely making a living in this system), big biomedical firms – but cannot pay its nursing aides and housekeepers enough to even carry health insurance in many cases. The system is as broken as broken can be. the only way many poor people get medical care is to call 911. An expensive ambulance ride and hours in an ER where you might or might not be treated competently – now there’s a system for you.
If you have a loved one in the hospital – someone must stay with them 24 hours a day – not to do so is negligence – because the care will be abysmal unless there is an advocate present. I might add that such advocates should document everything – write down the names of every caregiver, the dates, the number of times you turned on a call light and no one came – for hours. This is not about ambulance chasing – looking for the lottery. It’s about rampant abuse and neglect of patients due to poor staffing, poor trainig and overcrowding. If you haven’t figured out that health care is in as big a crisis as the military – you aren’t looking. You have your head in the sand – hoping that your physician will be there when needed and that your insurance (have you read your coverage closely) will take care of you when you get sick. You hope that in your hospital – registered nurses have not been replaced by “techs”, your doctor will know your name and face, and that you will not be bankrupted by a single illness.
John Edwards gets it. He is the real thing.



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Donny

posted September 1, 2007 at 8:13 am


OK Thinker,
Your white space lacking compassion lefty-sales pitch is also lacking some reality. If you think Doctors are barely making it now, wait until we’re all communists. Go to a clinic where state aid pays for the treatment of the continuously sixty-people deep waiting room. I literally do work with the poorest of the poor. I really know these people, professionally and personally. My own insurance for my wife, children and I, cost’s me almost half of my net pay and because I love my children, I deal with it. You can wax on Marxist-poetic, but reality seems to escape your bottom line. (And sooner or later, tens of millions of Americans like me will fight against the ruin of our nation by anti-Americans ruling over us.)
The Doctors, in those places OF rude, foul-mouthed, inconsiderate and unappreciative (and usually fat, cigarette smoking single mothers . . .) cannot care “for” the poor. Those Doctors have to FEAR GUYS LIKE Edwards every single moment of the healthcare process. That is to say, every single moment of their lives. Doctors live in fear of John Edwards and the Liberal insane suing machine . . . Thinker!!!! And you want to give these people even more power over health care? Check yourself bigtime.
Politicians do not care about anyone but their own re-election. Guys like this politician/Edwards only care about power. Edwards could start his own insurance company and become a real hero. He desires political power. He desires to take from all and give to choas. A sort of insane Robin Hood Commie.
The ONLY thing that needs to be forced on Insurance companies – that make billions of dollars in profits – is to eleiminate the pre-existing conditions denial-aspect of insurance and to legislate a cap per income for premiums. And then force people to not abuse the process.
Your Liberals have created a society of needed emotionally disturbed whackos, that need Liberals to tell them how to cure the ills that were created via neologism by Liberals. Not sick? You just haven’t seen the latest edition of Psychology Today.
I can’t wait for opinion on the abuses of the system by Psychologists and Psychiatrists. remember, the sicknesses created by these people keep them employed. Keeping people sick is the job of a certain class of Doctor. Your nightmare Thinker, I want no part of.
Legislate conditions so that Blue Cross and the other insurance companies accept everyone and anyone (that should appease the Libs for a moment). THEN watch the free enterprise system take care of the rest. The good will rise and the inept will go out of business.
Letting Leftist-Democrats turn our country into an Orwellian nightmare is only going to force civil war to visit America again. If you are a Christian, Thinker, (and a Christian thinker) do not support the Mark of the Beast style plans the Democrats will implement on the populace. What’s wrong with people like you Thinker (?), where you are willing to allow people like Pelosi and Edwards, Clinton and Kennedy to force their perverted hypocrisy on us all? These people are elitists Thinker.
Why hasn’t ALL of the rich communities that these rich Democrats live in, been inundated with free clinincs offering affordable health care? They’re true hypocrits Thinker (et al). They only care about the poor staying far away from where they live. Otherewise, you would hear them talk about good morality as a health care concern. Instead you have those really promoting immorality, debauchery and perversion, hedonism and excesssive behaviors demanding that those that lives their lives more soundly (and better than others) be forced to pay the bills of the willingly irresponsible. That is itself immoral and unhealthy.
If you think the system is bad now, just wait until the Democrats get hold of the power to force their malevolent insanity on the middle-class hard working people that will lose so much of their income that the American dream will be a thing of the past. I hope and pray that at that time we will still have the right, and the ability, to contend against these people. What America needs is a cleansing of its Liberal political process before it can cleanse the wounds and heal the illnesses of its misguided citizens.



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KDB

posted September 1, 2007 at 10:17 am


Donny, your posting makes for great economic debate. However, given that this blog is about intersection of spirituality and politics from Christian perspective, I did not see anything in your writing to refute the “Christian-ness” of John Edwards’ policies about poverty and healthcare. What is your objection to his healthcare and poverty policies, not from political-ideological perspective, but from a purely Christian perspective?
Reasonable people can debate the economic impacts Edwards’ policies, but that is not the point of this blog. The underlying question here is whether or not Edwards’ policies, despite his (reality based or media-created) “slick” image, are truly reflective of Christ.



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Thinker

posted September 1, 2007 at 11:51 am


Donny – the free enterprise system own the health care system. It has no soul and no matter how hard you try – you can’t connect it to Christianity.
We have a system that is ultimately created to ignore the widow and orphan, the outsider.
People who lead irresponsible lives have to live with that irresponsiblity every day. They feel terrible.
I worked in the health care system for 25 years. In the beginning I could stay with the family of a dying patient. I had time for the long bedbath for the patient in ICU. By the end, efficiency was all that mattered. Get the body out of the room and to the morgue within a certain amount of time – even if the family had not arrived. “He’s medicaid” – don’t call a real doctor on him at night – the doc doesn’t make a nickel. We have trained these new techs for 16 weeks and now they can do a good deal of your job – you can double your patient load.
Insurance companies are half the problem, hospital systems that spend more on PR than on training, more to decorate than to provide care and pharmaceutical companies that have essentially bought the souls of physicians and hospitals. And Donny, you may pay 1/2 your income for insurance – I pay half of mine for one of my children on COBRA now that she cannot be insured in the ordinary fashion. In two years that will end and she will be uninsurable. I truly hope nothing terrible happens in your family, but if it does, your insurance will not cover as much as you think. You will be bankrupt.
Edwards speaks of the poor and their experience not as statistics, but as real people. Jesus asked the so called elite and the religiously correct to see the victims of their hypocrisy. And Donny, people who live in a “the bad people (the ones I find offensive) will get what they deserve from the God who hates the same people I hate” are the ones Jesus really went after. Scribes and Pharisees if you recall. Kennedy’s vision – acted out in a life as imperfect as the woman at the well – is in fact rooted in the vision of Catholic Social Justice. Just read Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s book – a more Christian, Jesus centered, how do we care for the suffering book I have not read in a long time.
Too many among us claim Christ and a completely free enterprise system coupled with an Old Testament sense of vengeance on one’s enemies. Let’s get it straight. Feed the hungry, love your enemy, forgive those who have harmed you, visit the prisons, bless the peacemakers, the poor in spirit – you remember Donny – core of Christian values. Love God and your neighbor. And who is your neighbor? Most likely will be some Samaritan. Someone you cannot imagine as good.



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Doug

posted September 1, 2007 at 12:13 pm


OK, Thinker, but to carry the debate further, and granted that Christians are called to help the widow, the orphan, the irresponsible and the morally incontinent, is it necessary that government be the alternative to cruelty? There is no Christianity in wanting the poor to stay sick, but some of us are frustrated that a policy seems like the only alternative in the debate.
I’m not sure that this is relevant to this discussion (and it kind of works against my question above,) but an interesting historical perspective with a lot of credibility is that the hospitals built by various religious denominations in the 19th century and early 20th were not built primarily from a sense of mission but because the first hospitals in this country did not hire Catholic or Jewish doctors. Many of the “religious” hospitals we see around us (disappearing, but still around) were built in response to the exclusionary prejudice of mainline protestants.



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Thinker

posted September 1, 2007 at 12:24 pm


Wow, Doug, you must know different nuns from the ones I know. Often they placed hospitals where they could treat the poor. They have missions like – care for the dear neighbor without distinction.
The government cannot it care for everyone, but they cannot abdicate the responsibility of regulation to the huge corporations, the pharm companies. It must be a cooperative effort between the people (government) and those who make billions off of the poor. Cannot tell you how many old people give up heat in the winter or enough food to buy their medicine. Often that medicine could be cheaper but some docs prescribe what their pharm reps suggest – instead of what could adequately treat the patient with less expense.
I’m not sure what the alternate to cruelty is – and the current system is cruel – but the government certainly must have a hand in regulating what the standards of minimal care will be. theoretically, they do, but have abdicated that responsibility under Bush.



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reddopto

posted September 1, 2007 at 1:11 pm


This discussion of health care issues is not up to the complexity of the issues. We have an aging population, which contracts serious disease at a rate ten times that of younger groups.
We have the preventive care fallacy; that we can cut care costs by preventing disease. Research has shown that if you help people avoid heart disease, they go on to contract cancer and other degenerative diseases as they age. So, ultimately, even preventive care doesn’t cut costs.
We swallowed the managed care fallacy that provided a one time only cost reduction while punishing dedicated providers of care, limiting care to many people, and exploding costs to the uninsured.
We don’t even think about the extra cost of technological advance. Before MRI’s existed some people died due to lack of a proper diagnosis. Now with MRI’s, this super expensive test is run on many people: Some are saved, but in most instances the test results were negative. These new tests add tremendous cost factors to the system.
Diseases that were never treated before, are now being treated with heroic and expensive new treatments. Example: macular degeneration; previous cost 0; potential costs with new treatments; billions. How does one factor in such cost increases into an overall system?
Across the country emergency rooms are losing billions of dollars treating the poor. Many of them are illegal aliens. Has anybody got yje courage to deal with that issue.
One thing that has to be dealt with is the running up of huge bills for patients who are hopeless and at death’s door. A gigantic portion of the health care dollar goes to pay for hyper-expensive bills run up during the last month of a patient’s life. We’re paying a huge price for one more month of living connected to tubes. Some leaders need to start making some tough decisions about the appropriareness of care in the last month of life.



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Doug

posted September 2, 2007 at 10:14 am


Thinker, regulation can be a tricky thing. The problem is that all regulations cost and their consequences are unpredictable. I am slowly becoming convinced that the government probably ought to be guaranteeing healthcare but I hope that if that develops, people are prepared for the problems it will cause. Compassion makes good people but rarely good government, in my opinion. There are just two many hiding places for scoundrels in marble buildings.
I didn’t mean to put down all the good work that faith communities have done providing healthcare for the poor, but I did find it interesting that the rise of denominational hospitals was largely fostered by discrimination as much as by compassion. I think it says a lot about our history.



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Donny

posted September 2, 2007 at 10:29 am


OK, on a Christian note:
Thinker,
What I “hear” when I “see” words written by people with your political/religious views Thinker, is that we are to turn our lives and our children’s lives over to Democrats. Who are indeed very, very, very, much like Nero and his political ways. The GOP for example, may demand resignantion for their sodomites, but the Democrats promote them. Christians are supposed to join Democrats? And Democrat socialism/communism is a far cry from the Acts-style comunisn described in the New Testament.
Supporting John Edwards? Why not become like a Roman centurion worshipping a Bull deity.
“Nero = Democrat? A stretch there don’t you think?”
Posted by: Stan
\\\
Stan, I think, with real history guiding us, that I could prove easily that the Democrats and Nero are very much one and the same. BTW: Nero was a man that married another man after an attempted sex change operation (to the other man). And Nero hated Christians talking about Christianity and blamed them for social ills . . . etc., etc., etc..
You can see Nero’s marriages to men celebrated here: http://community.livejournal.com/lambdarising/tag/lgbt+history+fact+of+the+day
Nero slaughtered Christians while celebrating that too.
///
(The GOP still has a moral voice of decency. Ask Senator Craig. If he were a Democrat, we would have never heard of his behavior in a bathroom. Or else, we would be charged with hate crimes bigotry if we did. In any event, he would still be a hero to dems. Ask Bill Clinton.)
Immorality is indeed a factor to acquiring sickness and poor physical health.
The free enterprise system gives rise to better economics and tackles corruption. (Ted Kennedy for instance killed a young woman and has not one ounce of care about it. Otherwise he would have admitted to what he had done and served his life sentence in prison.) Democrat-style hedonistic socialsim (really just modern-communism), has been proven to give rise to immense corruption and immorality MTV/HBO style.
John Edwards wants to be eleceted president. Nothing more, nothing less. He is a Democrat. When you compare the whole picture, the Democrats demand to paint everyone in society exactly the same color. I do not see how their ideology can possibly qualify as Christian. Qualifying as Paharisees, certainly the Saducees, and the Pagan Romans yes, but Christians as explained in the writings of the New Testament? No. Not if honesty is important to the discussion and solution.
“I” cannot support the Christian Church AND rally behind a person that dwells within the Democrat camp. And the Democrats make it plain what we’ll have to believe and how. Nothing new about that. The Democrats do not waver from their Progressive diversity-homogenization process. They really do not tolerate anything or anyone, unless they are exactly the same.
As a Christian, health care is a perfect example of what not to yoke yourself with when dealing with Democrats. Their ideology is immoral. They’ll pass anti-smoking laws because “we” shouldn’t have to pay for the excesses of others that can harm us while harming themselves. I do believe that Peter, Paul, John, Jude, James and “the Lord Jesus,” have voiced opinions on this, and that my views align with theirs.
Morality is a cure for most of the problems of the poor. Especially the inner city and poor. And by the way, where do these poor exist? I do not see a poor person when I see a 300-pound individual raising multiple children from different fathers. I see people – the mothers and the fathersssssssss’ – in need of repenting and going and sinning no more.
Christian time!
Remember the woman “caught” in adultery? Well Thinker, she will no longer risk death by stoning, or by STD’s, if she goes and sins no more. She will also not get pregnant again and therefore will have less fatherless children to care for and can better serve the children she does have to care for. And realize, stating that she should “go and sin “NO MORE” is very UN politically correct. It could land Jesus in the Hate Crimes jail being manufactured by Democrats as we write.
But Democrats have already legislated morality as a hate crime. And immorality kills. Ask the AIDS patient that did nothing more than receive a blood transfusion.
And as “Christians. . .?” Socialized medicine will fuse us to Democrat power for our entire corporeal existence. And maybe even beyond if we support it.
Hopefully, American Christians will not want to be pagan-secularists like the Europeans, like the Progressives and Liberals, and will reject the scoialized-medicine slavery being trumpeted and implemented by the Democrats. But when I peruse typical history, I do not see much hope for the populace not being led into destruction.



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Charles Cosimano

posted September 3, 2007 at 3:24 am


It’s been a long time since anyone got AIDS from a blood transfusion in this country. But as the Edwards’ campaign sinks slowly into the sunset…



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As a Democratic Christian

posted September 6, 2007 at 6:56 pm


I’m truly saddened and offended by the idea that because I’m a Christian and a democrat that I am flawed. it is not for you to decide. God will judge me and my actions, no one else.
I believe it is wrong to deny anyone healthcare because they don’t have the money, that is immoral. I believe that I cannot force anyone to take care of themselves and I’ve never see a Democrat ask that cigarettes be banned.
My faith asks that I treat all with love, respect and kindess. I cannot stomach being around someone who is a Christian and then condemns someone elses’s faith because it does not resemble their own.
How is medicine for all Anti-Christian? How is caring for those who do not have what we take for granted make us evil in your eyes? Pagan? You’re kidding right?
How dare you judge the poor because of their own sins, who are you to judge them. We arell sinners! Have you no compassion? All I see is a pile a stones that you seem quite ready to throw at anyone who disagrees with your idea of Christianity.



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Ministry of Silly Walks

posted September 6, 2007 at 9:13 pm


Well, Donny, in the midst of your paranoid ravings, you uncork a rather obtuse reading of the Gospel account of the woman caught in adultery found in John 8:1-11. I wouldn’t want to even begin to address your utterly crazed attitude towards anyone who might not agree with you about, oh, say, anything you have an opinion about, but I can’t let your self-serving exegesis of the biblical text go unchallenged.
How anyone could read the story of the woman caught in adultery and conclude that it is included in the gospels to teach us a lesson about how women can avoid stoning (to say nothing of all the other horrors you imagine are awaiting her) is beyond me. Rather, it seems quite obvious that this pericope is focused on the woman only peripherally. Instead, the passage is primarily about the hypocrisy of the self-righteous and judgmental religious people lying in wait (she was,John tells us, caught “in the act” of adultery, after all), and on the gracious, forgiving and redemptive response with which Jesus responds to the woman.
In fact, the difference between Jesus’ teaching and so much of what passes for preaching in today’s pulpits is that Jesus rarely, if ever, railed against the immorality (at least as we conventionally define immorality)of ordinary folks like the woman in this passage. Instead, what seemed to get Jesus most exercised was the hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and bullying of folks connected to the religious establishment.
I certainly don’t have any big answers as to how we can best fix our broken health care system. But if you are going to bring biblical values and beliefs into the picture, Jesus and the prophets are a good place to start. And surprise–they talk a lot about mercy, compassion, and caring for the poor. At least Edwards is bringing some of those notions into the conversation.



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