Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#97 Not health care reform

posted by Stephanie Drury


Christian culture is rather unhappy about the proposals for health care reform. They’d threaten to move to Canada like they did when Obama won, but Canada has socialized medicine, so they’re up a creek on this one.

*This post has originally aired on September 10, 2009, and warranted a reissue per Christian culture’s feared events coming to recent fruition.



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Annette

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm


Here’s something I saw on someone’s Facebook status today:
This was never about healthcare. It is about POWER and CONTROL. America you will be weeping tears of agony when this bill comes to pass. They have taken our freedom and burnt the constitution on the house floor with no regards to the American people.
Overreacting much??



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Em

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm


Along the same lines, they are also fond of using the word “socialism” without being sure what it means. To them it’s anything politically they might disagree with! My favorite Facebook status I saw: “You’ll be sorry. Welcome to socialism.”
Facts? Pfffft.



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ransacker

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm


Here it is. As far as differences in Helath Care, We’ll see what comes. There is no way of knowing. As far as actually understanding it, I am not entirely sure what will actually happen and what all of it means. Socialism? Who knows……. Just a bunch of conservatives in a panic and using the naughtiest, scariest term they could come up with to panic the herd. It does however appear that the Constitution took it in the chops.



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Billy

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm


I have to admit that I’m a little worried. I already pay $263 a week for health insurance, from an auto tech commission, that is about 25% of my check, not to mention taxes and such. My healthcare is already more than my mortgage. I hate politics, I have no interest in them. But I’m hearing that this will make my insurance cost more in the near future. I can’t bare much more or I will be forced to start considering things to do with out. Healthcare is not something I can do without. My wife was born with a heart defect, she had her second open heart operation when she was 28, and she will need another in 10-12 years. The surgery cost $75k, something I can not cover my self. But, I don’t think the government should step in. I was watching the movie “300″ last night and the main character told King Xerxes that “we are not slaves, we are freed men.” I thought of a little irony there. Freedom is not easy, the government wiping our butts and covering for our incompetence does not thrill me all that much.
If any of you are enlightened on this political subject, fill me in.



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nnmns

posted March 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm


Billy don’t believe what you hear. There are a lot of liars out there, expert liars like Rush and the Fox news people, who tried to scare us away from this. But courageous Democrats (I hadn’t expected to use those two words together) came through for us.
I expect you’ll be getting some government help to pay your insurance bills; certainly by 2014, maybe sooner. And the minute the law is signed several good things will happen. Read this.



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nnmns

posted March 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm


Billy if you are 26 or younger you may be able to get onto your parents’ insurance now. Here’s another site to read about the changes .



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elissa parrish

posted March 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm


i loved this site until i read these comments… anyone that thinks they know what will happen or that scared conservatives are being ridiculous, just show their own ignorance. the truth is, we don’t know and it is scary. ransacker here seems to be the only one that has any sense of the magnitude this possibly could mean for our country. there will be loones and extremists on both sides of ANY argument… it does not take away from fact that it is a serious and big change and it has nothing to do with christianity.



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Ross

posted March 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm


Billy,
The way I think about it is not so much the government wiping our asses for us but rather citizens of the United States taking care of one another. If the US is a democratic society than the people make up the government thus the government taking care of people who need help—i.e huge medical costs, or help with food, or housing—is really the people taking responsibility for other people. This then says a lot about what freedom means. Many people think of freedom as the right to be left alone, but Paul tells us to use are freedom quite differently than that; “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another (Galatians 5:13-14). For Paul freedom does seem to mean that if one wanted they could be left alone and not take any responsibility for the welfare of others, but Paul discourages such use of freedom to the point of imploring us to become slaves to others! There seems to be for Paul a deeper sense of freedom when we take responsibility for the welfare of others. In fact, Paul connects this sense of freedom to the greatest commandment saying, “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14). So love and freedom are intricately connected for Paul!
I hope this helps a bit.
- Ross



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stephanie drury

posted March 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm


Elissa, exactly – this blog is about issues that have nothing to do with Christianity but Christian culture takes sides on them anyway in the name of their faith.



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Chrissy

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm


Elissa, You can still love the site without loving the comments. “Throwing the baby out with the bath water” is a bit extreme in itself.



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Scott Budzar

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm


Oh my Stephy – It can’t be said any better!



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elissa parrish

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm


i know plenty of christians on both side of this debate… i do find that christians however, make it embarrassing for the rest of us that are against health care reform with their panic and uneducated spouting…



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stephanie drury

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm


Christian culture loves throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They love the black-and-white.



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Billy

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm


Ross, great statement. But, should the government be the mediator of my generosity? Trust me, you have a very convincing argument. Paul also said that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Does that mean that I shouldn’t be responsible for those who contribute nothing to society? It just pisses me off that I work 50+ hour work weeks to provide for my family of 4 while there are others who sit at home making babies getting their food stamps and playing X Box all day. I’m not stereotyping races, I personally know more white people who take advantage of the system than any other ethnic group. Personally, I only want to depend on the government for protection and order. I’m open minded, my perspective could change though.



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Billy

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm


Oh yeah, and Steph. The picture and the caption still crack me up every time I see it.



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nnmns

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm


Billy, nobody else has been doing a decent job of mediating whatever generosity you may have. And if we are to believe what you said earlier you can’t afford much generosity.
Now as to those who “contribute nothing to society”: do you mean those who never ever contributed anything or those who used to, and want to, but the Bush Recession put them out of work? Or just possibly they’d like to be working but have to stay home to care for a family member?
I admit I also don’t like the idea of people having droves of kids the world doesn’t need and us paying their medical bills, but how do you define a mechanism to separate out the deserving from the undeserving.
Anyway, here’s yet another source of info in case you like movies more than words.



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Ruth

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm


I just read the following and had to share it here.
“Orange Country Pastor Wiley Drake fired off an email to his supporters this morning, telling them that all 219 Democrats have been placed on the “imprecatory prayer list.” “We’ll remember in November and pray Psalms 109 while waiting,” he urged, before listing each offending congressman by name in “Satan’s domain in Washington D.C.”
Psalms 109:8 reads: “May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership” followed by “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.”
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-03-22/health-care-fatwa/?cid=hp:mainpromo1



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nnmns

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm


Wow, I wonder if Drake did that to GWB when he started a war with no justification. Just for instance. Man, getting several million people health care who didn’t have it is a much bigger sin than I imagined!



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Ross

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm


Billy,
Thanks for replying so sensibly—I often avoid leaving comments on blogs for the responses can be so close minded.
Anyways, on to your questions and concerns, I think that in a society as complex and immense as the United States that governments do prove to be most effective mediator of welfare. Let me give just one example, in his recent book called All You Can Eat, author Joel Berg claims that Feeding America served 2.1 billion pounds of food through its national network of food banks in 2006 but that all this equaled only enough food for 3.6% of the 35 million Americans with low-food security in the United States. Conversely, SNAP (formally, the Food Stamp Program, now supplements groceries bills for 1 in 8 Americans.
I also want to note here that charity is solely based on the whims of the wealthy, where as government welfare requires responsibility for the other—so that even if people don’t feel like being charitable others don’t go hungry, with out a food or sick without medicine.
As far as Paul’s statements about not eating if you don’ work, I want to start by saying that Americans (poor Americans especially) work more than any other industrialized nation in the world! But I’ve also struggled with Paul’s saying until recently when I read an analysis by theologian and economist Franz Hinkelammert, whose argument was that the economic system Paul worked in, and thus the poverty Paul knew, was quite different than the economic system and poverty which permeates the modern world. In the economic structure of Paul’s day employment was 100% –that is to say that there was available work for all able bodied workers (thus, when we hear of poor folks in the Bible they all sick, children, elderly or widows, for those groups aren’t able bodied workers). In our economic structure, however, there is not enough work for all able bodied people—have you ever known the employment rate to be 0? (And the unemployment rate only counts those who are actually looking for work). So I think Paul’s words, in this instance don’t fit our reality. Furthermore, in our economic system working doesn’t mean your making ends meet—in fact, here in Oakland its said that a person needs 3 full-time minimum wage jobs ($8.00/per hour) to sustain a family of three.
Finally, I think there have been a lot of stereotypes about who receives welfare and a lot of that revolves around much deeper and historical stereotypes about race and gender. Most studies of welfare show that the program helps more people than there are people who take advantage of the program. The county here even claims that most mistakes in food stamp benefits are actually administrative error and cheat the client out of benefits, as opposed to the client cheating the county.
Well, I hope that clarifies, and I hope you’ve more questions and responses!
If you would like to continue this conversation privately, you can reach me at rmsteinborn@gmail.com
- R



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John

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm


What Jesus said about paying taxes?
“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”
What did Jesus say about helping those in need (socialism)?
“When you give to the least of these, you give also unto me”
God loves a cheerful giver!!!!



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Still Breathing

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm


I’ve been watching this unfold from the UK where we have a health system that does look after most people. The problem is that politicians continually want to know exactly where all the money is spent and so we have ended up with too many bean counters and not enough medics. We now know that a sizable number of our politicians had been fiddling their expenses which explains why they didn’t trust the medics to get on with the job.
Throwing a spanner into the works could it be said that in a truely Christian society there wouldn’t be a need for any government health care as we would all be looking after earch other? In other words this is about the failure of Christian Culture in all its forms. What do you guys (and guyesses) think?



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Em

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm


Also very “Christian culture” is stereotyping people on welfare. As someone who works with government aid, I can tell you no sane person would want to do it. You have to jump through so many hoops and cut through so much red tape, that if you don’t really need it/just want to take advantage, you’ll get weeded out pretty quickly. And with all of the documentation we do, we’ll find out.
And @John, Amen to that!



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Em

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm


@Still Breathing: That has become my comeback to Christian “capitalists” who tell me it’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of people: if the Church did what Jesus told them to do, the government programs wouldn’t even be necessary!
Think of how much money these megachurches have. But instead of helping people, they buy X-boxes for their youth groups and build huge, elaborate sanctuaries. One of those X-boxes could feed a hungry family for a week. What a shame and a waste.



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm


I’ve been watching this unfold from the shelter of a fully-functioning democracy that happens to provide national health care. No, my tax bill is actually not higher than the average American’s and yes, I can choose my own doctor. The national health care system, with subsidised doctors, treatment and prescriptions is what has enabled me to stay in work despite multiple injuries and a couple of inherited health issues. This just about a society taking care of it’s members and trying to make sure that people can function as well as possible, which, in turn, means that they can contribute more – on every level.



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Al

posted March 23, 2010 at 12:22 am


It’s very interesting watching US politics from north of your border. I’m sure we have been guilty of fear mongering up here as well, but….nothing compared to what you guys are capable of!
I certainly wish you well as you embark on a journey that I’m glad we took decades ago. In fact, we’ve been on this journey so long that we have lost some of what we gained back at the beginning.
One thing that I think I can see from my vantage point is a very strong belief in ‘freedom’ and ‘independence’ that appears to obliterate any sense of being my brother’s keeper.
I completely agree with Still Breathing: “in a truely Christian society there wouldn’t be a need for any government health care as we would all be looking after each other.” Probably the same goes for income assistance, etc. However, since even the Christians are deathly scared of being called ‘socialist’, no one seems to care about anyone other than themselves.
At least that’s my perspective.



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Mark r

posted March 23, 2010 at 4:09 am


Who cares it don’t effect me …
Bring back dah Bush at least he had something to say – didn’t he?



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David

posted March 23, 2010 at 9:38 am


“You hate people!” “No, YOU do!” has been the worst part of the debate. Count me as one who thinks that the idea is nice (if a little bit utopian), but that the bill itself is a real mess. Nevertheless, sometimes it feels like everybody in this country has to be an idiot, so thank you to all the commenters here who are NOT idiots! haha



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Flah the Heretic Methodist

posted March 23, 2010 at 10:25 am


“in a truly Christian society there wouldn’t be a need for any government health care as we would all be looking after each other”
Still Breathing, you can print that on a t-shirt. Best comment I’ve read anywhere this week.



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Sarah

posted March 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm


Still Breathing, so excellent. It’s been bugging me for a long time that Christian culture is generally adamantly, screamingly, rabidly opposed to health care reform…and yet over the last year they have spent their time stirring up a mob mentality instead of doing something practical to render the reform bill less necessary. If churches and church members had started their own independent programs over the last several years (because we ALL knew the health care reform was coming) to assist members of their congregations with uninsured medical expenses, the government might not need to step in to fill the vacuum in the health care system.
Say, for example, a member of a church congregation has a necessary procedure coming up that will cost him/her $15,000 (okay, so it’s a small procedure). In a congregation of 500 adult members with income, everyone only needs to contribute $30 to cover the procedure entirely. I know it’s a really simplistic example, because a lot of congregations are smaller, and a lot more than one person in any given congregation has significant medical expenses, and a lot of medical expenses run a lot higher than $15K, and there would need to be committees to determine who has the most need and to allocate the funds accordingly and deal with the people who are pissed off that they didn’t get more. But most communities have at least one booming megachurch within a 50-mile radius, and it would be an awesome opportunity for community churches to come together to help each other out, so that a member of a tiny little congregation can receive medical expense relief from the nearby booming megachurch.
And think how many more people would start coming to church if they knew their physical needs would be met in some capacity. Church community might actually have meaning. Instead of going to church to get all feel-good about God and hear a sermon and pretend to have everything together (that’s been my experience of Christian culture churches, anyway), people could go to church to be — literally — fed, clothed, healed…loved in the immediate, practical, visceral way that Jesus loved.
It’s not like I think the bill is terrifically great, but something has to be done, and I haven’t heard of any good solutions coming out of the mouths of the opposing fear-mongers. (My dad, a huge fan of all things conservative, insists that there IS a conservative solution, but he couldn’t tell me what it was, and when I surreptitiously glanced through one of his copies of The Limbaugh Letter — ugh, ugh — I didn’t see anything but a gleeful spreading of fear.) I don’t know when Christianity became all every-man-for-himself; contrasted with the fact that Christians STARTED social justice and human rights in the West (I know that’s an oversimplification too) with rescuing abandoned babies and founding orphanages and schools and public hospitals and bread lines, the growing reluctance to care for people in need by parting with actual money, and the apparently indifferent willingness to let the “undeserving” to suffer their fate, frighten me a lot more than the government taking a few more dollars out of my paycheck.



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Valerie

posted March 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm


Great post Sarah. I’ve been checking facebook with bated breath for the last few days. From some of the updates that I’m seeing, you would think it’s the apocalypse. There’s SO much hyperbole and overreaction and it’s driving me crazy. Last year I posted this Reagan quote from the 60s in which he was opposing medicare just to show that this ridiculous fear-mongering has always been around, and some of my friends totally didn’t get it…
“If you don’t, this program, I promise you will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. And behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until, one day, as Norman Thomas said, we will wake to find that we have Socialism. And if you don’t do this, and I don’t do this, one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America, when men were free. ”



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Joel Bradshaw

posted March 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm


Billy: Statements like “I’m hearing that this will make my insurance cost more in the near future” are exactly what the intention of the fearmongering is. If you’re getting insurance through your employer (which it sounds like you might), your rates will most likely either stay the same or actually decrease. Your worries sound significantly like what Nancy Pfotenhauer said a couple months ago, that was rated not only false, but “pants-on-fire” – outrageously false. Regardless, there’s good information as to what will actually happen over at PolitiFact:
http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jan/28/nancy-pfotenhauer/health-care-reform-does-not-increase-premiums-and-/
In fact, with your wife’s heart condition, you’re fortunate if you haven’t been dropped for “preexisting conditions” – a technique that has been outlawed as of yesterday. The bill also gives immediate high-risk coverage for those with preexisting conditions until the new insurance regulations go into effect.
This line kind of sums it up:
(Sec. 1201, as modified by Sec. 10103)
“Amends the Public Health Service Act to prohibit preexisting condition exclusions. Prohibits discrimination on the basis of any health status-related factor. Allows premium rates to vary only by individual or family coverage, rating area, age, or tobacco use.”
And if your healthcare costs are 25% of your income, I’m guessing that even if you don’t get it through your employer, you will be eligible for assistance. The definition in the law of “Individuals who cannot afford coverage” is those whose required contribution is greater than 8% of their income – so I’m pretty sure you’ll be up for assistance when this thing kicks in.
Basically, I see very little reason for you to fear the new healthcare bill, as you are pretty much exactly the person it’s designed to help. Check sections 1101, 1501 and 2704 of the bill for details:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:h3590.eas:



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Billy

posted March 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm


nnmns, thanks for the link, very helpful. If that is accurate, the only thing to be concerned about is if the bill is paid for. The biggest issue with my health insurance is that we are a small company and the tyrant owner only pays as much of my insurance as the state of North Carolina mandates her to. She is a big supporter of the health care bill, I’m guessing so she can cut us off and pay the penalty. The pre-existing condition may work for me due to my wife’s heart surgeries. I was told that if anyone in my family has had a condition in the last 10 years, it’s a pre-existing condition. My son is 9 and hasn’t had any problems with asthma in 3 years, but I was told that he wouldn’t be covered if I went elsewhere. Bullsh*t if you ask me. My wife has to go for yearly checkups so I’m screwed there as well. Maybe I can get coverage elsewhere now.
Ross, thanks to you as well. Also in Paul’s day the main concern was food, not vacation homes, a third car or a country club membership as well. I think that we as Americans need to rethink priorities. I’m happy as long as I can provide for my family and have a home. Thanks for the email address, I may take you up on that.
~Billy



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Ross

posted March 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm


Billy,
You’re absolutely right about readdressing the priorities of American life—greed has been veiled by the more business savvy idiom profit and profit as ultimate value is the root to many of the problems we’ve been discussing. I hope we begin to move our ultimate concern towards the welfare of our fellow citizens—and ultimately all humanity.



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toujoursdan

posted March 25, 2010 at 11:23 am


I am also from north of the border, though living in New York City now.
While the sentiment that “if we were ‘really’ Christian we wouldn’t need a government programme” is sweet, you could make the same argument against having a police service or a court system. Even the disciples weren’t “Christian” all the time. The fought and abandoned each other when the going got tough, so I certainly don’t expect us to be any different. We’re sinners. We’re innately selfish. It’s part of the human condition, so hopefully we create institutions that shield us from ourselves.
I would love to be able to love my neighbour better than I do, but when we live in an economy where medical treatments cost in the tens or hundreds of thousands and the need can come out of nowhere, all the personal generosity for my neighbour I can muster isn’t going to meet the need. That’s why we need insurance, and why insurance needs to be spread over the largest pool possible.
I hope the U.S. eventually adopts a Canadian or French style single payer system. It is vastly more simple than Obamacare (which is really RomneyCare) and vastly more equitable.
I



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Dorothy

posted March 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm


I hear so much about the fears of socialism, has anyone actually looked up the definition? The fear mongrels seam to be succeeding in terrifying everyone. I have been on both sides of the track, I have been without insurance or any kind of assistance for coverage and I have had good coverage. Let me tell you there Is a BIG difference in the way you are treated and the medical attention that you receive. If everyone can get coverage no matter whether your condition is preexisting or not I am for it. Over the years the insurance companies have been deciding what coverage you get. They have been deciding what medications they will help you pay for. Believe me when you have to take certain medications and have to have certain procedures and your insurance says we are no longer going to help you you will wish you had something or someone to turn to for this help, especially if it affects your livelihood and your very own life is at risk without it.



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Still Breathing

posted March 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm


toujoursdan, Historically the church did provide health and social care. Unfortunately when the reformation came we pulled down the monasteries and nunneries that provided help and medical care to the poor. Going back further why do you think Paul organised a collection from the new churches for the Church in Jerusalem?



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Still Breathing

posted March 31, 2010 at 3:50 am


Interesting article on teh BBC site about this in particular the reactions in Texas where 25% don’t have insurance.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8592095.stm



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Greta

posted April 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm


just saw this bumper sticker:
GOP faith-based health care: PRAY you don’t get sick
amen!



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