I’m self-employed. That means that I pay for the health insurance premiums for all five members of my family — it’s about 9% of my monthly gross income. But, because I’m not part of a group plan, the plans available to me aren’t very good, so each member of my family has a $5,000 deductible every year. That’s a maximum out-of-pocket of $25,000 per year, plus the premiums. This year I had back surgery, so I tore through that deductible for myself in about 90 minutes on February 10.
As a small-business owner, and independent writer/speaker/consultant, I know first-hand that health care costs can be crippling, and they are a huge disincentive for entrepeneurialism, in the for-profit or non-profit world.
In fact, if there is an affordable, national, government-backed health insurance program, I think we will see a huge exodus — in the corporate world, from big corporations; and in the church world, from big denominations. More of us who are wired up as entrepreneurs and risk-takers will jump ship and go it alone. And, IMHO, that will be a huge boon to the US economy and to the life of Protestantism in America.
I realize that paying for it will be hard. We’ve got some choices to make as a society. But it’s one of those pay now or pay later things. It will cost a lot to get a national health insurance plan going at first, but in the end, it’s going to save us — literally save us from national bankruptcy.
I also realize that the reason to fight for national health care is not for me — it’s for the 50 million uninsured Americans. The other 300 million of us are a paycheck away from being uninsured.
Tonight, President Obama will have a prime-time presser which will deal largely with his health care plan (and its torturous path through Congress). So, at this time, it’s good for all of us who profess to follow the God of love to think about where we stand on this important issue.
That’s why I was glad to get an email from Ryan Bell who directed me to this resource. Ryan, pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church, and a tireless advocate of voiceless people, has blogged about his work with the PICO Network and their resources for congregations. I urge you to check it out.