ObamaCare and Our Duty to God II

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

In a reply to my last post, Robert Cornwall raised a number of issues.   We are probably in general agreement on the “what” of our duty to those in need and our main difference is on the “How.”  My main point was that our duty to those in need is not a valid reason to support government policies in general or the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare in specific.   One’s desire for or against says nothing at all about one’s relationship to God, or their commitment to those in need.

Mr. Cornwall raised the point that the need is greater than the church can provide, but I would submit that the problem of providing health care for the nation is bigger than the government can provide.  It can promise as much as it likes, but it simply cannot live up to those promises over any significant period of time.

No one argues that there are not huge problems with the health care insurance system in this country.   The issue is how to fix it.   I think a major cause of the current problems has been government interference and regulation going back decades.  Government has failed at running the Medicare program, and I do not believe that even more government control will improve the situation but will only make it worse.

What is needed are new and innovative approaches to delivering health care, and more importantly of paying for it.  Such innovation cannot come from the top down. It can only come from the bottom up.  It is no coincidence that many of the innovative approaches that have improved care while cutting cost have come from the area least under government control, i.e., plastic surgery. 

But government does not innovate, it regulates, locking the current system into a bureaucratic morass that can only drive up cost and further limit care; and that is assuming that this was a good bill.  But it isn’t. 

What is now the Affordable Care law was never supposed to have become law.  It was a hastily crafted set of bargaining positions put together by the Senate and passed so they could go home for Christmas.   The idea was that the “real” bill would be written in the conference committee when they returned.   But Scott Brown’s election eliminated that possibility.  The bill should have been dead at that point but through a series of questionable procedures, the Senate bill became law because it was that or nothing.

A few parts have already been repealed, as even the Democrats had to admit they were a disaster.  What remains cannot stand. The Courts ruling that states can opt out of the Medicare provision will be a huge problem.  In short the law must be either significantly modified or repealed, and replaced with a new approach. I support the latter.   But then even today we do not know the full extent of the law, as there are many places where the law is simply “as the secretary shall determine” and the secretary is still working on it.

To me there is no doubt that the way the bill is written,  if allowed to remain, in two years there will be even more people without insurance then there are now  which was the main reason the bill was passed and thus the problem will be even  greater that it currently is.  The bill has already caused costs to rise, with many employers planning to drop coverage as a result of the bill; and that is with a bunch of waivers so as to avoid the pain of the bill until after the election, which is when the taxes also kick in. 

Mr. Cornwall’s  charge of Docetism,  completely ignores the point that I was making.  I was not saying that we shouldn’t worry about the physical needs of the poor, only that our duty cannot be fulfilled by passing it off to the Government.   Again I oppose the bill, not out of any lack of concern for the physical needs of people, but the exact opposite, out of a firm and certain belief that this bill will make health care worse for people.  It will increase suffering of people, not reduce it.

Jul 24th, 2012

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