"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Healthcare Reform

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Healthcare Reform

Yesterday the U.S. House voted narrowly (220-215) to pass healthcare reform. While this vote is indeed historic (it is the first time since Medicare a healthcare bill has passed either chamber), it's future is uncertain. The Senate must pass its own bill and the two must then be reconciled before the changes become law.

This summer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) passed a resolution saying that “each person should have ready access to basic health care services that include preventative, acute and chronic physical and mental health care at affordable cost.”

Last week, Catholic bishops threatened to pull their support unless federal funding for abortions was explicitly forbidden (this provision was cited by the sole Republican, a former Jesuit seminarian, as allowing him to cross the aisle to vote for the bill).

Jim Wallis of Sojourners writes:

For decades now, the physical health and well-being of our country has been a proxy battle for partisan politics. When Truman tried to pass a national health insurance plan, the American Medical Association spent $200 million (in today’s dollars) and was accused of violating ethics rules by having doctors lobby their patients to oppose the legislation. In the 1970’s when Nixon tried to pass a national health insurance plan, strikingly similar to what many democrats are proposing today, the plan was defeated by liberal democrats and unions who thought that they would be able to pass something themselves after the mid-term elections and claim political credit for the plan. In the 1990’s the “Harry and Louise” ads misrepresented the Clinton health care plan but was successful enough PR to shut down that movement for reform.

Walis encourages the faith community to "step in and speak for the interests of the common good and those who would not otherwise have a voice."

Certainly there have been many doing just that, as well as many others who use their voices to shout down others, or spread misinformation.

It seems everyone who has an opinion, regardless of their religion or lack thereof, feels there is a moral component to healthcare. How about you? What are your thoughts?

(Please, no anonymous comments, and mind your manners. Let's debate like adults.)


  1. ex falc says...

    I will start this off with the fact that I was born in a country with socialized medicine - Sweden. My mom had four of her kids there, and the last two in the United States. One of her births in Sweden was a twin delivery - me and my brother. She got to stay in the hospital for two weeks. My dad even got some paid time off work. She said the medical care she got in Sweden was much better than the care she got in America. I am not saying socialized medicine in best for every medical issue, but when we're talking about basic needs, like having a baby or a child getting sick, everyone should be covered.

    When you are admitted to the hospital in Sweden, all you have to do is show them your residency. That alone eliminates mounds of paperwork that we in the United States have to fill out when we see a doctor. Everyone in the country pays for the system. The more wealthy you are, the more you pay, but EVERYONE is covered. Why all this fear about socialized medicine? Has anyone making those comments lived in a country with socialized medicine? I was born in a country with socialized medicine, and I turned out okay. The rate of obesity and health problems there is much lower. Go figure.

    There is more to life than money. As a christian, I wonder where is the compassion for people that are sick? Is money the only thing that encourages people to do good for others and to help and cure the sick? Aren't their any doctors out there that help people because they love what they do, and would do the same quality of work whether they were paid $200,000 or $5,000,000 per year? I would be more than happy with $200,000 a year.

    I am conservative on most issues, and think the government should stay out of many things, but not with basic health care.

    A woman should not have to pay $10,000 get medical care during her pregnancy and to have a baby in a hospital.

    I work a full time job just so I can get health insurance for my family. My husband works in construction so he would have to purchase insurance on his own. Anyone who had to purchase their own insurance knows how much it costs. So now I am working full time, my husband is working full time, I can't stay at home, even if I want to because we need health insurance. It's depressing and it angers me because I wish I could make the choice about whether I wanted to stay home with my children.

    And yes, I will move back to Sweden if the opportunity arises.

  2. Now when the owner of this blog actually made an posting about the off-topic topic I wrote about, I cannot resist to repost it.

    Here are the facts about how the US health care system compares to other countries. Except Finland by intention ;)

    The facts are collected in a few minutes, so I cannot assure here are no errors.

    Now, I can think about several reasons US people does not want the same system as in other countries, but it doesn't hurt to compare.

    As I wrote, US is superb to other countries in many, many things, but health care doe not seem to be one. ;)

    -- snip --

    The American medical care system is probably the most expensive in the world. The total health expenditures as a share of GDP, U.S is someting between 15 and 16 %. The same number for Finland is 7.4%, Sweeden 9.3%, Japan 8% and United Kingdom 7.8 %.

    According to U.S. Census Bureau, International Database, year 2004, U.S. is #20 in health care compared to other nations. In life expectancy, the U.S. is behind Japan, Swedan, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Austria, Greece, New Zeeland, United Kingdom and Cyprus. The U.S. in life expectancy is tied with Ireland and Denmark and actually ahead of the Czech Republic.

    The life expected at birth is 78 years for US, while it's 80 for UK and 83 for Japan, which uses only 8% of GDP for health care compared to 16% for US.

    We can also look at what US get for this money compared to other countries. The amount of doctors, nurses and hospital beds per 10000 is 26, 94 and 31, while the same number for for example UK is 23, 128 and 80. The fact that United Kingdom pays only about half for it's healt care shows how incredible expensive the US system is.

    Studies released in 2007 by the Commonwealth Fund found that the United States, which has the most expensive health system in the world, underperforms consistently relative to other countries and differs most notably in the fact that Americans have no universal health insurance coverage.

    The US ranked last in most areas, including access to health care, patient safety, timeliness of care, efficiency and equity. Americans were also last in terms of whether they had a regular physician.

    The study also shows the United States is also far behind in adopting modern health information technology, which translates into spiralling costs and poor care.

    Some old numbers from 2005 shows that illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs. The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually -- counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children.

    Most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More than three-quarters were insured at the start of the bankrupting illness. However, 38 percent had lost coverage at least temporarily by the time they filed for bankruptcy.

    In other industrialized countries this number is 0%, beckause taking care of people's health is government's job just like picking up the trash or putting out fires or running the public library. When you need the service, you get it, and you don't pay there. You pay for it in taxes. It's a government service.

    About 90 percent of the people in Britain and Spain, Italy, New Zealand practicaly never get a doctor bill in their life. They go their whole life and never get a hospital bill. Beckause it's government's job to keep people healthy.

    About 10 percent of the people in Britain have private insurance, but it only accounts for about three percent of the money spent on health care. When anything serious has to happen people go to the public hospital.

    - snip -