Hey, people of faith! Here are ten concrete, no baloney reasons for supporting healthcare insurance reform now!
U.S. healthcare insurance reform is a moral matter. Hindu or Jew, Christian or Jain, Buddhist or Animist, virtually all share the belief that we are here to make a difference. To build up the family of all humanity, to be our brother's and sister's keepers, to fight for the defenseless, the infirm, the poor, the marginalized -- the people without adequate health insurance. And, at the same time, we'll also be doing the future of the economy a good turn. Perhaps more than in the case of any other issue being debated, healthcare insurance reform is a matter of conscience, a matter of faith.
1. The "Free-market" ("free" for whom??) is not a dogma in any faith tradition. Health insurance, without a government-based public plan, will always cost more and deliver less. It's simple arithmetic and economics not politics or ideology. Just look at healthcare cost and delivery in America over the last fifteen years. Case closed! But there's much, much more...
2. Free market insurance makes its profit in two ways: increasing the price, minimizing payout; it's not magic -- it's just basic math. Do the rich have an obligation to the poor? Am I my brother's keeper? If I save one life do I save all humankind?
3. 14,000 people per day are loosing their healthcare insurance -- for numerous reasons. With the proposed reforms, that figure will virtually immediately go to zero. Will our "Higher Power" be pleased if we turn this down and leave these folks "by the side of the road?"
4. "Pre-existing conditions" will one day eliminate everyone from "free-market" insurance eligibility. That's simple logic. What will be "the choice" then? You can't have national healthcare policy that allows the elimination of people with pre-existing conditions. You can't have a world of "brothers and sisters" if we do that -- can we?
5. Incidents of government "incompetence and corruption," while certainly not unheard of, are much fewer than the incidents of "incompetence and corruption" in the free market. Here are two words to think about -- Bernie Madoff. Here's one more -- Enron. (Incidentally, American users of Medicare trust this government program much more than do the customers of any private, for-profit carrier.)
6. America is among the "free world's" leaders in healthcare technology development. Yet, we are among the worst in the "free world" when it comes to two things: universal delivery and our ability to contain costs. Who would want to pay more and get less? What about that "stewardship" thing?
7. With genuine healthcare insurance reform, the rate of increase of the nation's total annual medical bill will decrease; eventually, with careful oversight and management, the actual cost (measured as a percentage of annual GDP) will begin to decline. Again that pesky "stewardship thing" .
8. If you do a simple little research exercise you may be even more convinced that reform is necessary. Google "U.S.Healthcare Statistics." Roam around on several of the top 10-15 sites. You will be bobbing in a sea of information that will amaze and confound you. Is the U.S. really this bad? We are. You will leave convinced of this one fact: no other nation in the free world does this badly in providing healthcare to its citizens. There must be change. Now.
9. The largest uninsured group in the nation is the young. Of these people, perhaps the most alarming figure is the number of uninsured between the ages of 18 and 30. If one of these young, uninsured adults has a bad motor cycle accident (insert your own example if you like -- one that is likely to run up medical costs over many years, even decades) it is probable that this young person's family (very likely insured themselves, ironically enough) will slide toward financial ruin in an effort to provide provide for care over countless years. Does a society seeking to be just and compassionate stand for this situation?
10. What if we just stop listening to the voices of the insurance companies, their PR folks and lobbyists who have a lot to loose in this fight, and do the common sense thing -- help the President and Congress do what we sent them to Washington to do: reform healthcare insurance coverage in the U.S. now. Even faith demands it. Doesn't it?