Health Care Reform & Sodomy

Health Care Reform: The idea that within the richest country in the world/West (America) that all people could be provided with health care. Obama just had a bill passed that is setting in motion this idea – not quite there – but working towards such a concept.

Sodomy: “Among the early rabbinic commentators, the common reading of the sin of Sodom was its cruelty, arrogance, and disdain for the poor…Midrashic writers lavishly portrayed Sodom and the surrounding cities as arrogant and self-satisfied, destroyed for the sins of greed and indifference to the poor.” (Pg 65 ‘Wrestling With God & Men’ Rabbi Steven Greenberg)

I have been reading about this issue of health care from both points of views (Dems and Cons) in the news as of late – and I have an opinion on what I am hearing.

It is quite beyond me who anyone claiming to be following Christianity cannot side with the idea of ‘caring for the poor’. The idea some people would raise concern of taxes/economics concering this issue as their excuse to not want the idea is quite sickening. Is this not the richest country in the world? Does not every single person deserve health care as an essential piece of the right to life? Is not health care part of the pursuit of happiness? Is it not a right that should be shared?

What am I missing in this debate on health care?

I just finished reading some rabbinic opinions on Sodom, that rich city destroyed by fire for it’s greed and callousness towards the poor. It reminded me of the idea of health care in America. How can a Christian person use economics as the basis for their reason against helping the poor? Do they have it so good they cannot share some of what they have with others?

I am Canadian (First Nations at that – among the poorest communities in Canada), I am not an American. I pay some 30% of my monthly pay to taxes. Some of that goes to ‘socialized’ medicine (as some are calling it). The great thing about that is no matter who you are – you get help when you come to a hospital…even people living homeless get the help they deserve (all they have to do is want it). I wouldn’t have it any other way to be honest…it’s called equality.

So what does Sodomy have to do with this? Sodomy is the sin of not helping the poor in your community – over-looking them for the sake of your own pocket/security. Isn’t this what the health debate is actually getting at the heart of?

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10 thoughts on “Health Care Reform & Sodomy

  1. Jason,

    I know we don’t agree on issues like this, when economics and systems of government are involved. If I could add something from a different point of view. I don’t believe this is about “universal health care” at all. Actually, the US already has universal health care. It is against the law for hospitals to refuse treatment, and the county hospitals is where most of the poor go. Poor, by definition, is somebody who has little money or means. They go to county hospital, get treatment, are billed, then they don’t pay the bill because they can’t, or only pay part of it. The county then is left with covering the cost. They get treatment and somebody else pays for it. There are also private donors who put money toward this.

    The way I see it, the problem with US health care is that the patient is not the customer; there is little free market involved. The doctors work for the insurance companies, and the insurance companies work for large corporate employers. There’s no incentive to lower costs for any of these. The doctors use more expensive and unnecessary treatments because they know the insurance companies will pay for them. The insurance companies pay for them because they know they can raise coverage rates on the employers. And the employers are okay with this because they know they can pay for it by [invisibly] lowering wages. People in the job market will accept shitty jobs just because they have benefits. On it goes.

    It is interesting how non-covered things like laser eye surgery and other “luxury” medical treatments have radically dropped in cost and increased in effectiveness over the years. That’s because the free market deals most effectively with those things. Look at cell phones. Twenty years ago, cell phones cost several dollars per minute. Today, the poorest of the poor have them. The same would happen with medical treatment if allowed to be part of the free market. The current doctor/insurance company/corporation complex is largely the result of government laws and regulations in the first place. So Obama and his supporters want even more of the same; health care run by government and insurance companies.

    Another problem with US politics, is that bills are passed without any members of Congress reading those bills. Stuff is now coming out about what is really in this bill, and even liberals are pissed off. One thing about American politics is that a label of legislation really has nothing to do with what it says. In the US, politicians at certain levels must disclose their finances. Liberal politicians are notoriously bad at giving to the poor out of their own money.

    There’s a bible story about the woman who used the costly perfume on Jesus. Judas Iscariot was the first to object, claiming that it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. But he only said that because he was the holder of the bag and he was a thief. I don’t for a moment believe American politicians when they say they are doing something for the poor. There’s always something in it for them at the expense of the poor. They’re the thieves, and the poor suffer. If government helping of the poor actually worked, nobody would be poor. Actually, I side with the idea of caring for the poor, both in my own charity toward them and creating a market system that will allow them good care at ever decreasing costs. And ever decreasing costs makes it all the more easy to help the poor with medical costs they cannot pay for themselves.

    So for me, it’s hard to believe Christians actually supporting such a bill, unless they don’t know what’s really in it or they believe politicans on their word. I don’t know who these people are who are talked about who don’t support the poor, because most people I know are very generous givers to the poor and their life situations, including health care. This new law because of how expensive it is would just make it more difficult for them to give to the poor, so the poor would suffer even more. Anyway, just how I see it. My 2c, and if I remember the exchange rate right, my 2c is less than yours. Peace.

  2. “Actually, the US already has universal health care. It is against the law for hospitals to refuse treatment, and the county hospitals is where most of the poor go.”

    That be quite a stretch from the meaning of the term universal healthcare. Just because everyone is treated doesn’t mean that it makes it in anyway universal. Class structures are always at work.

    “his new law because of how expensive it is would just make it more difficult for them to give to the poor, so the poor would suffer even more.”

    I don’t believe ye have read it at all. Ye can get a broad overview here and read the actual PDF of the Bill here. I like where yer coming from however, it be a welcome change as ye actually seem to care for the poor. However, I don’t believe an unregulated market would give to shits about the poor. In fact, as history serves us, we see the contrary. Think of the sugar cane farmers in the Caribbean at the turn of the last century. They shed their colonial slavery and walked right into economic slavery thanks to the imperial free market systems. I believe that one cannot be a capitalist and a Christian at the same time. Ye seem to be leaning this way with yer scrawling “creating a market system that will allow them good care at ever decreasing costs” and this would not be capitalism as that system is built off of keep wages and production costs low while keeping profits high thus the poor are trampled by the rich.

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  4. “Actually, the US already has universal health care. It is against the law for hospitals to refuse treatment, and the county hospitals is where most of the poor go.” (Steve)

    Are you 100% sure? There are lots of stories coming out from America of people being refused help, not recieving adequate help, or dying from a mix of the two. Once you create a system where the ‘poor’ go there and the people with ‘a little something something’ go over there – you broach an idea of inequality and services that border on respect for class systems. The stories I am hearing are revealing more about this aspect to the American health-care system and that has to change (it’s inequality).

    In Canada, rich and poor alike in the same city go to the same hospitals whether that is for cancer treatment or having children…no one is better than another in that system and there is no buying your way up. The bottom line goal is equality in patient care. I do question the integrity of a system with privatized health care and it’s concern for equality.

    “The way I see it, the problem with US health care is that the patient is not the customer; there is little free market involved” (Steve)

    But that seems to be the actual problem right now…too much free market and abuse of the system on the customer (as you point out). How is that you think more free market ideas are going to make things better? It’s like when you have a kitchen grease fire and someone throws water on it – and it makes it worse…do you keep throwing water and hope for the best? More of the problem is not going to solve a human rights issue (the free market is not about ethics).

    I think the argument seems sound Steve, but I live in a place with real universal health care run by the gov’t…and it does work. If the free market was allowed to take this system over – profits would occur – but at the end of the day the stocks of the health industry would matter more than a human life…because money defines the free market and profit is king. I think it is absolutely dangerous to push for such ideas of free market answers in regards to human rights issues (which I see healthcare as).

    I just think it’s a fear of the gov’t in America that scares people about actual universal health care. In fact Cuba has universal health care, a very poor country, and it works pretty good (so this aspect of socialism isn’t that bad). America has a long history of fear of their own gov’t – a deep-rooted and desperate mis-trust is what I would almost coin it as. Whether the issues is gun control, health care, education, religion, abortion, etc…the gov’t is always the enemy in some way.

    It’s quite skewed when the real enemy is actually sitting in all around your household in products…big business is slowly driving the creation of the West with it’s profit margins…it gets to define the food industry, pollution limits, plastics (now proving to be more dnagerous than first thought), global warming policies, job creation or job loss to other countries, etc. They are the one’s the drive the free market and they have proven in the past 10 years they also don’t mind ripping everyone off (ie: Enron, banks playing Wall Street, 3rd world country slavery, etc).

    Why is it you trust what seems like the obvious problem in society to clean up society – free market thinking – of which you have no vote or control over?

  5. Jason,

    The market isn’t free. It’s created, controlled and manipulated by government. Corporations are created by the state (corporate charter, state law, profit mandate, etc.) The recent US supreme court decision that corporations have “free speech” rights in lobbying politicians because they are “persons” show this. Corporations are persons, but without a soul. I don’t argue for free markets the same way conservatives do. To many of them, the free market means that corporations get to do what they want. My argument is that corporations are creations of the state that are mandated to make a profit first and foremost. The state that causes the problem in the first place is the same state that is called upon to fix it? This doesn’t make sense. In one sense, boths sides of the debate are wrong. Get the government out of the creation of corporations, and let a corporation exist for the profit mandate if and only if all parties involved agree to it, instead of being mandated by law.

    In a truly free market, profit isn’t king, but in a government created market it is king. I’ve never heard the Canadian system described in the terms you use, namely “equality,” where nobody gets to buy their way up. Why not? If I’m a billionaire (which I’m not), why shouldn’t I have the option to pay for better care? If I’m young and healthy with no dependents or offspring, why wouldn’t I get to decide to not get coverage at all? There’s an issue of freedom here in our system that is being warred against. Without freedom we’re all slaves.

    Okay, I know this is way more complicated than we have time to examine all of it. And I know you have a different look on things in Canada, with a different system of things to begin with. Here, I’m confident that what the politicians are doing will actually NOT benefit the poor very much, and will lower the level of care for all.

  6. The market isn’t free. It’s created, controlled and manipulated by government(Steve)

    Almost sounds like free will. All you need is to change the one who’s in charge(church).

  7. “Get the government out of the creation of corporations, and let a corporation exist for the profit mandate if and only if all parties involved agree to it, instead of being mandated by law” (Steve)

    Regardless, the corporation would have to be governed by ‘law’ – which is really all the gov’t is doing (governing the rules by which these corporations exist and thrive under). Gov’t really has little say in what a corporation does and sells (as long as it’s done within the laws of the land).

    Problem is corporations have no ‘soul’ as you mention and do not focus on ethics – this is not their concern. Business is for profit and profits had been booming (then y’all had this recession). Profits have caused big business to become a big problem – and it may be too late to ‘reel them in’.

    I see the obvious problem in American society are corporations, which governed by the law of the land, have found a loophole in escaping this…int’l business (new laws in new lands that aren’t against ideas like slavery, child labor, poor working conditions, low wages, etc). The exploitation of the worker may not be happening here anymore (actually lots of jobs have left this country) – but it’s happening and we might not see it.

    So to blame gov’t for any of the problems business is actually quite mis-strategizing where to start the chipping process of bring equality back to the common person. With gov;t you get to ‘vote’, ‘impeach’, ‘have accountability’, and ‘read the bills’ of what’s happening in those walls in the Capital. Try that same thing with business moguls, you’ll be laughed out of the room.

    Gov’t may seem like the problem, they just aren’t, they are a ‘public service’ and every American should be thanking God they have a system like they do.

  8. “In a truly free market, profit isn’t king, but in a government created market it is king” (Steve)

    In a truly free market (absolutely un-regulated and without gov’t intervention) what would be the focus exactly, if not profit? I am curious what you see in the free market that convinces you something other than profit is the focus of business?

    The only thing keeping these huge conglomerate, basically small countries, companies in check is the law. Without it – Microsoft would have run the board on computer systems (we would not have apple right nor…no Ipod). Also Microsoft would determine solely and alone what was good for you and not vice versa (since they would hold all the cards – no buying power). Complaints to law would be useless, there is no law to govern them by…whatever business decisions they make are final. Try break into the market with new computer programming and this multi-billion company would shut you down very quickly or just pay you off (by your product and incorporate it into their line of established products). USA has laws against this behavior (monopoly), thank God.

    I have 2 degree’s, one of them is worth noting here – Business with a Marketing background. I am not neccesarily speaking ‘off the cuff’ here when I speak on this topic. I have been keenly interested in the unethical behavior of business in the last 30 years (1980-2010) and what i can only term as the growth of a new super power – Corporation conglomerates – which for all intensive purposes – function as a monopoly. I almost thought of doing a master’s in this area…but I hate business so I dropped the idea.

  9. “Here, I’m confident that what the politicians are doing will actually NOT benefit the poor very much, and will lower the level of care for all” (Steve)

    32 million more people got the ability to access health care when this bill passed and that’s a huge step to recieving what I see as an essential human right (within the Western countries). Also people with pre-conditions to some disease can now not be denied health care based on the ‘insurance’ problem…that’s a nice step too.

    It’s those steps that I see as crucial for America to allow for people to access their rights to life. I don’t care if this costs America 30 trillion, for each life it saves I will stand and applaude America for choosing people over economics…and if not for faith – I would not make such claims…the right to life is an inherent Christian claim.

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