American Values: The Individual Mandate vs. Social Darwinism
By Michael D. Peabody -
Many conservatives have eviscerated Obamacare
Few conservatives know that The Heritage Foundation formerly promoted the individual mandate in order to more properly spread the costs of providing care for the uninsured. In 1991, Stuart Buttler, PhD gave a lecture for The Heritage Foundation (available here: http://s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/1991/pdf/hl298.pdf ) describing how his proposal at the time would work:
In 2012, The Heritage Foundation still reports that every year, Americans spend $2.6 trillion on health care which is 17% of the gross domestic product. It is highly regulated and the U.S. government pays half of this amount through Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and state and public health care programs.
At the same time, the majority of middle class Americans are only one catastrophic health event away from personal bankruptcy. When our daughter was born seven weeks premature we thanked God every day that we had adequate health insurance to cover the six figure medical bill that quickly accumulated through a multi-week stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We were thankful that we had not recently joined the ranks of the unemployed like so many of our neighbors in our turbulent economy. We were the lucky ones and Sophia did not have to worry about anything except getting big and strong so that she could come home with us. We had the kind of safety net that millions of working Americans could only dream about.
argues that the Obama administration could have avoided that fight altogether by a variety of means, including finding other ways to distribute contraceptive care without compelling the Church to do so.
Because Ronald Reagan signed the law requiring hospitals to provide emergency treatment for those unable to pay, today, if you do not have insurance and are in an emergency position you can walk into a hospital and receive medical care. The hospital will then send you a bill. If you’re like most Americans, you probably could not financially survive the cost of even a day or two in the hospital. So the government reimburses the hospitals for this treatment using tax dollars, or the hospital simply does not get paid. This situation cannot continue indefinitely.
Most opposed to government spending on insurance are also unwilling to stomach the social Darwinist response that those unable to pay should simply be left to die. So they provide for emergency treatment at tax-payer expense even when it costs many times more than ongoing preventative care that actual health insurance would provide.
But with a sinking economy this limited generosity has been slowly eroding. Over the last few years the tenor of debate in America has soured and the nation has become increasingly divided. Social Darwinism may be on the table. Last September, during a debate sponsored by CNN, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Congressman Ron Paul about what he would do with an uninsured 30-year old who had suffered a catastrophic injury. Paul initially tried to duck the question. Blitzer then asked him the direct question, “But, Congressman, are you saying the society should just let him die?” The Tea Party members of the crowd erupted with “Yeah!”
The idea that victims of circumstance should be left to their fate has never been a legitimate Christian concept. Consequences of death and poverty are not the great instructor. Rather, those who take their Christian faith seriously should see in themselves an extension of the non-discriminatory and positive healing mission of Christ.
Rather than engaging in popular partisanship which will delay things for generations, I believe there is a place for Christians to stand up and support life-affirming and enhancing health care reform in America.
Is Obamacare perfect? Absolutely not. But is major systemic reform needed? Absolutely.
Rescue the perishing;
don’t hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,”
will that get you off the hook?
Someone not impressed with weak excuses.
Proverbs 24:11–12 — The Message (MSG)