Health Insurance and Religion

This post today is about religion in a different sense. As humans we’re all children of Mother Earth. We only have each other in this vast, quiet universe.

I have healthcare. Many of you do. There are some who read this, though, who do not. It’s not our indigent—no, they are covered by Medicaid. It’s many of the folks who are struggling to make a living but are not offered benefits such as health insurance.

Imagine if you are ill or injured, and you cannot go to your family doctor because a single visit will set you back for months. Imagine if you have children to support. Imagine if you have to go to work, even when you are sick. There are millions of people in this situation, especially in these states.

I wrote this column to bring awareness to the topic. Please consider writing your state leaders and asking them to accept Medicaid expansion for the working Americans who are caught in the doughnut hole.

Whether we identify as a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu or a non-theist, our religion should be compassion.

If you live in Texas, please consider signing this MoveOn.org petition. If you live in another state that has not expanded Medicaid, Google your state’s name and MoveOn.org. There is probably a petition out there.

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9 responses to “Health Insurance and Religion

  1. Debbie, just read your article. So superbly articulate and logical, as usual:) Loved the part about shooting themselves in the foot.
    My brother and his wife have insurance (they live in Oklahoma) but when I learned my brother had cancer, the first thought I had — I know this sounds terrible but it’s true — was how my sister-in-law could protect their house. Because this is the America we live in: most bankruptcies are by people who are drowning in medical bills. Even with insurance, the co-pays and out of pocket medical expenses and “balance due” are adding up to thousands of dollars. They recently refinanced their house to lower payments, so they can start paying down the medical bills.

  2. Trishia. I know that happens all the time, but that is so. not. right. You get sick and you jeopardize your home and your retirement? As one medical professional told me recently, we should not profit from other’s illnesses and accidents. I’m really sorry that your brother not only has to suffer with cancer, he has to worry about his future, too.

  3. Patti O'Sullivan

    Trishia, I love how you raised the issue of medical bankruptcy. It is a common occurrence in the U.S., but gets little attention compared to the narrative that people who lose their homes are irresponsible (living beyond their means) or laid off. What we seem to be unwilling to admit in this country (thanks to Calvinism’s teaching that God’s blessings benefit the good) is that you can do everything ‘right’ and still find yourself in a financial mess.

  4. As a Canadian with many American family members, I sadly shake my head at this regrettable and entirely avoidable state of affairs where I get world class health care only because of the geography of my birth. My doctors and specialists direct my care and the care of my Canadian family living in many different provinces by best practices and not either on the personal ability to pay or on the say of some faceless, nameless insurance company agent more concerned about costs than efficacious treatment. Medical bankruptcy is only an issue for those who seek expensive treatment outside of the ‘system’ (usually related to uninsured and very expensive drug treatments)… a very rare occurrence but one guaranteed to provoke more calls for a truly ‘universal’ and publicly funded system for healthcare coverage. Why so many Americans are convinced such ‘socialism’ is somehow terrible (can you imagine trying to run a for-profit military or a for-profit fire department? Duh…) is a truly one of those Great Mysteries.

    • deborah mitchell

      @tildeb Completely agree with you. The funny thing is that you’ll often hear people using Canada or “someone they know who lives there” as a reason why we should not have a single-payer system. (And we don’t.) Instead, we let insurance companies make tons of money off our poor health. I think we need a mental health check! 😉

  5. Totally agree with tildeb, I’m originally from Germany where everyone has health insurance and you are free to choose any doctor you like. Insurance is not linked to your job, it follows you, even when you are unemployed or a student. Monthly fees are a percentage of your income and for very high earners there is the option of private insurance, where you might be able to see the hospital chief more often and get a private room, otherwise the health care is not any “better”. I’ve often wondered about the “fear of socialism” connection here in the States, Seems like this is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but we think we shouldn’t get sick, you can only get sick when you have a good job with benefits, but then what if you loose your job because of illness, makes little sense to me.
    Obamacare is a good start, but I think universal healthcare would be an improvement. We are one of the very few countries where healthcare is a for-profit business. I am a Nurse Practitioner for Women’s Health here in the States and have seen a lot of people struggle because of health issues,… Medical bankruptcy is a threat for all of us…

  6. deborah mitchell

    @Simone Cox What you wrote here is really important: “Insurance is not linked to your job, it follows you, even when you are unemployed or a student.” Oftentimes, people are tied to their jobs because of insurance.

    As a student, I remember that I could not afford health insurance but I was so afraid of getting into an accident or something and having no insurance, so I just bought the catastrophic policy.

    Also, it’s very expensive to have babies, as you know….I agree universal healthcare would be a better option….Too bad the citizens can’t all vote on this.

  7. The US is the only western country without universal health care. It is also the only western country where religion is still a big deal. Is there a causal affect here and if (big if) so which is the independent variable? Does increased religiosity cause people to not want universal health care or does the lack of universal health care worry people and help keep the religion levels high? Or is there no relation at all between the two.

    • deborah mitchell

      Hi Keith–I don’t have the answers, but I think people are very influenced by the media. So, rather than think through the issues, they’re spoon fed what a handful of people think. Obamacare is bad. Our seniors will be killed. It’ll be too expensive for the country. We won’t be able to use our family doctors. yada yada. Fox News.

      I would definitely say there is a relation, though. Tobler’s Law: “”Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” I think religion encourages narcissism and self-centeredness, not empathy. “God has a perfect plan for me. I am special. God is watching me.” We can afford to think these things because we live in a first-world country. We have so many individual liberties and so much in terms of food, shelter and energy. Life is much better here than in many other places. But this good fortune and the focus on the self is at the cost of what is good for the group.

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