Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Discussion on healthcare

Unfortunately, Bono was right about the way things are for many Americans these days, when he sang, “The rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor.”


I don’t think it is the state’s job to help anyone. They are to prevent harm, to protect rights, and to enforce contracts. But not help the needy. That is the unique and exclusive responsibility of the church.
Is a direct benefit better than an indirect benefit? Necessarily?
I am against regulation and oversight because I am against the existence of a pagan institution holding the authority to oversee or regulate, and I see no reason to believe why such a regulatory institution would have incentives more correctly aligned with consumers than insurers Insurance companies face more immediate feedback from consumers than regulatory agencies do, and have incentives to lower costs and make processes more efficient, while regulatory agencies have incentive for spending and expanding their budgets.
Unfortunately, Bono is wrong, because only a very small percentage of the poor remain poor for a significant length of time in relatively free economies. Everywhere we find poverty we will also find privileged individuals protecting their privilege.
Nathanael Snow

Bono’s not wrong. Although in that song (”Crumbs Under the Table”) he was specifically speaking of developing countries, the quote could just as well have been talking about the U.S.

I work among homeless folks. About one tenth of all people in the US are under the poverty line. And about one tenth of those folks will spend time on the street each year. Many of them spend all of there time there. And of those who are on the street, 55% have no kind of health insurance, as opposed to 15% of the rest of the population. I have personally seen two people die because they were given serious hospital care and then released to go back and live on the street or in a shelter.

“Free” economies have their scapegoats. The way of the world is that if someone is to have success and health then someone else must do without.

May the kingdom come.

Steve K

“Opening the free market I highly doubt will fix this, since a free, open market in every other sector has led to monopoly and higher costs.”

The free market tends to lower prices. Governmental intrusion almost always raises it.

Every working American in this country owes the Federal Government $405,000 dollars. The country is 9 TRILLION dollars in debt. Who is going to pay for this “universal health care”?

“About one tenth of all people in the US are under the poverty line.”

What is poverty? People in third world countries build boats out of tires to become this nation’s poor. No one starves to death in America.

(Almost) no one starves to death in America, it is true.

But when people are treated as less than human because of the economic disparity, is that not poverty?

Amartya Sen, a Nobel-prize winning economist, said, “Poverty is primarily sociological, not economic.” In other words, when people outcast you because of your economic lack, that is what poverty is.

There are more ways to die than simply starvation.

A homeless man I was aquainted with was constantly being stopped by the police and harrased. He hated these stops to such a degree that he often reponded dramatically to them and so the stops increased. Finally, he made a general announcment, “The next time the police harass me, I will kill myself.” Which is exactly what he did.

But the story doesn’t end there. A few folks on the street knew that his body was in his old camp, but were afraid to contact the police, so they let the body stay. Soon a couple of housed men heard about the body, so they found the camp and pulled the old man’s teeth so they could sell the fillings. They were so pleased with this that they filmed themselves abusing this man’s body, and showed it to everyone who came over to their house.

Finally a homeless man couldn’t stand the disrespect the old man was receiving and so he came to me, knowing that I would have no fear of calling the police. By the time I found the body and called 911 about it, the man had been in his camp for six months, through the summer heat and his arm looked like an overripe banana and the flesh of his face had been chewed off by animals.

There is more than one way to be poor.

Isn’t it poor to have a hospital reject you for treatment because they suspect (without proof) that you are a drug addict or an alcoholic?

Isn’t it poor to have frostbite on your feet because you won’t be treated for your oxygen deprivation in freezing temperatures?

Isn’t it poor to be stopped by the police every time you are in city limits, no because you do or do not have a house, but simply because you look homeless?

Isn’t it poor to stand for your religious convictions and immediately be taken away from your church and all of your friends for six months while you are committed to a state hospital in a trial with no witnesses, no evidence presented?

Isn’t it poor to have to beg for gas or food, only to be treated that you are a criminal?

This and so much more is what my friends on the street face. I could go on. And probably will somewhere else.

But the point I am making is that this is what the people under the poverty line are in danger of– one paycheck, one firing away of. And this is what the homeless face everyday.

So, please, don’t tell me that there is no poverty in America or that conditions aren’t that bad. If there was somewhere for my folks to go, they would collect tires to make boats.

Steve K

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