Appreciate the clarification on the standard Chris…
I was thinking yesterday after my post here. We were using the terms “socialistic” and “democratic”. The reality is that those two points, however you define them are points on the same scale. Degrees of corporation or collective function. Presumably, at one extreme end of the scale you have pure capitalism/greed/looking-out-for-number one. at the extreme opposite end you have some star trek commune where no one owns anything of themselves.
The political history of the world has pitted those two points against each other and has defined them for us as being two completely different things. Even though the ends of the scale are mutually exclusive, It really isn’t one or the other. It’s a matter of degree, the comfort of which is often defined culturally, familially etc…as has been mentioned.
Jeff says he doesn’t believe in insurance companies…I say Amen. My experience with them here in our context has been just getting ripped off. I remember that Alabama was the last state in the union to have mandatory auto insurance. Most of us in my family were grown before the laws went into affect. We never had it until we were forced to. My dad calculated one time what it cost him for all the wrecks he had to pay for through his whole driving life and all of his children and wife before the law was passed and after. The equation was extremely lop-sided. Insurance cost him way more than paying his own way.
The other side of that I suppose is the fact that there was never any serious high-cost damage. Like someone getting really seriously hurt. I mean like living in a coma for months or years.
The problem is that with most insurance policies in those kinds of situations, you’re pretty much bankrupt and mortgaged before the insurance starts to pay anyway. Tends to make paying for the insurance worthless.
So Gary, I agree, we here in the states are getting ripped off wholesale. But a little known fact among many is that actual doctor bills don’t cost those of us without insurance the same as what insured people get billed. The reality is that uninsured people, who can pay a lump sum cash payment, can negotiate with the hospital or doctor on an individual basis and often reduce the bill by as much as 70%. We have done this many times as a community minded church group. Start out with a huge $200,000. bill and go talk to the billing dept and find out what they are willing to take in cash. Usually they will take much less. I had a friend driving a horse over a bridge. The horse spooked and jumped off the bridge throwing him face first into a rock 40 feet down. Life flight, many surgeries. Long hospital stay. Everyone who worked got paid a reasonable wage, no one went into debt, Everyone got the help they needed. The community stepped up and helped pay off the $60,000 bill. That’s what the hospital and other providers said they actually needed to make money. Which means they don’t have to make the money they are raking in now.
The point is that it’s not just this way or that way. There are other options. Other ways of functioning corporately, and taking care of each other without the money having to be filtered through the corporate insurance company or the government. Not wanting to send our money to the government or the corporation for redistribution does not make us less willing to bear one another’s burden. In fact, I would say that as a Christian, that’s a primary calling. We just don’t think that governments and other bureaucracies tend to make things more efficient.
Gary mentions loss of choice/taxation/ whether healthcare is a social obligation…This country has been fighting that battle for nearly its entire existence. The idea of whether or not it is the role of government to redistribute the wealth. Gary, your stated premise is not a forgone conclusion in this society. Many people here don’t necessarily feel it is their obligation to pay for the healthcare of everyone else. Especially when they are not going to get the right to tell the person they are paying for to stay out of the buffet line or to quit smoking or to quit having physical relations with people they shouldn’t etc…Then you get into bigger issues like abortion etc… We even fought a big big war with ourselves over that one.
I believe that God ordained certain obvious laws. One is that gravity pulls things with mass toward the center of the earth. Another is that Responsibility and Authority go hand in had. You can’t have one without the other if you want things to work out right…So, The whole idea of socialized medicine is in question. Not only from a practical “does-it-work-stand point” but from a “is-it-ethical stand point”. I think that’s the point Steve is getting at.
I love the quote about the Ethiopian. I agree with it. A poor man shames us all. To that end we should give of ourselves to better everyone…where it is possible.
Steve is right saying we should live local, sustainable, moral…I would add responsibly to that list. Problem is, there will always be those who refuse to do so. And those, ultimately, have to be allowed to bear the consequences of their actions. SO not every poor man shames us all. Only those poor men who I could have helped but didn’t. Who falls into which category? Well, those are decisions we each have to make every day. Personally I try to use the Bible as a guide to answer to them. You use the premise that medical care is a social obligation. Others use something else. And that determines the degree to which we are willing to engage int the socialized medicine schemes…etc…
The same idea plays into education and many other areas. We have had in this country a notion that seems ludicrous to me. “No child left behind”. Sounds great on the surface. It sounds like we care a lot about our children. But when you get right down to the numbers, some children aren’t going to do what they need to do to keep up. And in such cases, it must needs be that someone get left behind. Or else everyone stops and waits for someone who isn’t planning on going along anyway. And so the average falls. Mediocrity is elevated and people graduate from high school that literally can’t write their name or make change. God did not make all men equal in everything.
I was thinking yesterday about my paradigm and how much of my “cultural” understanding is born in propaganda or not. I agree that cold war era John Wayne movies tended to make us Americans a little less than a “thinking” people at times. But objectively looking at it. At least as objectively as my limited education on the matter will allow…It seems to me that there is a reason why the USSR no longer exists, why China has only prospered to the extent it has by moving on the spectrum away from "socialism: toward free markets, why North Korea is in the shape it’s in, why Venezuela and Bolivia are worse off with their socialism than Ecuador with its free market system. Why Cubans have been getting into refrigerators and trying to float across the Florida straights for 50 years to get to this country. What happened to Yugoslavia. Did their more socialistic system feed into their demise? Russia? etc.?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I am not a hard core “patriot” so to speak. I am a Christian, and I believe God cares about all of us, and therefore so do I. But why do these systems seem to fail so often if they’re not inferior. ??? Like I said, I don’t claim to know enough info about all that to really know why. In fact, I doubt anyone does.
Anyway, The rain has held off for now. Maybe we can get this roof on before it returns.