We represent the Kingdom of God.
Christians have never before been more visible. Our stories are everywhere. Your account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google + is showcasing a face of the Kingdom of God. We need to walk worthy of that calling.
This week, there was an explosion of dialogue online about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
Much of what I saw posted on Facebook about the law was in point of fact – false. People made assertions and claims that had more to do with fear than with reality. In the process, they were sharing and resharing lies. Their words weren’t the truth. Lies of course spread much faster than truth.
The truth is not very popular and it’s hard to contain in 140 Characters.
As Christians we claim to know about Truth. We know truth is rarely convenient. It isn’t normally not very popular. We can also conclude that the truth can normally not be contained in 140 characters or in a two-sentence status update. This is particularly the case when we are addressing major political issues.
Know that when you engage in the public square, whether that’s through social media or in real life, people are watching you. You are a representative of the Kingdom of God and how you interact with others reflects the Father.
Admittedly, I engaged in the conversation about the Affordable Care Act half-cocked and intentionally vague. I asked a lot of questions, but felt like in order to be honest, to represent the truth, I had to be authentic about my position. There were so many alarmist and false statements coming from people in the Kingdom of God that I also felt the need to provide a detailed, humble and balanced assessment. This won’t spread very fast on social media, but I hope it served to kill off a few lies.
Below is my post from Facebook. The following link was attached to the post: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/05/16/gvse0520.htm
May it be food for thought before you pound out your next status update…
I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently about the ACA (aka Obamacare). The most challenging aspect of the bill to me isn’t the bill itself, but the underlying assumption that all Americans deserve quality medical care regardless oftheir ability to pay for it.
This makes healthcare unlike any other market. Not everyone deserves to drive a car or own a home. Not everyone deserves to eat at a fine dining restaurant or own an ipad. If you can’t pay, you don’t play.
Healthcare is different. As a society (and by law) we have mandated that if someone shows up at a emergency room, they receive care, regardless of whether or not they have insurance or have the money to pay for the services rendered.
“In 2008, hospitals had 2.1 million hospitalizations of uninsured people. About 1.2 million, or 58%, ended up with hospital bills in excess of $10,000. Hospitalizations with costs of more than $100,000 accounted for 6% of uninsured hospital stays.”
Furthermore, uninsured families cannot pay hospital bills 95% of the time, racking up over $60 Billion in uncompensated medical costs. These costs are shifted to people paying for insurance, about $350 per person. This isn’t “fair”.
So, there is already a mandate, pre-obamacare, that we (those insured) pay for the medical care of others. We are taxed every year, already, just not by the Federal Government.
The goal of the ACA is to expand healthcare to more people, reduce uninsured medical care and provide broader access to preventative medical care that will reduce the need for as much costly, emergency care. It will require more people to pay to play.
If as a society we continue to agree it is fair that all Americans receive medical care regardless of our ability to pay, then this bill may help close the gaps in costs and care, while holding more people accountable to bear the burden of medical costs. We are all in this together.
My hope is that this bill will reduce healthcare costs by bringing more people into the insured-payer pool and providing greater access to preventative care. If it fails to do so, then we need to think about a new direction.
That new direction may be that we turn people away who can’t pay for healthcare just like we would someone who showed up trying to buy a car with no money and poor credit history. However, the thought of having that conversation with someone in my family seems perverse.
Sorry for the long post, but since I’ve made so many comments and status updates about this I thought I owed it to you all to share my “position”. There are of course a lot of uncertainties, so I’m going to wait and see to pass judgment on the new law.
I wish there was more in the law regarding preventative medicine and care. Much of what ails us as Americans is “preventable” (i.e. obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) I’m not so sure primary care physicians are equipped to inspire positive personal healthcare choices, but we’ll save that topic for another day.