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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/8/09

Religion, American Politics and Health Care - a New Day?

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I have been paying close attention to the role of the Religious Right in politics for over 10 years . I know a little of its history and so I find nothing unusual in having front groups like The Family Research Council and CRAVE (Christians Reviving America's Values) decide that opposing Health Care for all is somehow a family values issue upon which they can pass Biblical judgment. But the fountain of illogic which spews from these sources still takes my breath away:

America Cannot Afford Health Care
[the group's president, Don Swarthout is speaking:] What have the uninsured people been doing for health care all of these years? The answer is simple. They have been going to Emergency Rooms to be treated because our laws and the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors say that they must be treated. . . .
Let's remember that hospitals are in business to make money. They cannot continue to stay in business unless somebody, you and I, pay for those who cannot pay for themselves. So the hospitals figure the cost of treating the uninsured into the costs of treating responsible people who can pay. Therefore, you and I are ALREADY paying for people who cannot pay for themselves.
Now the Government wants to run our Health Care Program. Never mind the fact that the Government has stolen our Social Security money and has replaced it with worthless IOU's. The government is broke and cannot pay us back what they stole from us in the form of Social Security money. Of course the government does not say anything about that fact. Besides we already have a $12,000,000,000 dollar deficit. Swarthout concluded, "Health Care for everyone would be nice...if we could afford it. However, for America Health Care is just another good idea that we cannot afford."

Let's see, we can't have Healthcare because we can't afford it. Well given this analysis , I think any rational person would beg to differ:

Health Insurance Costs,

By several measures, health care spending continues to rise at a rapid rate and forcing businesses and families to cut back on operations and household expenses respectively.

In 2008, total national health expenditures were expected to rise 6.9 percent -- two times the rate of inflation.1 Total spending was $2.4 TRILLION in 2007, or $7900 per person1. Total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4.3 TRILLION in 2017, or 20 percent of GDP.1

In 2008, employer health insurance premiums increased by 5.0 percent two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700.2

Experts agree that our health care system is riddled with inefficiencies, excessive administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, and inappropriate care, waste and fraud. These problems significantly increase the cost of medical care and health insurance for employers and workers and affect the security of families.

But, wait a minute, why am I reading economic analysis from a group that wants to restore "Christian values" to American life?
Are they not followers of the guy who said this?

'Come you blessed of My Father inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Matthew 25:36

Maybe they got the Colbert Report translation , you know it goes something like this:

for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you told me to Get a Job....;

I have always been both offended and in awe of the Religious Right. The size and power of these guys was pretty impressive in their day, if you forgot little things like their hypocrisy and their slavish and financially rewarding collaboration with Republican fat cats. But the last election seems to have been the tipping point for the unholy forces that held this coalition together. It ripped the veil from perhaps one of the biggest cons of American political life. As reported here:

Christine Wicker: The Great Evangelical Decline

What Baptist leaders have known for years is finally public: The Southern Baptist Convention is a denomination in decline. Half of the SBC's 43,000 churches will have shut their doors by 2030 if current trends continue.

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I am a married , 59 year old teacher. More than anything else , this I think teaching defines me.. I have been teaching for 41 years and I intend to continue doing so until I die. Working with adolescents is both my profession and my joy. I love the (more...)
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