Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another,
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.”
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’ –Matthew 11:16-19
“WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US.”—Pogo*
As true as Pogo’s wisdom may be, it is really hard to accept. If we want to know what is wrong with our government, for example, we need only look in the mirror. We can’t have the best of all worlds or as Jesus put it ‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Matthew 6:24)
Health care represents one-sixth of the USA economy. The U.S. spent 17.1 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care in 2013. This was almost 50 percent more than the next-highest spender (France, 11.6% of GDP) and almost double what was spent in the U.K. (8.8%). U.S. spending per person was equivalent to $9,086 (not adjusted for inflation).** Some of our people are not getting any health care at all. Those other nations have some form of universal coverage providing accessible, affordable healthcare for all their citizens.
The word no one uses when addressing the problems of our failure to have accessible, affordable health care is profit. Profit is the leading contender for causing the higher cost of health care in the USA. Even the Affordable Care Act could not escape the tentacles of profit. ACA requires insurance companies to spend 80% of their premiums on health care resulting in a 20% allowance for insurance companies to cover their costs of providing coverage. Administrative costs for the Medicare program is somewhere around 2 or 3%***.
These administrative costs are just the start of profit’s influence of the cost of health care. For-Profit businesses provide much of our health care, including pharmaceuticals. The irony of this dilemma is profit making companies benefit the most from a healthy workforce that is why 80% of them provide insurance for their employees.
Of course, everything I have said above is refuted by some think tank or another. We do not know who to believe. I do know we are offspring of a loving God who wants the very best for us. The plumb line by which we evaluate our choices must be God’s love and concern for all God’s children. Changing our trajectory as a people starts with us.
Prayer: Lord, hang your plumb line of love next to every consideration we make and make sure we see it. Amen.