Our blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 1 second. If not, visit
http://www.stifffamily.com
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Going There

Yesterday I wrote and rewrote a post. I was so frustrated with the status updates on Facebook. One person calling someone else hateful and then spewing their own brand of hate. One person saying why can't we get along because I finally got my way. It boils down to everyone saying listen to me while not listening to the other person. The last straw came last night. Someone said (in the blogoshere but I've heard it on Facebook too) that you aren't a Christian if you aren't supporting this new health care bill. I hope my friend Karen appreciates that I am going to step up and speak out.

I actually read these words last night..."if you don't believe in government run health care, you aren't a Christian. I say your Jesus isn't my Jesus." This is where I will start...

My Jesus didn't bother himself with the government or political agendas. My Jesus spread the word of his father. It's a story of compassion and grace. He told people to give everything up and follow him. He didn't worry with the Roman government. He didn't even argue with the political agenda when he was being crucified on a cross. He worried about your everlasting salvation, not worldly governments.

Let me tell you why I don't agree with every point of this new bill. We are adults. As adults we make choices. I know people who live in nice big houses, have huge cell phone bills, cable television, go out to eat all the time, have big car payments (you see where I'm going... with the exception of car payments and cable bills, I could be describing myself) and then choose not to purchase health insurance. We are forced to buy car insurance by our government for the protection of others. Are we really such idiots that the government has to tell us to buy insurance for the protection of our families?

For those of you who say it's easy for me to say that, I have government run free health care I say not true. My family pays a huge price for our health care. A price that included Ray sitting in Fallujah during the worst of the start of the war while I was at home with 2 small children. Our price includes Ray being at the beck and call of our government to go anywhere and put his life in danger. Over the course of his military career at different times we sat down and discussed the pros and cons of our military life and whether it was time to move on. The truth is, health care always comes into play. We discuss how much it would cost us to get out and have thus far chosen to stay in. We don't pay out of pocket but I take issue with anyone calling my health care free.

Tricare is our insurance. I don't pay out of pocket except dental and then we would pay if we made choices outside of navy medicine. We have a very good deal as long as Ray is willing to serve our country. It's not without it's problems. There are long waits. It's sometimes difficult to find a group of doctors who will accept tricare because of payment caps. I have never had a problem with using navy medicine. I did have a bad experience with a reservist once upon a time who wasn't happy to be doing time in Iceland and his bedside manner was atrocious but that was just luck of the draw. So yes, we're blessed because we trust God and made a choice of a life of service.

Here's the thing. Defense Secretary Gates has said that this bill will in no way effect the services of the tricare health system. I can't imagine how I won't continue to have even longer waits. See, we get farmed out because of budget cuts to civilian doctors much of the time. These civilian doctors may be even less inclined to accept tricare because of caps. I know other retirees who use tricare for life as a secondary insurance instead of a primary insurance because in certain parts of the country it's even more difficult to get appointments. If Ray gets out, even due to retirement, we'll most likely be paying into a secondary form of insurance. We'll make the choice to put that into our budget. You know, because we're grown ups who want to take care of our family.

Don't get mad. I know insurance is expensive. Let me give you another personal story. My father had a hereditary condition that made his cholesterol levels high. My brother is blessed with the same problem. When I was in high school, my dad lost his job. He had a stroke, a massive heart attack and by pass surgery around that time. He jumped from job to job and was self employed. Even on very expensive medication to lower his cholesterol it ranged in the high 300s. My brother's I believe has been known to hit the 500s. Tye and I were tested all our lives. We've always know from the time that Tye was a boy that his cholesterol was dangerously high. Try to get good, cheap insurance with that preexisting condition. You can't. I watched my parents struggle to pay bills, sometimes on one income. The hospital bills, the insurance bills, all around the time their children were graduating from high school and going to college and getting married. It was tough. Choices had to be made. We went without sometimes. Never without food but I wasn't always going to get that new pair of jeans or other things I that I desperately wanted as a teenager. They found a way to make choices and make it work.

Another reason I'm not for socialist type health care... experience. Have you lived in another country that had free health care? I have. Imagine being in a foreign country pregnant with your first child. You have an American clinic at your disposal capable of amazing things but not all the care you might need. Your tests come back abnormal. The OBGYN on the base isn't allowed to conduct amnios. They recommend that you have one "out in town." The odds of a miscarriage in the United States were 1 in 400. In Iceland, the odds were closer to 1 in 100. It was more likely that we would hurt Arleigh than the odds that she had down syndrome. I said no amnio. The next step was a high level ultra sound. We had to wait forever for our appointment. When we went, we were berated for coming in so far into the pregnancy. You see, it was far too late for an abortion. I cried for a month after seeing that doctor. Literally.

My next pregnancy I was very, very sick with preeclampsia. It's a bloody wonder I ever got enough courage to have Bria. Hanan was coming early. After my trip in town and the other horror stories I had heard, I was determined to have Hanan on base. The maternity ward in Iceland included a very large room, lined with beds. If you went into labor naturally or were even to be induced, you were stripped down and placed on a bed in a room with several other laboring women until it was time for a c-section. Very convenient for the doctors very demoralizing for you. That is just my personal experience. I'm sure there were nice, fine doctors just like the other very sweet Icelandic people I knew but their value of life was different and treatment you received was not the same as here in the United States. That's probably why so many people were sent back to the states for treatment.

I am not cold and heartless. I think people should have access to good health care at a fair price. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't pay your hospital bills, we have a back up plan in place medicare/medicaid. I think even with a preexisting condition, you should have access to insurance. I think reform is necessary, but this bill has gone too far. I have heard stories of people with huge hospital bills and huge insurance bills. I don't want it to be like that. I do think there are some things that need to change but we need to consider our track record at government run enterprises. Post office anyone?

Have you been to a true Indian reservation? I think that is another clear example of how when a government steps in to run everything and provide you with everything it doesn't work. There is a high rate of alcoholism and unemployment. If everything is given to you, you lose motivation.

I know this is getting long. I understand people are struggling. In fact, I firmly believe right now that people from every tax bracket are having to buckle down and consider their budgets. Our country is in trouble. We are under attack from all sides. Our deficit is huge.

The last thing I'll say is personal. We are going to adopt a child with medical needs. Hopefully, not life long needs, but needs. We talked about this long before this health care bill and made the decision to proceed knowing it could cost us. That's life. It has costs.

You know by now that I am very, interested in orphan care. If you find yourself with time, read this. Doctors from the United States are going to Haiti to help. They are paying their own way. Do you think they could do that if they didn't make the money they make now? Let me ask another way. Do you think they would be motivated to help without their current income?

These are just some things to think about. Let's talk about this. Just please be kind in your comments.

7 comments:

bluedotmom said...

I have seen the same type of comments on fb, but saying you were not a christian if you were for the healthcare bill.

I don't know what the answer is...I think you hit the nail on the head with we have to make choices. I know people personally who choose not to have health insurance. These people end up not paying their bills at hospitals and doctor offices and this increases our(those with insurance) costs. Physicians are also paying out so much on malpractice insurance. With these caps and the high cost of malpractice insurance physicians will leave the profession and there will not be as many people willing to serve in this field because of these problems.

I think overall there needs to be some intervention, however I am not sure that the healthcare bill is the right way. I just pray that we as American's can come together and actually listen to each other and compromise.

I liked your comments..thanks for sharing. I am sure you were nervous about angry comments, I would have been!

Alyssa said...

Well written post! Thank you

Dustmite said...

I heard a caller the other day discussing this on a talk show. What she said was actually very thought provoking and something that typically has been over looked.

Basically she pointed out that Christ called on us to take the responsibility to help those in need. He never said give unto caesar so caesar can take care of those in need. The responsibility is still ours and the churches. Giving to the government that which is the governments does not relieve us from answering Christs calling.

Obamacare is in no way tied to good christianity. If anything it undermines the freedom that God blessed us with and will undermine that financial infrastructure that has made it possible to reach out and help many people physically and spiritually both in America and out side of America.

The Driskells said...

Great post and great comments. I enjoyed reading it all. Don't know that I have much to add to the conversation. Right now I don't know what is best for us as far as health care is concerned. I just keep praying that God will work, through it, despite it, however!

Karen Luttrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Luttrell said...

Haha! You know I appreciate it when you speak out! And I totally understand Facebook frustrations. I'm about to give it up altogether.

I heard a lot of those on the Christian Left supporting Obamacare using the "least of these" argument or "healthcare is a human right." The big problem I have for that point of view is that you can't argue for legislation in a secular nation based on a religious argument. Think Jesus was a socialist? Well, so was Hitler. We can't justify gov't-run healthcare as more Christ-like than the current system, because not everyone in America is Christian. Instead, we must agree to debate based on a consensus document. In the US, it is not the Bible, but the Constitution. The Christian Left lobbies for liberal issues like amnesty, the public option, and social justice the same way the Christian Right does with prayer in public schools, pro-life support, and pro- marriage issues. Both sides have become special interest groups.

I think the big consideration in this healthcare bill is that it doesn't address the real needs and loads more debt onto our kids. The most distressing issue is the individual mandate to purchase insurance, but the larger picture is the increased concentration of power to a smaller group of people - gov't bureacrats. The gov't has created a host of entitlements and none cost what was projected; they cost more. When the federal gov't is granted more power and control over our earnings, we have less say in decisions that affect us as citizens. 50 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare is paid by the federal gov't. It comes down to if one supports paternalism or not. A person must ask herself what is the role of the federal gov't? Are we a nation with a federal government or a federal gov't with a nation?

The majority in Congress and the president crafted deals with Big Pharma and the Insurance industry to get it passed, who have deep pockets to get their way. It doesn't sufficiently address Medicare fraud or tort reform. It didn't address the scarcity of primary care docs and the inevitable rationing of care. It leaves the states in a pinch, since they have to carry a lot of the costs. It guarantees increased taxes and a resulting lower standard of living for future generations.

Since it has passed, the only alternative is to pick things that might work and just defund the rest.

Navylangs said...

Brandi - you have a talent of taking all the mumbo jumbo running around in my head and putting it into perfectly written words.

There are so many flaws with this plan, I honestly can't believe it passed. Guam and all the other US Territories are in even muddier waters now.
I know I'm in denial when I think that simple common sense will prevail. Unfortunately I think Karen is right - Big Pharma is the winner with this one.

Post a Comment