Healthcare reform: an issue of heart


The political climate surrounding the issue of healthcare reform which has been charged for some time, seems to be reaching a climax in the United States. Reading and hearing the opinions voiced (sometimes shouted) by others one thing becomes apparent. (1) We all agree that the system is less than ideal. However, I have also found it troubling that everyone is concerned about what the government should do. Interestingly both sides leverage the same religious principles and ideals to justify opposing positions. The argument is that if we love our neighbor as our loftiest religious ideals describe, we would support one form of government healthcare reform or another. And herein lies the problem. Instead of taking responsibility for loving our neighbor, for giving to the poor, and to caring for the sick at the personal level regardless of the healthcare laws, we push the responsibility of loving onto the government.

Interestingly, neither group seems to be seeking out ways to give. The government is not the only way to give. Neutral analysis shows very clearly that the government programs are not the most efficient ways to be charitable. The government simply has the power to do what other charities cannot- force people to give*. What we need is not a revamping of a government program forcing people to give, but rather a change in how people see others and how willing they are to give. If members from both sides of the spectrum spent their time trying to figure out how to give more of their money away more effectively, healthcare reform would not be a problem. But instead members from both sides hold signs, give speeches, sign petitions, and make posts on social media about their political cause.

Charities have rapidly realized that the best way to get people to give is not by giving impressive statistics but by sharing personal stories. When we push all of our charitable work onto the government, we lose any personal story and see only statistics. When we engage with one another, when we let our needs be known and get to know other’s needs, that is when we are most charitable and affect the greatest change. Dollar for dollar and hour for hour it would be far more effective to fund every gofundme healthcare page or fund the private charities than to fund large healthcare programs with high overheads and little good will towards those they help. But the problem is us. The problem is you. The problem is me. We don’t give willingly, and rarely generously. Instead, we need to be forced to give. So we resort to large programs, with high overheads, and political battles that cause little change. It is our hearts, not the programs, that need rewriting.

If you believe that the affordable care act should be rejected and rewritten you have a responsibility to give to the sick, to feed the poor, to help the needy because that is not the government’s job anymore; it’s your job. It’s my job. If you believe that the affordable care act should be kept or expanded you have a responsibility to the sick, to feed the poor, to help the needy because the government cannot take care of all the hurt in the world. If you believe that money should be redistributed to the neediest, start now, there is no need to wait for a government mandate. Love now, give now. This is your job. It’s my job. Only when we love, when we care, when we give at the personal level, seeking out opportunities to give generously instead of waiting to be forced to give by an inefficient government program, can any real change happen.

* and borrow large amounts of money without a plan to repay-but we will save that topic for another time

Published by JR Stanley

I am an MD, PhD student, training to be a physician scientist, with a deep interest in science, faith, and living life as an adventure. Join me as I entertain ideas from new findings in science, evolving interpretations of faith, and experience life one day and one adventure at a time.

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