Monday, August 31, 2009

A SynchroBlog: Clowns to Left? Jokers to the Right? Stuck in the Middle of the Health Care Debate

I am not fan of the current bill standing before congress on health care. I am not convinced that any reform is good reform. I do not feel that stating this I stand in the way of progress. Clowns to the left of me would say that is what I am doing by not supporting the current ideas.

I do not appreciate the rude signs, yelling weirdos, and aggressive tactics of those who are protesting in town hall meetings across the US. I do not like the demonizing e-mails I receive about the current health care reform bill. But the jokers to right are still there shouting.

I do not think that all supporters of the current health care reform bill assume that I standing int he way by disagreeing with the current bill. I know for a fact that most of the protesters are well behaved tax paying citizens who want to have their voice heard, because it is their money which is being used to create this series of entitlements. They believe that they are continuing in the great tradition having their voices heard if their money was involved - taxation WITH representation.

I do not understand the demonization of John Mackey from Whole Foods who wrote an op ed in the Wall Street Journal giving his opinion on the health care reform bill. It seemed like a responsible metered consideration of the issue from someone who disagrees with the current bill, and was offering his own options to solve the problem.

For myself I wonder how we get all up in arms bout this issue, and nobody says anything about prescription drug abuse, and abuse by insurance companies, the overall lack of health in our nation...just to name three problems.

Is health care still a right if I abuse my own body? Is calling it a right being used by the industry to shackle Americans into an abusive unhealthy system?

I am not sure if the current bill offers more problems than answers, but I want the debate to continue in order to find out. Unfortunately most of the voices I am hearing now are demonizing the other side - from the highest positions on down there are clowns to the left, and jokers to the right. So here I am, stuck in the middle. Anyone else out there stuck in the middle with me?


Ellen Haroutunian said...

I agree that the current bill as it stands leaves much to be desired. It seems to me that the most important piece is that the debate continues - to press on towards a viable solution.
I do think that we do need to ask more of people to take responsibility for and invest in their own health but to begin to judge who is doing it right and who is not can go far beyond even our scientific abilities - not every smoker gets lung cancer and not every lung cancer patient has smoked - but do we investigate how much second hand smoke he has inhaled to see if he deserves help? Not every thin person is metabolically healthy and not every fat person is unhealthy, nor do all of them go on to diabetes and high blood pressure or other such diseases. We need to be really careful about this stuff. I never saw Jesus asking somehow how they got into their predicament before He healed them. Just sayin' :-)

Anonymous said...

Phil - First I have to tell you that I Love the title of your post! Very creative!

We may not agree on the health care reform issue but we do agree on the need for civil discourse - without it we will be in a game of hit and miss to solve our health care dilemma.

Unknown said...

I agree that what is wrong with our health care system is not necessarily "Insurance." I agree with the view that the system has deteriorated from a sincere goal of healing people into a profit making organism. (USA)

The system is set up to treat feasibly profit making patients who are sick, but not too sick. Sickness is the focus not health. Doctors are rewarded by treating sick people not by preventing disease. The preferred treatment is now the Emergency Room instead of a primary physician. Yes, you get the best care there, but only if you have wonderful insurance (not all insurance covers ER treatments) or ironically government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Or you can go bankrupt trying to pay high medical costs, with or without insurance. Or you can just get free care and let others absorb the cost with their insurance premiums.

Our food supply is making us sick with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, cloning(?). Get rid of High Fructose Corn syrup alone and we get rid of a major obesity and diabetes 2 problem.

If nothing is done, health care costs will continue to rise and eventually only the very rich will be able to afford health care.

I watched a lecture on UCTV which sited Sociological reasons affecting health which the best insurance will not take care of; Things like fear of being fired, your boss treating you rudely, other stresses.

These are certainly not all the problems with approaching health care reform.

We have to do SOMETHING. We have to start SOMEPLACE. We cannot throw out the Baby with the bathwater, no matter how impossible dealing with the muggy bathwater is.

Unknown said...

Good thoughts, Phil. I've posted some thoughts on fb - this note is public:

I also encountered our health care systems today, as noted in my status. The health care system typically has served me well, as I am "on the top of the food chain" (or at least someone high) health-care-wise. Was my "encounter" the odd one out or, as I have been noticing for the past couple of years, a function of a poorly-run industry?

That does not even attempt to answer the question of, "is this a federal issue (posed in my note...)?"

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Ellen,

I really like your comments, and especially the notes about the healing of Jesus as it relates to the source of the sickness. Yet, I am not sure that I am comfortable positioning the government in the place of Christ as the Divine Healer, and yet even he said, go and sin no more. So I am not sure where this line can be drawn, but it still begs the question of abuse.

Thanks for he challenging thoughts.

Pastor Phil said...

Gracerules! Yeah for civil discourse! Whadayamean you don't agree with me!?

Pastor Phil said...


Nice list of problems. I'm tracking with you.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Jere,

One of the other blogs did present the challenge that "It is easy to be against health care reform when you have insurance." That does challenge those of us who have it, and use it, and have benefitted by it.

Anonymous said...

This is a good discussion and I agree that I love the title of your post, Phil!!

Since Paul and I have lived all but 3 years of our marraige (35 yrs) without health insurance, let me add this to the mix if I may. We are both uneasy about the current bill and for a number of reasons.

One of them being that we've chosen NOT to have health insurance. We also understand that with that choice we may also have less access to certain kind of care. Neither do we expect others to bail us out if we get into a bind. This path has been our choice and we'd like it to remain that way.


Beth P. said...

Like your middle-way thoughts, Phil. I am just smart enough to know that I don't know much--and this mess we're in is so much bigger than my little pea-brain...

Enjoyed Joy's comment above. Indeed.


Pastor Phil said...

Hi Joy,

You belong to a group of people who probably doesn't get any air time on this debate. Thanks for chiming in.

Here in Massachusetts it is required by law to have health insurance. Employers must supply it for employees, and often do it by paying it partially -- that is what they can afford. If a person does not have health care they will be penalized in their taxes at the end of the year.

I have known many a healthy young person who could not make ends meet, because they were required to pay for health insurance they never used, and the premiums took such a large part of their pay. Now there's a turn of events for you!

Pastor Phil said...


Yep, pea brained on this one too, but interested in pursuing the debate for the sake of seeing our nation make good choices.

Today our Massachusetts Governor uses his health care for hip surgery.

Anonymous said...


I think it's hard for some of us to see Mackey's article as reasoned when he introduces the word "entitlement" in the very first sentence. In my experience, that word is usually a dog whistle for "people getting stuff they don't deserve." And his later discussion of how no one has a right to healthcare really reinforces that interpretation in my mind. So while I embrace and respect those looking for a middle ground, I'm not sure I'm convinced that I'd count Mackey as such a person.

And while we're talking about things no one seems to be talking about, I think it's important to look at the pharmaceutical companies and the ridiculous cost of certain medications. Have you heard the latest ads from Pfizer trying to discourage people from switching off of Lipitor to a generic medication for the sake of cost? I blogged about it here. In general, when one starts looking into the pharmaceutical industry, one has to wonder about their ethics. One might also wonder why we allow our healthcare to become dependent on companies that want to treat our health as a profit-making venture.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Beth P. And hello again, Pastor Phil!!

Obviously, I didn't know about the law in MA, but it does add an interesting 'twist' for me to consider.

Whatever the issues before us, I appreciate openness, mutual respect and transparency whenever those things truly occur, even when I may not agree with a given perspective. And with issues as important as this one and the host of issues attached to it, attempts at hurriedly forcing it on society make me extremely uncomfortable.


Anonymous said...

Let me restate one thing before signing off...I appreciate frank discussion, mutual respect and transparency. I am also somewhat impatient with redundancy...even my own.


Sonja Andrews said...

I completely feel stuck in the middle. I absolutely **know** that we must have health care reform in this country. Our costs are out of control, people are going bankrupt and losing their everything because of illness. However, I don't think this current bill does anything to restrain the insurance industry or the pharmaceutical industry from their greed and spiraling profits.