But one doesn't have to be paying much attention to politics to know that the healthcare debate is a-raging and will continue for some time. I honestly don't know what to make of the mess. Our current system is broken, no doubt about it, but I don't know the best way to fix it.
My husband is a nurse practitioner whose patients are generally low income and usually do not have health insurance. It saddens me to hear of patients who have treatable medical conditions that go untreated because they can't afford to buy the medicine, have the procedures done, and so forth. Thus a treatable problem deteriorates into even more severe medical issues. Then it's only a matter of time until they have a heart attack or a stroke or some other severe medical event that lands them in the E.R. (or they attempt suicide because they can no longer endure the pain. It happens far more regularly than we would like to admit.) I don't think anyone would dispute the fact that preventative medicine is far less costly both in terms of money and quality of life.
I've heard conservative Christians put up a lot of resistance to Obama's healthcare plan, but I haven't heard a lot of alternatives offered. I don't want to debate the pros and cons of nationalized healthcare. I do want to know why we accuse Obama of trying to covertly fund abortions by withholding healthcare from the elderly, but we don't seem to give a rip about the fact that every day, in our communities, children don't check-ups when they need them, adults don't treat their diabetes because they can't afford it, and immigrants get abysmal care just because they can't speak English fluently. Churches could find lots of ways to minister to their community in the healthcare field-- host health screening clinics, help fund non-profit clinics to low income families, help families pay for medicine and doctor visits, teach community health classes, pay for someone to get their cavities filled, and so forth. In general, I've seen Christians rally together to help support someone in a time of a sudden medical crises (cancer, car accident, etc.), but there doesn't seem to be a lot of thought going into ministering to people in preventative medicine.
Obviously, this is a big charge, but it's one I think the church could handle. Our community hosts a huge dental clinic once a year-- they use the sports arena, and dentists from around the area volunteer to see people for free. They treat what they can at the arena, and more serious cases are scheduled for follow-up. The place is filled to overflowing with people who couldn't afford to see a dentist all year long.
I just get so frustrated that we either 1) keep waiting for the government to save us or 2) criticize the government every time it attempts to help the people we are content to ignore.