I still do not have a high-def TV. Our home computer is over six years old. I drive a 1992 Chevy Silverado Pickup; my wife drives a 2003 Chevy Suburban. Our house was built in 1960.
I may have lower expectations than the normal person, but few of us expect to purchase the newest or the best, when it is first released to the marketplace. Most of us are content to wait until the price goes down.
The one exception is health care. If my wife has an undiagnosed illness, I want the newest and best medical tool available to figure what the problem is. If one of my children is ill or injured, I want the best medicine on the market to take care of the problem.
Furthermore, whether it be machinery or medicine, I want the bill to be sent to my insurance company. I want them to pay it. I have very high expectations, when it comes to health care. I think most people are like me.
Since, we are so much alike, and since, there are over 300 million of us, we’ve got a problem. What if we had the same expectation when it comes to computers?
What if, every time a PC company or Apple came out with a new innovation on their computers, we wanted to purchase it—and have the bill sent to our insurance company? It would create economic chaos.
Yet, this is what is happening in health care. If the year were 1910, or 1810, this would be less of a problem. The medical field was offering much less when it came to innovation.
In this day and age, the growth of innovation is exponential: doctor specialization, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical machinery…. even if we formed the world’s greatest insurance company, we would still have price problems.
I do not foresee an easy solution. In some ways, this is a backhanded compliment from our culture to Christianity. Skyrocketing prices reveal, we still place the highest value on human life. For a future easing of tensions, I see five possible scenarios:
1) We decide that life in this world will never be perfect, and we accept fewer years or reduced quality in exchange for lower health care costs.
2) We decide that health care is our number one societal value; therefore, we agree to privately pay whatever costs are necessary to ensure we receive the best and most innovative health care available. This is done in community but not funded by taxpayer dollars.
3) We decide that health care is our number one societal value; therefore, we agree that taxpayers will fund whatever costs are necessary to assure we receive the best and most innovative health care available.
4) We decide that health care is to be placed in the same category as computers and cars: everyone is on his or her own.
5. Some combination of the previous four.
None of these solutions are ideal. No solution will be. For this reason, I feel this issue must be addressed at the spiritual and moral level, as well as the economic one.
As salt and light in this world, what role we will as Christians play? Have we evaluated well the role of the cross in all of this? How do we balance grace and discipleship when it comes to health care? How do we maintain equilibrium between forever and falleness?
Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)
1. Thank you MacArthur Park church of Christ in San Antonio for sharing with my family and me your wonderful hospitality.
2. Judy, Timothy, Abby and I spent Thursday at Sea World. It was our first time. We were blessed with cloudy skies, temperate temperatures, and a smaller crowd than normal. We all enjoyed ourselves.
3. Something I noticed—all of the animal shows shared a story. Instead of a trainer saying, “This is Shamu, watch him jump in the air…”, all of the killer whale tricks were done in the context of a narrative. The Sea Lions were participants in a play about robbery in a fish factory. There was no exception. The trainers never took time to directly impart information about the animals. This reality accentuates the shift we have taken from being a culture of data to being a culture of story.
4. Every Edge child is at Camp Deer Run this week during the day. Haleigh and Abby stay there at night, also. Judy begins a workshop tomorrow, but I bet she enjoyed today.
5. Dallas Cowboy receiver, Dez Bryant, you’re not giving me good vibes with this, “I won’t carry Roy Williams shoulder pads.” Maybe I read too much into this.