I recently came across the story of Anita and Wolf Gottschalk, an elderly Canadian couple who are being forced to live in separate care facilities due to a backlog in the Canada healthcare system.
The Gottschalks, who are in their 80s, have been married 62 years.
The situation in which the Gottschalks find themselves is regrettable to say the least.
After more than six decades of marriage, that this couple should have to live even one day of what remains of their earthly lives under such circumstances, is a devastating commentary on what can happen when government gets involved in the business of providing healthcare services, particularly to those who are the most vulnerable among us.
But that is what socialized medicine does.
It decimates people’s lives by putting them at the mercy of subjective decisions made by government bureaucrats; men and women who have no vested interest in the individuals being adversely impacted by their decisions. And yet government-sponsored “universal healthcare” is exactly what many in the United States want for themselves.
Or so they think.
I distinctly recall President Barack Obama commenting on the glorious benefits of government-sponsored universal healthcare. It was during a speech in Strongsville, Ohio in 2010, that the President boastfully declared:
…for Americans who get their insurance through the workplace…a lot of those folks…your employer, it’s estimated, will see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent, which means they can give you a raise.
Needless to say, such lofty prognostications have yet to come to fruition – and most likely never will.
Because that’s not how socialized medicine is designed to work.
The irony of so-called “universal” healthcare is that it is the nature for anything based in socialism to benefit only the privileged few, not the disadvantaged many.
History is replete with examples of this.
But we are still beguiled by this other fairy tale: that a large group of liberal-minded reformers, not pretending to be a class, not seizing the power but creeping into it, not smashing the state but bending it to their will, can take charge of the economy and approximate a free and equal society. – Max Eastman, Reflections on the Failures of Socialism, as published by The Mises Institute, March 1955
As insurance premiums continue to skyrocket – the exact opposite of what President Obama promised would happen – individual choice continues to decline as more insurance providers make the business decision to withdraw from the unprofitable program.
Playing on the fears of people being unable to financially withstand a worst-case healthcare scenario, Obamacare was peddled to America’s citizens under the guise that it could do what only God alone can: keep us and our loved ones ones healthy and alive.
See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand. – Deuteronomy 32:39 (NASB)
It has been six years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law; and many Americans are just now beginning to realize it is not the panacea it was made out to be.
The only reward most Obamacare enrollees have to show for their misplaced hopes is higher premiums and deductibles, less freedom of choice, and – Surprise! – a Form 1095-A from their friendly IRS informing them of the ‘shared responsibility’ payment they now owe.
Sadly, evangelical Christians are as much to blame as anyone that Obamacare is now the law of the land, having bought into the fallacy that it is the role of government to ensure that all of our needs, and even most of our wants, are met. But nowhere in the Scriptures does God transfer the responsibility of caring for one another from the Church to the State (Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Leviticus 19:33-34; James 1:27).
Christians must be discerning enough to understand that the State always takes more than it gives – always.
That the State gives anything to any of us is not because it is inherently benevolent, but because it is empowered to take by force from one individual to benefit another. There is nothing the State gives without demanding something of equal or greater sacrifice in return; and that something is usually to accede to it more of our individual freedoms.
Unfortunately, the Gottschalks are learning this the hard way (as will many Americans, I’m afraid).
As Christians we should never exchange our God-given freedoms for the mirage of government-sponsored security. We must remember that though government does exist “as a minister of God for our good” (Romans 13:4a), it is God alone who is sovereign over the affairs of our lives.
But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. – Psalm 115:3 (NASB)
Though it may be the prudent thing to do for most of us, still the reality is having health insurance is not efficacious in extending our existence in this world.
That you have head-to-toe coverage with Aetna or Humana or Cigna, or any other insurer for that matter, is not what is keeping your heart beating as you read this blog post.
My father died of a massive heart attack at the age of 64 as he was sitting on the toilet in the master bathroom of his home. My mother came home from work and found his lifeless body slumped over the bathtub.
My father had health insurance coverage.
My point is that even in matters of life and death, the trust we place in a promissory government must never exceed the confidence we place in a providential God (Psalm 146:3-4).
For it is the God who keeps His promises who also keeps you and me (Matthew 6:31-34).
Humbly in Christ,