View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

SCHIP gets my okay.

Okay, let's get it out of the way right up front.

I support some form of universal health care - even if it means I have to pay more in taxes.

I welcome the opportunity to help out my less fortunate brothers and sisters. 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' - Matthew 25:40.

So I have no problem with SCHIP. I want to see more people have health care.

We have a mixed system here in the U.S.

In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the health system in our nation 37th in the world.


We ranked behind such usual suspects as France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra, Spain, Austria, Japan, Norway, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Finland, Australia and Denmark. But we also such nations as Oman, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Chile and Costa Rica.

Now those figures may have changed since then. And there are different ways to assess health care. But even if we jumped 25 places, we would still not be in the top 10!


For middle class white folks like my family and me, the health care here in the U.S. IS among the best in the world - if not the best. That's because we have insurance and some money. What pulls the U.S. down is that we have lots of low-income people, people who have lost jobs, people whose jobs don't offer health care plans and help to pay for them. People who are covered in many of those other nations.

It's also a economic competition thing. U.S. companies pay for insurance that their competitors don't have to pay for, raising production costs.

So I am all for more programs like SCHIP - though I have mixed feelings about it being paid for with more in cigarette taxes. I'm all for anything that might discourage people from smoking, but given how many of those people who smoke are poor in the first place, it might hit them hard if they can't beat the addiction easily.

As I said, I'd be willing to pay more in taxes to ensure more people get adequate health care.

Besides, if we are going to tell poor women not to abort their babies, this is one way we'd better be ready to help them as they raise those children.


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