Thursday, February 14, 2013

Common Good Part 3: Healthcare and Stewarship

This is the 3rd installment in my series, "Common Good" You can read the 1st post here and the 2nd post here.

This is a challenge to Christians as well as the church....
You might be wondering what Stewardship and Health care might have in common. Honestly, a week ago and would have never put the two together. But, I have a radical idea and will present it to you hear. Stewardship is one of those things every church I have ever attended talks about. How what we have is God's and the least we can do is give 10% of what we have back to the church. Don't get me wrong. Christians are called, or any believer of God for that fact, to give a portion of all that they have as worship to God and the blessings that come from God. The cynicism you might read into my statement is just the fact that I hear the same message over, and over again and I am now 40. Honestly, the message needs to change. Now when it comes to health care, that is a very heavily debated topic. People have opinions of both sides of the aisle about how to reduce cost and in the same manner people either support or hate the Affordable Health Care Act, proposed and signed by our current President. So on this topic I want to explore a 3rd of dealing with health care. A way that up until a week ago I never would have considered. So join me on this thought process and share your thoughts and ideas with me.
"All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them"
The early church was united and shared everything. Hmmm? They shared everything, not 10%, everything and they were united. I swapped parts of the phrase to make a point. While I am not saying a church like this does not exist what I know from personal experience, in the church and what is int he media, is that the church is NOT united and we do not share everything. I don't share everything at my church so that last part is true. What would happen if the church made a complete 180 degree turn? What would that look like? Here is what I have in mind:
1 - Throw out the church budget. EVERYTHING
2 - When members receive their paychecks they bring it all and according to the needs people have the money is divided up
First, your thinking, Adele you are crazy, I have bills to pay. We all have needs and if everyone brought all that they made to the church then all the earnings would be dispersed according to each need. No one would suffer and might I add there would be unity. Church staff would never have to go through the annual budget and worry about asking for a raise, "Should I or should I not" because everybodies needs would be met" Some Church's/denominations do this quite well. I remember being told a true story about a man losing his job and the church, a Quaker church, supporting him til he found a job. The man didn't apply for unemployment with the government because his church met his needs. I can just imagine the gratitude this man felt and the sense of humbleness the church felt because they helped a neighbor in need. While I am politically democrat, as a Christian I believe the church has become somewhat lax and does not do as much for those in need simply because the government has something in place. (More on that in another post. Don't want to digress)

Something to ponder for individuals, churches and companies

So this is where health care comes in. Back last year I wrote a post on how I believe health care is just as vital to life as eating, clothing and housing is. When one is missing there is an impact to either the quality or longevity of one's life so I am going to state it here that I believe everyone needs to have access to affordable health care. How that is achieved is constantly changing. In the past few years I have met doctors who will accept cash payments rather than filing insurance and I save money as a result. What I pay for in cash has been cheaper than what I would pay in co-pays had they filed with insurance. I have talked with other friends who have discovered the same and may the following comment, "No wonder our health care system is screwed. Depending on where you go for medical care and if you are insured you will pay a different price for the same service." Have you discovered the same thing" I can tell you I switched where I get prescriptions filled because now I pay a discounted price for some of my prescriptions because the pharmacy sets the price and they never file my insurance.I am saving money and I am not complaining. With my premiums going up I need to save anywhere I can. More and more has been written about the disparity between what insured patients pay for a service and those who pay cash. Check out the following link:

Hide your Health Insurance status and Pay Cash

Got Health Insurance? Why you may want to pay cash anyway

Patients save by paying cash for medical care and not using insurance

So how does stewardship and health care go together? Not only was Jesus in the business of saving lives spiritually he also was in the business of healing physical ailments. It is all throughout the gospels. That should at least tell us that people's physical health was important to him so it should be important to us.  If we take the knowledge that people who pay cash for medical care save money and combine it with my first idea of everyone giving to the church then the church becomes the source for health care rather than government. (Truthfully, I never thought I would say this, but anyone can be enlightened, even me.)

So here is my radical equation:

People giving everything to the church + Needs being Met = Unity

Seems so simple. But lately the simple things seem to be what is radical and never come to fruition. What do you think? Do you have other ideas on how all the needs in this world, country, community church can be met? Love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Valentines Day! May you feel the love of God and love others in return!