Thursday, July 16, 2009

Health Care....Or Not

Recently I overheard someone remark that the idea of the government forcing people to have health care made them so mad it made them want to cancel their company subsedized health care plan. It seems this person didn't like the government telling them that they HAD to have health insurance.

Of course, my first thought was to tell them to march right down to HR and drop their coverage. It's amazing to me how easily people who have always had good coverage from their employer take that for granted. They don't want the government telling them they "have to" do what they are already doing. It makes me wonder, have this people ever been without health care? Do they know what it's like to have a medical condition and being unable to go to the doctor because you can't afford the office visit much less any medication or treatment required?

According to an article by ABC in October 2007, the overall cost for treatment of a typical breast cancer can top $50,000 or even $100,000. Imagine facing that when you don't have medical coverage. Also, according to the same report, one in five cancer patients WITH insurance will use up most if not all of their savings during the course of the treatment.

This doesn't even touch on the topic of perscription drug costs. A few years ago when I underwent a 6 month course of chemo for a non-cancerous disease, the retail cost for the drugs I took were > $600 month for a daily medication and > $1500 per month for a weekly self administered injection. Those were the self pay costs. Fortunately, I had prescription drug coverage. So for the daily medication I paid $300 for 3 months supply, the injection copay was $300 per month. Total cost to me $2400 over a 6 month period. As a single mother making $16/hr, you know I had that much cash laying around - NOT. I financed the treatment via credit cards with an ungodly interest rate.

For those who believe that we do not need some sort of health care plan that requires coverage for everyone, I challenge you to cancel your own and your family's health care plan for one year and pray that none of you have any serious illnesses during that time. If at the end of that year you still believe that mandatory health care is not a necessity for American, so be it. However, I believe you will change your mind long before the year is over.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Who is afraid of evangelism?

While sitting in church this morning, one of the points made during the sermon is that members of our denomination are afraid to invite people to church. Members of the United Church of Christ, tend to be liberal and progressive individuals. We are the type of people who are among the first to protest civil rights be it racial rights, health care for the poor, immigration situations, LGBT concerns and dozens of other issues. Fearlessly we stand for the welfare and rights of those who cannot stand for themselves. Yet, we hesitate to put ourselves out there for our own church.

Why, I wonder, is this so? Maybe because many of us came came to UCC through the side door. Perhaps over the years we lost our faith and began to explore church as a path to something we knew we needed but weren't sure what that something might be. Or maybe after hearing some of the atrocities performed in the name of religion we have a bad taste in our mouth for "organized religion" and going to church seems an oxymoron. Maybe after being hounded by others to be "born again" we are a bit embarrassed to be going into church. Or maybe, after being told by others that we aren't good enough and don't deserve the love of God, we are afraid to be caught slipping in where we don't belong.

Many of my friends have been turned away and turned off by conventional religion. They have been bombarded by conservative religion in the form of relatives, friends, televangelist, politicians and churches telling them how bad and awful they are for not believing the religious flavor of the month. Because we have been in the same place at different times in our lives, we dread the idea of becoming another one of "those" people.

How do I tell people that my church is different? We accept you just as you are, you don't need to change, you don't have to believe exactly the way I believe or practice religion exactly the way I do? How do you tell your friends that no matter who they are, no matter where they are on life's journey, they are welcome here at the United Church of Christ?