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 unfortunate 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 providing healthcare services to the most vulnerable among us.
This is what socialized medicine does.
It destroys lives by putting people at the mercy of subjective decisions made by government bureaucrats who have no vested interest in the individuals impacted by those decisions. And yet, government-sponsored “universal healthcare” is exactly what many in the United States want for themselves.
Or so they think.
The American equivalent of the Canada Health Act, the law that governs health insurance programs in Canada, is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare). I distinctly recall President Barack Obama commenting on the glorious benefits of government-sponsored universal healthcare. In fact, during a speech in Strongsville, Ohio in 2010, the President declared that:
"…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 they never will. Why? Because that’s not how socialized medicine is designed to work. The irony of so-called “universal” healthcare is it is the nature for anythingbased in socialism to benefit the few not the 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 it could do what only God alone can: keep us and our loved 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. Unfortunately, the only things most people have to show for their misplaced hopes and dreams are higher premiums and deductibles, less freedom of choice, and – Surprise! – a Form 1095-A from your friendly IRS.
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 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 (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 for the benefit of another. There is nothing the State gives without demanding an equal or greater something in return; and that “something” is usually to demand from us more of our individual freedom.
The Gottschalks are learning this the hard way, as will many Americans, I fear.
As Christians we should never exchange our God-given freedoms for the mirage of government-sponsored security. We must remember 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, the reality is having health insurance is not what keeps you alive. That you have head-to-toe coverage with Aetna or Humana or Cigna, or any other insurance company 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 that day and found him 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 that which we place in a providential God.
For only God keeps His promises.
Humbly in Christ,