medical care

Health care costs and the rising number of uninsured people happens to be a hot topic right now, I've noticed. A new study just came out about the large number of uninsured Americans, over 45 million, as reported in this article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. This blog article further outlines the vast overpricing of health care in the U.S. and the need for a change. It also mentions the new bill in Massachusetts that would require all people to get health insurance (like we must get auto insurance to get a license), making this possible by providing lower cost insurance or free coverage to those who cannot afford it, and using funds that are now spent covering losses due to uninsured patients who cannot pay. Many other states are watching this plan to see how well it works.

This could be very important for Heather and me in the future, especially with the medical needs of our kids (God willing). There's already a good clinic near the retreat place in Virginia, but clinics can't take care of everything.

Medical care has been one of the biggest challenges as I try to follow Jesus' example and teaching, "You received without paying, give without pay." (Mt 10.8) I'd like to help people for free, then trust that God will inspire others to help me freely when I need it. In many ways, I've experienced this already, in remarkable ways. But medical care is tough. Because in an emergency you can't wait until someone offers help, and the way the hospital system is organized now it's so complicated and incredibly expensive. What to do? I remember once explaining to some Christian friends that I wanted doctors that would care for me because they wanted to, even when they knew I couldn't pay, and one person said "then you'll die; because that's not how the world works."

So far I've just tried to explain up front that I couldn't pay, and be willing to be turned away. But in emergency situations hospitals have to treat you, no matter what. So afterwards I just try to work with the financial counselors, explaining my situation and cooperating, and so far it's worked pretty well (though I do still have some bills that were sent to collection agencies). Maybe with some changes in the healthcare system, it will get easier.

But I still think the ideal is to find some doctor(s) who would willingly offer free care because they want to support the work I'm (or we're) doing. Or just out of love for us. I'd like to inspire others to follow Jesus in this way, freely giving because they received so much for free.