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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Conversation: Daschle, Dobson, and Loving Thy Neighbor

An eager reader keys this sincere response to my earlier commentary on Secretary-Nominee Tom Daschle and the possibility of promoting family values through universal health coverage:

I read your article on Daschle Will Reform Healthcare and Family Values. I just want to say that I feel like you are not accurate about Focus on the Family and Dr. Dobson’s intentions. The thing is, sadly, the government is “not so good” at supplying health care. (If you know a Veteran, or had to help a Vet get healthcare, you would know.) My Father is a WWII 91 year old vet and he has to “still fight” to get coverage. My sister has taken over this task and it is almost a full time job. I believe that Conservative people are just concerned it will be “worse health care” and not better, and that is why they speak against governmental health care.

Dr.Dobson truly does love people, he has spent years studying psychology and he is a Christian, the last thing he wants for people is to ‘hurt’ them, this is why he fights for family values as he is trying to fight for what he knows really works for people. If you got on his site you would see there are groups for all kinds of people to get counseling and help with every day issues. He is against abortion because he believes every human deserves to have “life”, you can understand that I am sure. And on top of it, the procedure is beyond horrible, surely any caring human would not be ‘okay’ with it being done for reasons of birth control.

Anyway, I do hope that Mr. Daschle and all others do come up with a great plan, but history proves this does not work (governmental health care) just look at what is happening in Massachusetts where they have tried this program… it is a disaster. Those who speak against government healthcare ‘do’ care about people, they want them to be able to make their own choice of doctors, care, etc.

Thanks for listening....

I offer the following reply:

Thanks for reading and even more for taking the time to respond. I appreciate good conversation.

I maintain a respectful disagreement with your views on government health coverage and on the political focus of Focus on the Family. I would note first that neither or nor the incoming Obama administration are aiming for government-run health care. My preference, at least, is for government health coverage: we keep going to our same doctors and hospitals; those doctors and hospitals simply send the bill to Uncle Sam, just as they do in Canada, France, and several other countries. (If history "proves" government health coverage doesn't work, nearly every other industrialized country is not listening... or suffering.)

I've seen government coverage at work in Canada. They may not have gold-plated insurance policies for the wealthiest purchasers, but they have universal access to good health care for every citizen. My wife and I have friends who have been visiting Canada, suffered an injury, and were in and out of the hospital for treatment in no time, with no paperwork. We can't get treatment like that here.

Universal coverage is simply the logical extension of insurance. We join insurance plans to pool resources; the best, most efficient insurance would pool the resources of every American. Compare the overhead of Medicare (3%) to the overhead of private insurance plans (20-30%). I would rather pay $3000 a year in additional taxes to the government and see $2910 of that money go for actual medical expenses than pay $3000 a year for private insurance, see only $2100 of that money go toward medical expenses while the rest pays for executive bonuses and yachts, and pay higher deductibles and receive less coverage to boot.

We also pool coverage because we want to help others. If you and I are part of an insurance plan, I don't want to turn on you and deny you coverage just when you need it most, when you find you have MS or cancer or suffer complications from pregnancy. But our private insurance company would do just that, rejecting you or making your premiums prohibitively expensive. Neighbors don't treat each other like that. Government health coverage would let us treat each other like neighbors.

I won't delve into my theological problems with Dr. Dobson -- I'll simply say that I live with an actual theologian, so I know Dr. Dobson's interpretation of Christianity has some errors. In general, Focus on the Family seems not to focus on real family issues that affect everyone every day. It seems there are a raft of issues that Christians could rally to address (corporate greed, pollution, poverty, disease, sexism, rape) that would do much more to promote the actual economic and moral condition of families than the the focus on the typical social hot-button issues of abortion and homosexuality.

We're one nation. We've got to work together to solve problems. I happen to think we can do more practical good by working together on health care.

Cory Allen Heidelberger
Madville Times


  1. We can debate health insurance until the cows come home.

    Let's talk about the things we can do for ourselves because if we wait on our elected politicians they will never get done.


    Yes, the answer is that simple.

    The real leaders in the community take time for exercise.

    I'm talking about Pastor Steve from West Center Baptist Church, Michael and Lori Waldner, Jon Hunter, Chris Giles, Greg Kludt, Roger and Joy Reed and the list goes on and on...They all are regulars at the Community Center.

    ElizaBeth and I have been members for years but the more time we invest in exercise the greater the benefit we see in our health.

    So Cory, instead of whining about government policies, let's go out and encourage our fellow residents to get fit.

    Rod, that means you too.

  2. Whining? I prefer to think of it as identifying problems and proposing solutions.

    Dang, sorry I missed all those regulars at the Community Center. I guess after riding my bike across Lake Herman to town, I just don't feel the need to go inside and exercise. (Does leadership by example count?)

  3. So Cory, What does the theologian have to say about ROMANS 1:18-32. "But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God has made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities-is eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excue whatsoever for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they would'nt worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise (like yourself and partner), they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping the glorius, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made t look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes. So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, the did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they new was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved." This perhaps is why homosexuality is a social hot topic. You ask why we don't talk about other social ills such as poverty, disease, sexism, rape, pollution, and corportate greed. It is because someone like yourself will start up some cause to justify your behavior. They will try to make an attempt at excusing there behavior based on some other scientific cause and then point to Christianity as being dogmatic. Yes, we can go on and on about all the above topics, but you or your theologian will not break my faith in the new covenant. I know there is sin in the world and I personally know that I am not sin free. This is why I believe. More than anything, I just wish for a sense of deceny in this world. A world where some idiot does not send me an e-mail that is a film of an orgy or anal sex. Now I realize you would like to justify this as freedom of speech or some other genetically acceptable behavior, but I'm not buying it. Cory, I think you simply are living in the wrong country. You speak of France and Canada and how great thou art. However, this is America "land of the free" and land of opportunity. I would just hope that commons sense and decency would go along with that. So, given you like government so much and social behavior why don't you just leave those good folks in Madison alone. Go join the colony where everybody takes care of each other in more ways then one and justify it however you will. Better yet move to Canada. They have even bigger lakes to bike across.

  4. Cory, You take the time to exercise.

    It really doesn't matter where you exercise just so you do it.

    When it is winter most people don't do anything. They get even softer than they already are.

    We can take care of much of the public health crisis by taking care of ourselves. That means working out on a regular basis. We've got this wonderful facility in the Community Center and we should be taking advantage of it to better ourselves.

    Let's all get busy and get in shape!

    You too Rod.

  5. Mike, I wish we could solve every problem through a good dose of personal responsibility. And I agree: if we all exercised more, we'd be a happier, healthier country. But all my biking to town and eating garden salad hasn't changed the fact the private insurers skim 20-30% off the top, while Medicare/Medicaid gets the job done with 3% overhead. My healthy lifestyle won't stop my insurer from dropping me lock a rock if I come down with cancer or some other expensive condition. My wife's healthy diet and exercise didn't get our insurer to cover maternity costs. Personal responsibility is great, but we still have a policy problem to solve... and universal health coverage is that solution.

  6. Just curious, "Searaven" -- what personal behavior do you think I'm trying to start a cause to justify?

    Still can't handle a discussion of actual practical policy, can you, Searaven? Seek solace in what I'm sure sounds like a brilliant sermon in your mind, but your ill-structured Billy Sunday impersonations haven't offered a single concrete solution yet, just general snippiness.

    I won't "leave the good folks in Madison" or South Dakota or America alone, because Madison, South Dakota, U.S.A. is my home. It belongs as much to me as to you and everyone else. America (as well as Christianity -- maybe not yours, but the Christianity I read about in the Gospels) is dedicated to the idea of taking care of each other. I'm calling on America to live up to that ideal.

    Smut in my inbox makes me mad. I hit Delete. Insurance companies denying coverage to three year olds with cancer makes me madder. It should make you mad too. Focus, Searaven: we've got real problems to solve.


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