healthcareSo today marked the end of our company’s enrollment in its healthcare program. I begrudgingly took the questionnaires and filled out the paperwork, jumping through hoops and listening to all sorts of judgments of my lifestyle and diet while keeping a calm outward demeanor. Sounds like a great day! I’m going to get health insurance!

But on the inside, I feel like I was violated. All the arguments for prudence aside: I don’t want health insurance.

Similar to car insurance, I believe the system is corrupt. I have never been in a car accident, nor have I ever had a moving violation, EVER! But my state still requires that I shell out the entire value of my car each year, to a “private” company, to ensure my safety. Thanks!

Here is the rub: regardless of what someone else thinks is best for me, I should be empowered to make decisions for my life, not someone sitting a class above me. I shout the old adage: You don’t know ME! (Ok, maybe it isn’t so old…)

C. S. Lewis said it well, warning us against the seemingly benevolent leadership of our time, when he said,

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

The soda ban proposed in New York, required car insurance and now mandatory healthcare are all examples of this tyrannical class system. And we Christians, particularly of the evangelical stripe, praise these systems for their inherent goodness.

Every day we are given the choice follow God, and when we choose to disobey, God lovingly allows us the consequences of our choice. When Jesus confronts the rich man in Mark 10, he does not force him to sell all his possessions. He does not coerce him into helping the poor. Jesus definitely knows what is best for him, but in that knowledge He still loves. And therefore Jesus allows the man to walk away, and choose his own way.

If even Jesus did not use His authority to coerce people into choosing good, why do we Christians think we are following His footsteps when we impose our morality on others through law? How does banning sodas, making insurance mandatory, or prohibiting tattoos or alternative lifestyles show the love that Jesus showed the rich man in the gospels?

In short, it doesn’t. Lewis was right about the persecution people will suffer under such an ideal. With each “good” law we impose, we make outlaws of our brothers and sisters who might see things a bit differently, perhaps more clearly than we.

Anyone else frustrated about mandatory insurance, about the obvious pocket-lining that “private” companies enjoy because of these pieces of legislature? How do these ideas line up with the concepts of the early church spoken of in Acts?

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8 thoughts on “Healthcare and our omnipotent moral busybodies

  1. Our mandatory health insurance comes with a health coach to check to see if we are living and continuing to live a healthy lifestyle according to their guidelines. I HATE IT. Everyone of my co workers HATE IT. Even those who are ‘doing right’, eating the prescribed servings of vegetables, getting the recommended amount and type of exercise, given up all unhealthy choices, i.e. smoking, drinking etc. We don’t think it is anybody’s business and we resent answering to some unknown entity for ‘our own good’ . It actually makes me want to do the ‘bad’ things just to assert my independence. I give as little info as possible and am rather uncooperative (but not rude- she is only doing her job) to the health coach when she calls. I even got a call when I did not get a prescription refilled, reminding me that I need to follow my doctor’s prescribed care. (Never mind that I had discussed with my doctor the discontinuation of the drug since is was not effective). Whose business is it other than mine and my doctor? The worst is feeling powerless while other try to control my life.

    1. Amen. In the questionnaire I took, because my diet is based on modern science and therefore includes no grains (grains are bad) I’m listed at-risk. Also, the survey lumped trans fat (like from potato chips) in with “fatty meats” when asking how many servings a week I ate. Seriously? A steak is not the same thing as a bag of doritos! Get out of my business!

      1. I think some of us just lied and said we were doing what they wanted so we would not be bothered. If I don’t do the minimum requirements, I get kicked off this plan and have to pay a lot more for less coverage on the alternate plan. Screwed all the way around.

      2. All the while, someone is benefiting from the money exchanged. And it usually isn’t us, and now it might not even be the doctors providing the service.

        Get rid of the middle-man.

  2. The thing is, people without insurance – say, you, if you refused because you ‘don’t want it” – sometimes actually DO get sick. After all, no one predicts a car accident, a tumor, an assault, etc. And when they do get sick (or in a car accident, etc) the cost falls on the rest of us tax payers. So, to protect us from paying for your incident, we all get insurance and if something happens, we are all covered. Therefore, it’s not coercion in my book. It’s not a mandate to ‘do good’. It’s calling to account those who, when get hit by a bus, cost society more than they have contributed.

    1. Here is the rub, though. If I chose not to get health coverage, how do you know I haven’t saved up to fund disasters like this? The basic assumption is that I have not, and that is unfair. Secondly, if I have not saved up, and am unable to pay for the healthcare provided, then I shouldn’t get it. I would never cry “FOUL!” if I couldn’t afford eye surgery or heart surgery because I made the choice not to be insured.

    2. And on a different note: we cannot legislate evil out of the world. No matter how many well-meaning laws we pass, evil will still persist. A mom accidentally drops her kid into a wild dog exhibit at the zoo. Immediately laws are passed mandating higher guard rails and more careful parenting. A 3-year-old finds a gun in a closet and shoots himself and the guns owner is arrested and charged with manslaughter.

      We live in an evil world. Bad things will inevitably happen. Now if we give away all of our freedoms and trust a nanny-state to take care of us, we will be less free, and still surrounded by a world of pain, suffering and despair. No amount of legislature can compensate for this.

      Instead, I would see a unified Church stand up and care for the widows and the orphans. A Church that would take seriously its social responsibilities, not just call for legislature for someone else to shoulder the burden given to her.

    3. I think insurance is good and a conscientious person should have the option to avail himself of it to provide for those unforeseen situations I just have a problem with my insurance company compelling me to live a certain prescribed way.

      I’m with Jonathan on personal responsibility. If I chose not to have insurance auto or health, then I must pay for any damages or costs. Health care is not a right. It is something you pay for if and when you need it if you can afford it. It is ok to be sick and not go to a doctor if we don’t have money to pay for it. Just like it is Ok to not have a car if we don’t have money to buy one.

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