I swear, there must be some kind of conspiracy whereby NPR knows the 15 minutes each week I listen to Marketplace and schedules the programming most likely to give me an aneurism for that time slot.
Anyway, today I caught this bit about the “Christian alternative to Obamacare”. It’s basically a healthcare co-op for Christians, or to put it another way:
“It’s a group of people, in this case Christians, who band together and agree that they want to share one another’s burdens,” says Andrea Miller, medical director for the largest Christian health-insurance alternative, Medi-Share.
Their “case study” is a guy and his wife from Chattanooga who would have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare bills in recent years were it not for this “health sharing ministry.” And there’s some personal attention too, such as:
“The night before my surgery, the lady who’d helped me locate the right providers and everything called me back and said, ‘Would it be OK if I prayed with you for your surgery tomorrow?’”
Three days later, she called back to ask how the surgery went.
Okay, that works for me, I buy into the socialisticky- “see how they love one another” ethos at play. It’s my hippie-dippy version of Christianity at work. Rock on.
Then we get to the requirements of being part of a “Christian healthcare ministry”:
There are a few requirements to fulfill before participating, Miller says. The first is that you have to be Christian. “Second, you need to agree to living a Christian lifestyle, including no smoking, including not abusing alcohol or drugs,” she says.
Yeah, that’s kinda annoying, folks. I missed the part of the Bible where the “Christian lifestyle” is described in those terms. After all, Jesus turned the water into wine (indeed, wine is probably mentioned in the Bible more often than any other foodstuff). But beyond that, there’s a superiority implied by such a statement, as if Christians are somehow healthier/better than non-believers — as if, somehow, Christians are immune to the issues of addiction that plague everyone else.
Really, guys? If Christians did a better job of avoiding substance abuse problems and every other pitfall of the human experience, Christian rehab centers wouldn’t be a booming industry.
And that begs the question: do they not cover rehab services? Mental health services? I’d love to know.
But anyway, I was still ready to give them a pass until we got to this part:
“We do not share in every medical need that a person has,” Miller of Medi-Share says. “Some of the things we don’t share in are related to lifestyle issues, such as an abortion. But others of them are related to things that the members have agreed that they would rather pay for themselves.”
Wait, wut? Abortion is a lifestyle issue? Are you serious?
Calling abortion a “lifestyle issue” is basically buying into the whole judgemental “those sluts must be punished” approach to abortion we always hear from the anti-choice folks. Judge not lest ye be judged, y’all.
Even worse, classifying abortion among the things “members have agreed that they would rather pay for themselves” is really saying, members don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to know when it comes up as an issue and they don’t want to know about it during and after, either. All of that “would it be OK if I prayed with you” stuff is fine for kidney surgery but not fine for abortion, even a necessary one.
In short, they don’t want to hear anything that challenges their pre-ordained idea that abortion only happens to “those people” who live “that way” “over there” in “those places.”
At a time when a family could most use the prayers and support of their community, you’re all agreeing to just shove all that under the rug.
“Christian” healthcare ministry? Pffft.