as some of you may have heard, my wife was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. it is rare for young woman to have breast cancer, but we are committed to beating this thing and growing old and cranky together. we welcome and appreciate your prayers for the next few months.
but i want to say a word about health care, from a very personal standpoint.
as committed political centrists, carol and i have been divided on the health care issue. we felt everyone should be able to get cared for, but know that some people are not willing to care for themselves, making it harder and more expensive for everyone else. we knew that more people needed access to health care, but also knew that health care itself was broken. we had conversations about the topic, tossed ideas back and forth, but ultimately didn’t really feel convicted one way or another.
until this week – let me give some context:
i left my position as a pastor of a church in virginia at the end of may, but Open Door Presbyterian Church graciously extended my health insurance until the end of july, when my insurance would begin with my current denomination. this was an act of sheer generosity…but may end up saving my wife’s life, and our financial future.
had they not done that, had there been a gap in coverage even for a period of one month, carol’s breast cancer would have been identified as a pre-existing condition and would not have been covered by our insurer. she would have been a young mother of two, a wife of a pastor, fighting breast cancer without insurance. she would have had to fight two battles: yes, against cancer, but also against a host of issues that should never be on the mind of someone trying to overcome this disease, questions about the quality of her care, and the financial impact that the best care would have on our family and our daughters. and in fact, our current insurer was NOT going to pay for any surgery or treatment, that is until we provided the proof that our insurance had been continuous and shoved it in their faces.
we are not deadbeats, sucking the care system dry with false claims or careless lifestyle. we have been vigilant with our health, and vigilant about always providing health insurance for our family – in fact, i had to turn down a pastorship because they were not willing to provide health insurance for my family.
BUT ANY SYSTEM WHERE YOU AREN’T COVERED FOR SO-CALLED “PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS” BECAUSE YOU DROPPED HEALTH CARE FOR THE BRIEFEST OF MOMENTS IS FUNDAMENTALLY INHUMAN.
so, i have seen the light: health care reform needs to happen. health care in its current state is an amoral legal/medical machine that has very little to do with “care” in the least. it is an industry that fulfills its legal and financial requirements, rather than its human and moral ones. universal health coverage and reform are good first steps in fixing the system that is supposed to fix us when we need it the most, especially the dread pre-existing condition clause. it should have the backing of every american, but especially that substantial subset of americans who claims that their neighbor’s good is as important as their own.
don’t listen to those who fearmonger about government intervention in health care, and Palinesque “death panels” – they can’t be any more frightening than the actuaries that the insurance companies are using to make sure that only $.60 of every dollar we spend on insurance actually goes to caring for our health, the rest going to pad their pockets.
don’t think that this would never happen to you either, that your insurance will never fail you when you need it most. because believe me, you never know when you will find yourself just about to be ground in the gears of a machine that doesn’t give a rat’s ass that your wife’s life hangs in the balance – God knows that i didn’t think it would happen to us.
support health care reform now, for the sake of all uninsured…which might be you someday.
and to Pastor Paul Kim and the elders board of Open Door Presbyterian Church – thank you, a thousand times over. your small act of generosity has become a wellspring to my family in a very dry time.