Sorry, but there are just some things that individuals, businesses, churches, non-profits and civic organizations cannot handle. I wish it weren't so, but it is.
Some problems are just too big. Some issues demand a solution of the whole, from the whole, for the whole.
The moral dilemma is easy to outline.
Modern science can control diabetes. Modern medicine can successfully treat kidney stones, colon cancer and coronary artery disease--just to name a few of the more common maladies that need not snuff out life prematurely these days.
Not everyone can afford to pay for the treatments that can effectively address these health problems. Not everyone has insurance.
People who cannot afford the care end up in the emergency departments of our hospitals. Often these patients receive less than state-of-the-art care. Many receive stop-gap service that includes pain killers before being sent home. Others must wait in line for weeks before consulting with an appropriate specialist. Many times the treatment comes to late to save or even extend life.
The fact is if you can't pay, you don't receive equivalent care.
Is it moral for a nation to have the tools of healing, but to then apply them primarily based on income or ability of a patient to pay? Is it moral to build a healing system primarily on the back of market forces?
In our community-based clinic we see many patients who cannot pay. We treat hard working men who have been sent home from emergency rooms loaded up with antibiotics and pain killers to treat kidney stones. I recall one man who finally lost all kidney function thanks to the inadequate treatment he received only because he was poor.
Many otherwise kind individuals consider healthcare a luxury, a privilege and not a fundamental human right. I've had more than one person deliver this message in almost exactly those words. Each claimed to be a person of deep faith and serious piety.
The faith taught by the Hebrew prophets and Jesus ought to lead us in a very different direction. Their teachings have led previous generations down a completely different path, all in the name of faith.
Health, wellness and healthcare present us with huge and very expensive challenges today.
Our common challenge calls for a collective response. What is needed is an enormous new strategy. What is called for is honesty and realism. What is called for is leadership, unselfishness, community development and courage in the face of greed and discrimination.
Withholding care when it is available is not only unfair and cruel, it is immoral.
Life is a fundamental human right.