Competing views on healthcare by two immigrant doctors

“Healthcare is a human rights issue,” says Ossy Ekwueme

Campaigns for the mid-term election reveal the popularity of Obamacare even with those who opposed it for 10 years who claim to be interested in protecting citizens with pre-existing health conditions.
Pre-existing health condition could well have been addressed and repaired with a spirit of cooperation for the common good during those 8 years of Obama presidency but some politicians were having none of it. Now, they have recanted because they have been proven wrong. It’s never too late because as novelist Jonathan Swift said: “Falsehood flies and the truth comes limping after…”

This time, it seems the truth caught up with falsehood before it’s too late and that’s why purveyors of the original falsehood are changing their tone as fast as lightning, says Lyn Krakenberger in an opinion piece “Profits before morals” published in the Star News.

My view is that the debasement of moral authority and ethical responsibility can be faulted on all of us. I wonder how many of the people who have recently signed up for insurance have spent the last few years parroting the talking points about “tyranny” of the affordable care act (ACA) aka Obamacare. I am a physician and have followed the debate on health care bills and subscribe to the broader idea of first do no harm. Hippocratic Oath means a lot to most of us, especially the part to do no harm.

More than 137 million Americans saw improvement in their health insurance by expanding coverage for “pre-existing conditions”, ending lifetime caps, making coverage for their offspring up to age 26, and other insurance reforms. A wide swath of the public needed the ACA and found relief. All of the major components of the affordable care act work together and you can’t just kill some of them without messing everything up. Again, the simplest explanation is the joke about a motorist who runs over a pedestrian, then tries to fix the damage by backing up…and runs over the victim a second time.

ACA has been portrayed as collapsing under its own weight, unable to hold down health costs or provide the insurance choices its advocates promised, said David Barnes, Policy Manager for Americans for Prosperity. As a Christian, I was shocked to read it and couldn’t believe it. Jesus did not turn away the sick and infirm. He embraced them and worked his own miracles to make them better. Humankind may not be able to work miracles, but modern medicine and a reasonable amount of money (in the form of taxes and mandates) is sufficient to cure or mitigate a vast amount of suffering.

I read this quote recently, and it couldn’t be more applicable: Stop claiming to be a follower of Jesus if you want a country that doesn’t provide health care to the needy, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values. Jesus Christ said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt: 25:40). But what’s most glaring is the unkindness of all of it, the hatefulness and the ugliness. This reflects a loss of humanity.

The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies (Pope Francis, in Evangeli Gaudium)
Now, let’s throw a spanner in the works of this argument…regarding the higher than expected health costs and subsequent bailing of insurers, wasn’t this attributed to the pent-up demand for medical care of patients? Many had not had medical care for years prior to the ACA. As such, their medical conditions went untreated and were worse, and thus more expensive to treat, than if they had medical care all along.

It somehow seems very odd to claim to be a Christian and to, on the other hand, refuse to fathom little tax increase to help the less privileged get health care. If the population is too sick to profitably insure, then perhaps the private insurance market is not the right model to use. Healthcare for profits is a violation of basic human right. It shouldn’t be a privilege; it should be a right for all!

Thankfully, there is another version of Christianity around, one that actually seems to follow Jesus of Nazareth teachings a little more. The Jesus of the Christian Gospels never complained about Roman taxes being too high, or their big government bureaucracy. In fact, his only complaint about the Roman government was that they oppressed the poor and did too little to help people in poverty. There is nothing about poor being lazy, nothing about the undeserving poor being leeches on the society, nothing about how I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps. He talks of humility and making anonymous donations.

“90% of patients cause their illness”

By David Ilo
Healthcare debate is a good debate. The problem is that the hypocrisy when politicians talk about it. There must be a way to discourage bad behavior and focus on those who are ill, not due to their own fault.

Early sex behavior resulting in self-harm, cigarette smoking resulting in self-harm, drug use resulting in self-harm, obesity resulting in self-harm, alcoholism resulting in self etc. must be discussed and not rewarded. Encouraging bad behavior is also not Christianity
Teaching people sex before marriage or sex without intention to marry is not Christianity too.

There is a link between living a good Christian/religious life and success in life. The government should have a mechanism to teach about the connection between success and acceptable religious life.

No doubt, bad behaviors have caused the country so much despite all the money put out to create awareness. Ninety percent of patients in the US who suffer from chronic illnesses are as a result of self-harm. The other day I had an 18 years old boy who contracted HIV from a prostitute. He is from a single mother. The other 23-year-old boy was gay also from a single mother.
To me, if those things are taken care of, then healthcare will not be a discussion because the government and the people will have enough money to help the rest (that’s people who are sick, not due to their own fault). Recently Obama was promoting gay sex before he left office despite being the major cause of rising HIV in the USA (75 percent of new cases according to Center for Disease Control) Colorado said the use of marijuana is now legal. Last time I checked every study showed marijuana causes permanent brain defect.

Dr. Osy Ekwueme is a Medical Professional and policy analyst (WI.USA) and Dr. David Ilo practices in Indiana.

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