Here’s a post from Not Dead Yet from November, entitled Health Care: “People Like Me” – Ben Mattlin Reflects On Being Disabled and the Health Care Debate: http://notdeadyetnewscommentary.blogspot.com/2009/12/health-care-people-like-me-ben-mattlin.html
Note: Ben Mattlin also has a blog of his own. http://benmattlin.blogspot.com/
Without a doubt we need changes in our health care system in the U.S. But it would be prudent to consider what changes are in the works. In the video below, a congresswoman from Minnesota quotes some of our current Administration’s advisors. And their words, if they are not taken out of context, should be of great concern to people with disability and their friends: Obama Health Care Adviser: “Doctors Take the Hippocratic Oath Too Seriously” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmX-Do9dCkc&feature=related#watch-main-area
Admittedly, this is the only thing I’ve seen and heard from this congresswoman; and there is some question as to whether some of the most outrageous quotes (“medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled”) were taken out of context. Apparently, Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the President’s chief health care advisors, wrote this in a scholarly paper describing the views of communitarians- not necessarily his own view.
Here is an article co-authored by Ezekiel Emanuel, along with Govind Persad and Alan Werthheimer, entitled Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/17645393/Principles-for-allocation-of-scar [Lancet 2009; 373: 423-31 Department of Biothics, The Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD USA (G Persad BS, A wetheimer PhD, E J Emanuel MD)]
This a carefully nuanced article, providing a number of ethical options, declaring each one in itself inadequate, and calling, in the end, for a “coherent multi-principled framework.” To get a feel for its drift, one probably should read it a few times.
The issue here is health care rationing, which would effect disproportionately people with disabilities.
Here’s a video, more recent, from a more liberal source on health care rationing in the health care bill (there is some raw language in this one) It Turns Out There is Rationing in the Health Care Bill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn5xG1DDHwQ&feature=PlayList&p=B69BD7F16523ABA2&index=4
We spend our resources on what we value. If we take the words of Jesus concerning the least of these in St. Matthew 25 seriously, we, as a people, will investigate thoroughly all the stories out there about the denial of treatments, therapies, and medicines to individuals and certain groups of individuals, (such as “the least of these“ according to human estimations) and correct inhumane practices, making the changes that are needed, as a people.
Love hopes all things. (1 Corinthians 13) But the U.S.A. is not the Kingdom of God. May God grant that St. Matthew 25:31-46 would become our society’s bottom line, rather than the Gross National Product. We’re not put here to pile up stuff, but to take care of one another. I am not wise enough to proscribe how. If our “collective heart” was right, we wouldn’t need a government solution. But can we fix our “collective heart”* politically, coming up with wise boundaries in these matters, our leaders acting free of political and financial self-interest? This is the vehicle for societal change that is in place.
*(The subjects under scrutiny in St. Matthew 25:31-46 are not individuals, but nations, at least according to a literal reading of Jesus’ words. And so the matter of our “collective heart” is not without import.)
Even as love hopes all things, we also know, from St. John’s 1st epistle, that the whole world is in the power of the evil one. But the good news is that he has been defeated. ”Thanks be to God, for He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15)
Whether or not Matthew 25 is our society’s bottom line, it remains eternally our Orthodox Christian bottom line.
And so we pray, (to our God, the ultimate source of meaningful change) and do what we can, according to our perception of His will, in His strength.