There is one thing that enables all of us to maintain our health. This is health insurance. For some of you, going to the doctor may be a nuisance, for others, it could be a necessity. Unfortunately, for many, it is simply not a reality.
James 2:15 says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (TNIV). Well, what if someone were to be without health insurance? What if you were without health insurance? Have you ever classified it as a physical need? Ask a family with four children working for minimum wage; ask the family whose bread-winner has been stricken with a fatal illness. Ask yourself what would happen if you an injury that forced you out of a job? These scenarios are common. The truth is, over 45 million people are uninsured (according the Kaiser Family Foundation, www.kff.org).
As a society, we have grown accustomed to clothing drives, homeless shelters and soup kitchens as means to serve the poor. Yet when it comes to physical needs, health care is a need that has at times flown under the radar.
So who are the uninsured? They are American citizens who make up the working, poor and most recently, the lower middle-class. Fifty-five percent of the uninsured have a family member working full or part–time. Adults are more likely than children to go without insurance thanks to public health programs. Minorities make up a higher percentage of uninsured than Caucasians (www.kff.org).
I am passionate about health care not because of what I studied, not because of my politics but because of my faith. One’s quality of life should not be contingent upon their economic status. It is not okay that a CEO has a longer life span than the construction workers who built the building or that a manager’s projected life span is longer than the workers that make his or her position possible—not when we have the resources to change this.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (TNIV). Although this verse did not specify a health plan, I find the fight for health care in between the lines. Between the words hope and future lay the lives of each one of us. The loss of one’s health can shatter one’s hope and future in one blow when there is no means for care.
While a bill for universal health care may never pass, there is hope. Here in Champaign, Illinois a group of churches and hospitals have joined forces to form the Champaign County Christian Health Center. Their mission is to love their neighbors by providing free health care services. What makes them unique from other free clinics is their holistic approach. This means that their teams of volunteers target the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of all who enter their doors. It is a great way to meet the needs of the community and to partner with others who may or may not share the same beliefs, but share the same passion—health care for all.
Free clinics are a grassroots way of fighting the problem. Nationally, one can vote for reform, write to their congressman or join any number of organizations for health care reform.
The uninsured are a growing population fighting an uphill battle against those with power, money and political favor. The opposition also happens to be the ones with good health insurance. There is one thing that must outlive the health and wealth of those fighting to protect their financial interests—our voices.
For more information about the health care crisis, check out the Kaiser Family Foundation at www.kff.org.