2017 Jul 2, 2:51pm
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Now we are engaged in another great civil war. That's what a Republican leader is calling the congressional and national battle over health care. "We have a health care civil war going on," Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday. "It's all about recrimination."
It's also about religion.
Our internecine struggles over health care aren't just about partisan politics and public policy. They are about competing faiths and values largely rooted in different understandings of the gospel.
The personal salvation gospel as exemplified in the life and work of Baptist Billy Graham.
The social gospel as exemplified in the life and work of Baptist Martin Luther King Jr.
Like some members of Congress, some of us believe our salvation -- eternal and economic -- are individual responsibilities. Like other members of Congress, others of us believe salvation is also a collective social responsibility.
Some believe wealth and health and prosperity are signs of God's favor. Others believe wealth, health and prosperity are blessings to be shared with those less fortunate.
Some believe health care is a privilege to be earned, no matter how sick or disabled or old you get. Others believe health care is a human right, no matter how much or little money you make.
That helps to explain why some Republican churchgoers in Congress are defending their health care bills while others are repudiating them as wealth care bills.
Both Republican bills to replace the ACA (Obamacare) clearly take from the poor and give to the rich.
Both bills --the AHCA in the House (Ryancare) and the BCRA in the Senate (McConnellcare) -- take from the weak and give to the strong.
The House bill would take health insurance from 23 million of our most vulnerable. The savings would be used to give the wealthiest among us an extra $592 billion in tax cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican and Catholic, called it "an act of mercy."
Blessed are the millionaires, for they can still afford health care.
The Senate bill would take health insurance away from 22 million people who are poor, mentally ill, disabled or otherwise in need. The savings would be used to give the wealthiest an extra $563 billion in tax cuts, according to the CBO.
"Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told reporters last week.
Blessed are the billionaires desperately searching for relief.
But this isn't just about the mammon. It's also about God. It's about the gospel according to Patrick, Mitch, Lamar and John and other U.S. Senators who drew up the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
It's also about the gospel according to Ted, Mike, Rand and John, and other GOP leaders who oppose the Senate's bill.
Some believe God has a plan for your life and it doesn't include a government-subsidized health care plan. Others believe God's plans for all of our lives include helping each other, sometimes with government assistance.
That's why Ryan and Kasich -- millionaires, Republicans, and churchgoing people of faith -- both believe they are acting on behalf of poor.
As Ryan told the Christian Broadcast Network in April: "The preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don't keep people poor, don't make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life, help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence,"
As Kasich told the National Press Club this week: "We can't pull the rug out from under millions of Americans, including the working poor and those dealing with mental illness, chronic health issues and drug addiction" and redirect tax money "to people who are already very wealthy."
Some of us believe wealth and health and prosperity are signs of God's favor. Others of us believe wealth, health and prosperity are blessings to be shared with those less fortunate. In either case, the stakes are higher than our premiums and deductibles.
"We're talking about lives," Kasich said in April. "We better be careful we're not losing the soul of our country because we're playing politics."
#Healthcare #Religion #Politics