Health Care
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Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Health Care...The reason for the season on 12/30/2009 13:24:10 MST Print View

As I've been backpacking the last week, I've been thinking about this topic some more, especially as it relates to the Christmas season. I am a non-Christian in the sense that I don't believe that Jesus was the son of God. However, I DO believe that Jesus (and many other prophets of the past) was a very enlightened and spiritual person (and charismatic!). To the extent that America was founded on Christian principles, and so many Americans are up in arms because of the loss of phrases such as "in God we trust" and "one nation under GOD", it amazes me and disturbs me that America struggles with universal health care. All you really need to do WRT health, education and welfare is to ask yourself "What would Jesus do?" He was all about healing the sick, feeding the hungry and educating the ignorant. He put others first, and did not seek material wealth for himself. Compassion was the name of the game. Of course, it ended up getting him murdered, but that gave us a reason for another holiday!

Anyway, Happy holidays to you all, and may 2010 find you healthy and happy.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Health Care on 12/30/2009 17:34:40 MST Print View

Lynn, wow, what a light-hearted and delightful well-wishing for the new year! ;-)

Happy New Year to you all! (it will be in 15 hours here)

I don't know enough about the American system to be able to contribute a lot of facts, but I do know that I would probably not be able to afford to take care of my Type 1 diabetes if I lived in the States. The stress alone from having to deal with such high costs would be sure to add to my disease getting worse, thus driving costs up even more.

In reading a lot of the comments about big companies and preventative care I wondered, albeit more in fantasy land than reality, if those big companies ought to be charged for any practices they engage in that cause a lot of today's health care problems... things like pollution (cancer, asthma, emphysema), bad nutrition (Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease), bad living environments (ADHD, hypertension, depression, addiction to cottage manufacturer UL gear). Surely the average taxpayer shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of practices that the big companies insist on that cause all the health problems?

Would that ever happen? Hah! Not in a million years!

I agree with the requirement that every citizen should do exercise one hour a day or they pay out of their own pockets for any lifestyle diseases. I always get annoyed with people who complain they can't do exercise because it is too hard. Personally I have no choice; diabetes can only be controlled if exercise is an unquestioned part of my daily life. I don't have any excuses. It's not always easy, but if I don't want to get the awful complications that diabetes threatens me with I have no choice.

Preventative medicine should be a part of every health care plan in the world. And so should proper and comprehensive education on the subject of prevention.

Edited by butuki on 12/30/2009 17:37:54 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Health Care on 12/30/2009 17:45:51 MST Print View

"Preventative medicine should be a part of every health care plan in the world. And so should proper and comprehensive education on the subject of prevention."

+10!

Proper nutrition + proper, consistent exercise, and teaching of same beginning in grade school, would cut medical costs in the USA by at least 50%, IMO.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Health Care...The reason for the season on 12/30/2009 20:42:25 MST Print View

America was founded by men of the enlightenment, deist, Freemasons and the like. Democratic Republics are a pagan idea. Look to the Vatican or medieval feudal Europe to see a nation built on Christianity.
Christmas is not "Christian" its roots are ancient (Yule Tide) and its modern variation was meant to be a more or less secular family holiday. Religious people just like to make everything religious. And "God" In God we trust is not any one religions "God" it was to show our freedom of religion in contrast to marxist states which has no such freedoms. And every one in the US knows we have a problem with our health care -no one believes there should be people who suffer because they can't afford it- nobody. Thats just political propaganda like -the other side has no compassion my side is more enlightened ect... People just disagree on how it should be done.
Happy New Year!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Health Care...The reason for the season on 12/31/2009 11:52:39 MST Print View

""God" In God we trust is not any one religions "God" it was to show our freedom of religion in contrast to marxist states which has no such freedoms."

As a buddhist who does not believe in God, I would disagree, as I'm sure would many of the folks from polytheistic religions (any Hindus in the crowd?)or atheists.

For better or for worse, the morality and therefore laws that the US operate under, are Christian based. Americans have rights as far as they do not break the moral code of Christians as set out in US law.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . ."

So we have creationism in the very fabric of the constitution.

And then there are the polygamy laws...

"And every one in the US knows we have a problem with our health care -no one believes there should be people who suffer because they can't afford it- nobody."

Perhaps, but this thread was spawned by another thread where a poster implied that those who don't pay taxes should not sponge off free clinics, and where that poster rubbed the likes of unemployed folks noses in it by letting us know that they we OK due to her husband's good health cover. This certainly came across as "I'm OK therefore the system is OK, shame on you if you're not OK".

"People just disagree on how it should be done."

Yeah, I get that. My belief is that, as a predominantly Christian nation with Christian morals this should be the easiest social problem for America to solve. Heal the sick. Educate them to stay well. Pay for it out of taxes. As Miguel suggests, a lot of those taxes can come directly from bad habits and foods. Give people bonuses for good health, tax junk foods, subsidise healthy choices, especially for the poor etc...and throw money at prevention from day one at school. Please don't leave health care to the private sector! Giving folks compulsory health insurance is not the same as giving them health care.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Health care on 12/31/2009 12:41:30 MST Print View

" And "God" In God we trust is not any one religions "God" it was to show our freedom of religion in contrast to marxist states which has no such freedoms."

I didn't know Karl Marx was that old! :)

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Health care on 12/31/2009 23:59:26 MST Print View

I didn't know Karl Marx was that old! :)'

Ah, yes I got our money mixed up with the changes in our National Anthem in which "under God was added..


But no, saying "Creator" does not make it Christan. Creator can be the big bang if you choose. The US has a majority religion but no state religion and most Christian are nominal only. Again you have to look at Medieval feudal society to see a Christian government (or a Buddhist).
Our Gov buildings and structure are modeled after the ancient Greeks not the Cathedrals. Sure you can find terms that fit nicely with Christianity like "God" instead of "Goddess" or "universal power" but lets be realistic how else would an 18th century person put it? And its strange that we Americans are trying to find a way to fix our sytem because we can see that the system is flawed and yet people treat us like we don't think we have a problem and need convincing?

Matt Holmes
(mholmes) - F

Locale: North Texas- Fort Worth
if socialized medicine is so great, why do canadian politicians come here on 01/01/2010 00:25:04 MST Print View

Read this story below. See the interesting thing is that I work with a few Canadians who have said many times their health care system is terrible. They could not get appointments, poor care, and plenty of rationing. Plus, the backroom deals, i.e. Nebraska and Ben Nelson are against our Constitution. Why should one state get a deal so their Senator will vote for the bill? Obviously because the bill is a piece of garbage that cannot stand on its on merit. Oh yeah, I the military system, that I have heard is a shining example, sure if you have a cold. Good luck with major problems, my son was misdiagnosed for two years. Anyway, to each your own, but remember, if you don't get any health care, you can go to jail!

The article:
Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, who is battling breast cancer, travelled to California last June for an operation that was recommended as part of her treatment, says a report.

Stronach's spokesman, Greg MacEachern, told the Toronto Star that the MP for Newmarket-Aurora had a "later-stage" operation in the U.S. after a Toronto doctor referred her.

"Belinda had one of her later-stage operations in California, after referral from her personal physicians in Toronto. Prior to this, Belinda had surgery and treatment in Toronto, and continues to receive follow-up treatment there," said MacEachern.

He said speed was not the reason why she went to California.

Instead, MacEachern said the decision was made because the U.S. hospital was the best place to have it done due to the type of surgery required.

Stronach was diagnosed last spring with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The cancer is one of the more treatable forms but Stronach still required a mastectomy -- which was done in Toronto -- and breast reconstruction.

Stronach, who announced last April she would be leaving politics before the next election, paid for the surgery in the U.S., reports the Star.

"As we said back in June when we confirmed the surgery, this is a personal and private matter between Belinda, her family and her physicians. I think you'll understand that because of respect for Belinda's privacy, we refrained from offering specific details around her medical treatment," said MacEachern.

While it is rare for MPs to seek treatment outside Canada, MacEachern said Stronach was not lacking confidence in the system.

"In fact, Belinda thinks very highly of the Canadian health-care system, and uses it when needed for herself and her children, as do all Canadians. As well, her family has clearly demonstrated that support," MacEachern told the Star.

MacEachern did not offer any other details regarding what type of surgery Stronach had or what she paid for it.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: if socialized medicine is so great, why do canadian politicians come here on 01/01/2010 01:27:49 MST Print View

Not to get into a tit for tat. I think very highly of American doctors. But having traveled over seas and receiving very fine and in some cases better medical care I think this point is sometimes exaggerated. This article was published in the SF chronicle a couple of weeks ago. Link here.

Medical tourism: '5-star' care at a discount
Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Monday, December 21, 2009

Critics of health care reform often point to desperate Canadians who head south for surgery to escape waiting lists. But a bigger trend points in the opposite direction: Americans heading overseas to escape the exorbitant cost of U.S. care.

Former Mill Valley resident John Freeman, 61, now living in Reno, needed a coronary bypass. He had dropped his catastrophic insurance coverage because the $320 monthly premium was eroding his retirement savings and the $5,000 deductible left him with big bills.

Facing a $100,000-plus operation, he thought he had two choices: "submit or die."

A friend pointed him to a third: World Med Assist of Concord, which lined him up with a heart surgeon in Turkey. The all-inclusive cost: $18,000. He had the surgery last spring and "unreservedly" recommends the care.

...

Deloitte Consulting estimated that 560,000 U.S. residents went abroad for care last year. The firm thinks that number will rise to 1.6 million by 2012, with patients getting discounts of up to 90 percent on procedures from liver transplants to hip resurfacing.

...

Edited by nschmald on 01/01/2010 01:35:21 MST.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Why do Americans let health insurance companies ration care on 01/01/2010 02:09:02 MST Print View

To follow up, the American medical system works well for those who can afford it. It works very well for the rich and powerful. I recently heard a story on NPR about a member of the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) who came to the US for a liver transplant. Rather than being arrested he was bumped ahead of all the American's who were waiting for a liver.

Also missed is the fact that care is rationed in the US by insurance companies. When my grandmother was in the hospital with back surgery it was an insurance company rep who came not a doctor who had final say in approving care.

Not to mention the 20000 people per year who die in large part because they lack health insurance.

So we already have rationing imposed by unaccountable insurance executives.

No system is perfect and I'm sure Canada has it flaws. Brian said that nobody was arguing that we should do nothing. Well, the Republicans did just that when they controlled the white house and both branches of congress. The Republican counter proposal released a few months ago would insure less than 10% of the currently uninsured. I would call that doing nothing.

The mandate requiring everyone to buy insurance is a tough pill to swallow. But most would say that someone with a preexisting condition should be able to get insurance, and someone who has insurance should not lose it just because they got sick. If we put those laws in place without a mandate there is no reason for anyone who is healthy to buy insurance. Cheaper to wait until your sick. This would explode costs and bankrupt health insurance companies. So the mandate is the trade off. I haven't heard anyone come up with an alternative workable solution.

The Republicans didn't include a mandate in their proposal. They also didn't include a provision for those with preexisting conditions to get insurance. Again basically doing nothing.

Happy New Year Everyone!! I hope it finds you in good health!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Health care on 01/01/2010 03:50:00 MST Print View

My point, which is easily lost in a chaff forum, is that Jesus was someone I think is worth emulating, even if you don't worship him. Same could be said of Buddha or many other prophets. You do not need to be Christian to do the Christian thing, and if you ARE a Christian then it is your moral obligation to do the Christian thing.

"But no, saying "Creator" does not make it Christan. Creator can be the big bang if you choose. The US has a majority religion but no state religion and most Christian are nominal only."

Christianity is responsible even for secular institutions such as democracy and science. It has fostered in our civilization values such as respect for human dignity, human rights and human equality that even secular people cherish. The preciousness and equal worth of every human life is a Christian idea. We are equal because we have been created equal in the eyes of God. This is an idea with momentous consequences. In ancient Greece and Rome, human life had very little value. The Spartans, for example, left weak children to die on the hillside. Greek and Roman culture was built on slavery.

Christianity banned infanticide and the killing of the weak and "dispensable," and even today Christian values are responsible for the moral horror we feel when we hear of such practices.

Consider finally modern notions of human rights — the right to freedom of conscience, or to property, or to marry and form a family, or to be treated equally before the law — as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The universalism of this declaration is based on the particular teachings of Christianity. The premise is that all human lives have equal dignity and worth, but this is not the teaching of all the world's cultures and religions.

America's Christian Roots

52 of the 55 signers of America's Declaration of Independence were orthodox, deeply committed Christians. The other three all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of Scripture, and His personal intervention.


It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of Scripture for the people of this nation.

Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, "Give me liberty or give me death." But in current textbooks the context of these words is deleted. Here is what he actually said: "An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."

These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. Was Patrick Henry a Christian? The following year, 1776, he wrote this "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."

Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well-worn Bible: "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator." He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.

On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."

In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools."

William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the "Schoolmaster of the Nation."

Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: "The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology."

Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments. James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: '"We have staked the whole future of our new nation not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."

Today, we are asking God to bless America. But, how can He bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him? Prior to September 11, 2001, He was not welcome in America. Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks. Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country's Christian roots.

RE: Canadian health care
Those most resistant to humanistic health care love to point out the Canadian or NHS in Britain as reasons why socialised health can't work. Why pick the worst examples to make the point? Why not look at Japan, or Australia, or New Zealand where universal health care is guaranteed and funded out of taxes, but Private health insurance can still be bought or used as a non-taxable employment incentives if you want shorter waiting times or a private room with sky TV. It works, and costs a lot less than what Americans (those that can afford it) are paying. It is a very fair system in that those with spare money have the option to buy better healthcare, but the basic care on offer to everyone for free/cheap is pretty good most of the time. There may never be a 'perfect' system, especially as technology continues to push the costs of health care up faster than the general cost of living. Rationing will always be needed at some level, whether you have an insurance system of health care or a government funded system.

Edited by retropump on 01/01/2010 04:37:06 MST.

Matt Holmes
(mholmes) - F

Locale: North Texas- Fort Worth
re: health care on 01/01/2010 07:49:22 MST Print View

Understand both points that were made, however, my focus in this discussion is more of the current bill that is trying to be forced through our Congress. If anyone asks me, I will give a yes to the question that everyone in the US needs health care. However, I do not think that it is a right. I do not think I should have to pay more money in taxes to cover others (Yes, I know, others can make the arguement that I am already paying for those without insurance.)
It is mainly this bill that leaves 25,000,000 still uninsured, ensures that my taxes go to cover abortions (which I find immorale), and is loaded with a bunch of payouts to bribe reps to pay for it. If it is so important to get this bill passed because we need health care reform immediately, then why don't most of the benefits start until 2014? Why is there no medical malpractice reform?
Why would Congress not want the same plan as the one they pass for the citizens they supposedly represent?

This bill needs to be done away with. We need serious people who actually care about reforming health care and not just making the public more dependent on the government to devise a plan that works. My opinion, let capitalism run its course. Get rid of some of the laws that prohibit selling insurance across state lines. You want affordable health insurance, open up the market for everyone to select the plan they want to buy. That is what I do for my car and life insurance. I want to be able to compare plans, companies, rates, everything about the plan and then make an intelligent decision. Open this opportunity up to everyone. If you choose to not purchase health care by your own free will, then you must pay for your treatment, if you cannot pay, then you don't get the treatment. That is your choice. Can't afford it, okay, I have no problem with a government hand out, but only if you want it. If you pass this up to, well.......sorry about your decisions in life. The most important thing to me is the freedom to choose how I live my life.

Anyway, that is my two cents fwiw. The best thing about this country is the fact we can disagree, have a civil discussion, and still hit a trail together.

I hope everyone has a wonderful new year with a lot of great new gear and plenty of long hikes.

Gregg Martell
(gmartell) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Insurance reform on 01/01/2010 10:15:25 MST Print View

Some thoughts. Yes, the laws preventing selling insurance across state lines should be done away with. You should be able to shop around for the best plan for your needs, whether that's coverage or costs.

The big issue I see is that insurance companies, the drug companies, and hosiptals are all for profit and the you are the tool to make lots of money for their true customers - the stock holders. I know there are lots of arguments against this especially drug development. Drug companies don't give a rats @ss about you or me, they develop drugs that they can sell to everyone one and make the most money. Just look at all the TV commericals - if you have these symptons you may have x disease, ask your doctor for y drug and you will be well. If I have something is a real health or quality of life issue, you are already seeing a doctor and getting medication, if its available (and you have insurance). How many people go to see a doctor about something they may have because they saw a drug company ad and don't have it. That cost you, your insurance company money and waste the doctors time. Not good for anybody, but hey the drug companies may make another sale!

Yes, they need to recoup their development costs, but they research drugs that make them the most money, not necessarily the ones that may make the biggest difference in peoples lives. They don't even want to make drugs that are good for everyone if doesn't make enough money. Look at the almost complete loss of vacine manufacturing in the US. We don't have the ability to make the drugs that could save a large group of people if there was a big outbreak. H1N1 could have been much worse.

Companies can be non-profit and make lots of money and then spend it better, without having to answer to the shareholders. Pay your employees better, put money into helping your true customer - the sick person, and to the community. We have a local non-profit hosipital that makes so much money it doesn't know what to do with it all. It's exapanding it's clinics, building speciality hospitals, and even paying it's fair share to the local municipalities, by paying in-lieu payments because they are non-profits and don't have to pay taxes. They believe in helping the community. The Mayo clinic is also a good example of what a non-profit can do.

I have a friend who has to use a significantly higher priced HMO over her company's other plan due to lifetime caps. She takes a very expensive medication (+$25K/year) that really eats into her lifetime max. Being in her mid-40's she wouldn't use all of her lifetime max, but if she had one expensive disease (read cancer) that eats a good chunk of it in one shot, she could. Since this is a lifetime medicine and it's cost will surely rise, she has to be very cogizinat of hitting that number.

Both bills eliminate the lifetime maximum, so she will be able to go to her employer's lower cost insurance and save big $$/year. Will her employer's lower cost insurance go up to do the changes - yes, but only to the cost of actual coverage to all members. It's an employer owned insurance company - that doesn't make a profit! Only needs to cover it costs and no more.

Edited by gmartell on 01/01/2010 10:35:15 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: health care on 01/01/2010 10:22:47 MST Print View

I don't understand. Why are Americans so unwilling to pay for social health care, but seem to have little problem paying far higher taxes for the military? In fact, I have almost never heard anyone complain about the "socialist" nature of the American military, but a great number of people won't even consider a basic social health care system. The irony is deafening.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Theocratic America on 01/01/2010 16:36:40 MST Print View

But, Lynn, democracy predates Christianity by at least half a millenium. I must agree that Christianity's "all men created equal" ethos did (eventually) contribute to the development of liberal western philosophies such as the Enlightenment.

Out of curiosity, who are the three founding fathers who weren't orthodox Christians? Because I would put that number a lot higher than three. Many wouldn't even "qualify" as Christians according to modern Evalgelicals and Fundamentalists because many were deists but, like you, did not believe that Jesus Christ was (a) God. Washington and Jefferson, among others, were deists. Heck, Jefferson had the audacity to edit his own version of the Bible in which he removed anything that seemed magical or miraculous. (I mentioned that before, didn't I?) In fact, Lynn, the very Jefferson quote you mentioned above was if read in it's entirety and in context an affirmation that Jesus Christ was NOT (a) God. Instead, Jefferson was defining a "True Christian" as someone who followed the TEACHINGS of Jesus as opposed to someone who thought that he was (a) God. His surviving letters are VERY explicit about this. Thus he was primarily interested in established historical facts about Jesus and records of the actual words he spoke, without all of the mysticism- and thus his edition of the Bible.

The modern Fundamentalist movement wasn't founded until the nineteen centuery. Thus the Congressional Bible resolution that you mentioned. But the U.S. wasn't FOUNDED that way. It may have de facto operated as a Christian nation early in its history, but the Enlightenment was definitely present in the way the Constitution and other documents were phrased. I do not consider MINISTER William H. McGuffey an authority on this matter. He obviously had his biases- as do we all. :o) But I think that he was talking about American society more than American government, anyway. Undoubtedly, the U.S. has strong Christian roots- but its government, while a child of the (arguably Christian) Enlightenment, was never meant to be a watered-down theocracy.

Patrick Henry, OTOH, was indeed a bit of a Christian crusader- and in fact he annoyed a lot of the other Founding Fathers with his zealotry. But then he didn't sign the Constitution, did he? He refused to attend, because he didn't like the way that he saw the Convention heading. Though in his defense he WAS instrumental in forcing the adoption of the Bill of Rights, because he thought that the Constitution gave too much power to the federal government and feared that the presidency would devolve into a monarchy. But he was a orator and firebrand more than a politician, though, despite serving (badly) as governor of Virginia at one point.

Almost all of the surviving writings of the Founding Fathers affirm that the U.S. was not meant to be a Christian nation, per se, though it's populace was majority Christian. This was, in fact, written into law (again) in the form of the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797, signed by President Adams, and duely ratified by congress:

"...the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

Of course, several of the other Barbary Treaties mention God incessantly- but those ones were composed by the Barbary States involved rather than a U.S. diplomat, and usually in Turkish... But most of the quotations thrown about that are meant to support the proposition that the U.S. was meant from its inception to be a Christian nation are almost always taken out of context, or were musings upon American society and NOT government. When one examines the musings actually regarding the establishment of the U.S. government this house of cards collapses.

Speaking of Adams, he was indeed a devout Unitarian, as you mentioned. But, recall, Unitarians don't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. They believed he was a divinely inspired prophet, like Moses- a majority belief among Christians until the fourth century. Or, alternately, some believed that he was some demigod-like entity superior to humans and angels but still subordinate to God. (Adams, it appears, was in the "human prophet" camp.) As their name implies, they believed in a Unity, and denied the Trinity. They believe that the doctrine of the Trinity does violence to the proposition that there is but one God. In fact they have been defined as "Christian deists." There are some modern branches of Unitarianism that don't consider THEMSELVES Christians. Adams once wrote that the world might be better off with no religion in it- then admittedly backed down from that statement a bit, because as bad as was a world with religion, he feared that one without it might be worse.

Well... Honestly, all of the Founding Fathers were undoubtably devout at one Christian sect or another. They couldn't be powerful men if they weren't. It's just that many of those sects had belief systems that are a bit... unexpected... to our modern Evangelical/Fundamentalist-influenced sensibilities.

Washington was almost certainly a deist, despite self- serving propaganda to the contrary spead by parson Mason Weems in his fraudulent biography and propagated ever since. When put to the question after Washington's death, one of Washington's own pastors said that though it pained him to admit it he had to answer honestly- Washington was a deist.

Speaking of honesty- for the record- in addition to Patrick Henry a few more Founding Fathers who were very orthodox Christians include John Jay, Samuel Adams, and Elias Boudinot. In addition, a lot of the deistic Founding Fathers had, oddly, extremely orthodox spouses. (It has been proposed by scholars- very convincingly- that social forces of the time tended to push women of that social stratum heavily towards orthodoxy. They could gain some small influence through their churches, but were otherwise almost powerless in public life.) But these were still almost all men of the Enlightenment- thus no established religion in the U.S. (Several states, OTOH, did have established state religions. In Virginia it was Anglicanism and in much of New England it was the Congregationalist Church of the Puritans, for instance. Rhode Island and Pennsylvania stand out as bastions of tolerance.)

Can you tell that colonial and revolutionary American history is one of my little hobbies? :o)

Anyway, I remain a BIG Bill of Rights guy- tip of my hat to ol' Patrick Henry- to include Freedom of Religion. I will die to defend any American's right to believe what they want to believe. But I'm also a stalwart champion of the Separation of Church and State, because it is the only possible way that a non-theocracy can operate fairly. (Yes, capital letters.) And I do not wish to live in a theocracy. They tend to be brutal and repressive.

So, in brief, IMO the U.S. government is more accurately thought of as based upon Enlightenment thought than based upon Christian thought, per se.

I LOVE talking about religion. I find it fascinating. And, often, I learn something new that fits in with my personal beliefs. I understand if others refrain, though, for fear of fanning flames...

I'll back you up, though, that a LOT of people who call themselves Christian behave in an exceedingly un-Christian fashion. Usually, they are the superior, obnoxious, self-righteous ones, too. I generally try to annoy them at any opportunity, but it never works, because they KNOW that they are righteous...

Edited by acrosome on 01/01/2010 18:45:24 MST.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Health Care on 01/01/2010 20:04:13 MST Print View

I live in MA where Universal health care was started ( by the Republican Romney). Its basically just a law that said you must get health insurance or you will be fined. So I don't have insurance because I can't afford it and just don't want the extra bill every month. Lots of people do the same especially the young and healthy. Now I know I could have a fatal disease as I type no matter how much I try to take care of myself. But you can't afford what you can't afford.
Needless to say I really didn't like this universal health care for those reasons. It seems like a scam to force the poor ( or those who just don't want it) to pay into insurance companies largely to pay for the indigence in junk food and drugs as well as the apathy of the public at large.
Now they do have a state insurance for those that can't afford it but its just a low rent low quality insurance and why bother when there are free clinics for us anyways?
But I m coming around to this idea of a universal Government health plan. I know people say they fear bureaucrats taking control over their health care -but is it any different in private care? The problem is recently citizens who had concerns and questions about how it would work where demonized in the media and politicians simply wouldn't or couldn't answer some of them. And I think this is why if failed.
I still like the idea of a private insurance for preventative medicine and a tax paid system for expensive surgery and medications. This way the bill is split between private and government insurance and citizens don't go broke because they get sick.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Health care on 01/01/2010 20:09:11 MST Print View

Message deleted. Sorry for the outbust, folks.

Happy New Year and Happy Hiking to one and all.

Edited by ouzel on 01/01/2010 20:21:03 MST.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Selling insurance across state lines on 01/01/2010 21:20:16 MST Print View

There have been a number of points raised that I would like to agree with.

The first is that we should be able to buy insurance across state lines. There have been 2 basic proposals for doing this.

One is to simply allow insurance companies from another state to sell insurance in other states. The insurance company would be subject to the laws in their home state. This would allow insurance companies to shop for the most hospitable state regulators. I'll sell from your state if and give you my tax dollars if you stay out of my way. Insurance regulators from the home state of the insured would have no authority to do anything since it's not in their state.

The bill passed by the House sets up a national exchange regulated by the federal government. One of the key regulations would be disclosing certain information such as:
(i) Claims payment policies and practices.
(ii) Periodic financial disclosures.
(iii) Data on enrollment.
(iv) Data on disenrollment.
(v) Data on the number of claims denied.
(vi) Data on rating practices.
(vii) Information on cost sharing payments with respect to any out-of-network coverage.
(viii) Information on enrollee and participant rights under this title.
(ix) Other information as determined appropriate by the Secretary.

I personally would like very much to know the percentage of claims denied when I'm shopping for health insurance.

Having complete and comparable information on a wide range of plans would make the increased competition meaningful in a way that the state based plan outlined above does not.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Health Care on 01/02/2010 08:46:16 MST Print View

Is it really in the interest of a states population to have their access to health care controlled by a panel of corporate bean counters in another state ?

Once all the insurance companies are located in the state with the best tax breaks and fewest regulations, will health care really improve ?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Health Care on 01/02/2010 12:57:55 MST Print View

"Needless to say I really didn't like this universal health care for those reasons. It seems like a scam to force the poor ( or those who just don't want it) to pay into insurance companies largely to pay for the indigence in junk food and drugs as well as the apathy of the public at large."

Brian, that is NOT universal health care, it's just compulsory insurance. Insurance is not health care. And that is why the current health reform bill is destined to fail, as it makes no provision for health care. However I agree with your sentiments that you do not want to subsidise others unhealthy lifestyle choices, but rather than deny them health care, I say tax those bad habits to the hilt.

Dean, your intimate knowledge of American political history simply astounds me. I should just simplify my earlier sentiment and say that "Jesus is the reason for the season" and that America, as a predominantly "Christian" nation, could do a lot better than spend it's tax payers money on warfare at the expense of health care. To be honest, Christianity has nothing to do with my opinion, I just think that Jesus had some very good ideas that any country could benefit from observing. I would hope, as a medical doctor, that you would agree that more tax money spent on health care and less on killing is in your professional best interest!