Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Theology of Compassion

I haven't written in soooo long...but here I am. I was at breakfast with friends this past weekend. We were at a rather small and cramped little cafe in downtown Sumner. Because of the relatively small size of the place, it wasn't hard to overhear other people's conversations. The groups of folks sitting behind us seemed extra loud. One woman in the group spoke incessantly and her opinions were made very clear. There were many things she spoke about that she didn't like...and one of them was the health care reforms that have been making their way through Congress.

She made one correct statement: "until hospitals stop treating the uninsured, nothing will ever change." It is true that for all the fuss that has been made about "government take over of health care" and "socialized medicine" that really we already have a social system in place...it is just the most expensive and least effective form of health care.

During my CPE residency at Parkland Hospital, I saw many of these underinusred/non-insured people as they were admitted to the Medicine ER with medical conditions that could have been treated much early, with a much better outcome at a much cheaper price. Many wait until they absolutely have to get care to make their way to the hospitals.

Recently, my own Aunt had to go to the county hospital because she fell and dislocated and broke her right shoulder. She has no insurance and so the county hospital was her only option.

It pains me that my Aunt and her spouse listen to conservative talk show and are among those that fear and speak against "government take over of insurance" or "socialized medicine."

But if we are not for health care reform now, then what? How will the problem of costs ever be addressed? Is the woman in the cafe's solution the only way we're willing to deal with the problem--turn them away, refuse to treat them when they show up?

I have seen the eyes of those have nots...they are people, like you and me. My own Aunt is someone that I know and love very dearly. When we get past the fear and, in my opinion, greed, we can see them...and when we see them, we cannot turn them away...for to do so is not only callous and cold...it is unChristian.

Jesus taught us to care for the sick...because by doing so, we care for Christ himself.