One Deadly Infection, Two Healthy Babies, and Three Broken Legs (or, how Government Healthcare Totally Saved My Behind)

Brace yourselves. I’m about to step on a soapbox.*

Much as I’d like to go all armchair-Constitutional-scholar and argue that access to affordable health care SHOULD be in the same category as education, fire-fighting, and law enforcement, I’m not going to.

I’m just going to tell you what has happened in MY family.

February, 2005, California

Pregnant with first child. Am on crappy private insurance that costs like $500 a month in premiums but covers almost nothing. Calculate that cost of having child will be approximately half our yearly income.

Freak out.

Find great California state government program that we buy into for 1% of our yearly salary, while they, in turn, cover all out-of-pocket healthcare costs, for me AND for the baby.

Whew.

Except that the insurance carrier (thanks for nothing, Blue Cross of California!) dragged their feet so long in paying that the hospital called me when Aidan was 2 weeks old or something and said I owed like $10,000.

Freak out again. They eventually pay, but not until I have to wait hours on the phone while the recording assures me that Blue Cross cares about me.

April, 2008, Scotland

Living in Scotland. Have received excellent prenatal care under the NHS. On the 20th, I give birth under seriously ideal–though not fancy–conditions, conditions that are CLEARLY motivated by concern for good care, not over who’s gonna sue? Am given pot of tea and plate of toast once baby comes.

Depart hospital that evening (by my choice, I could’ve stayed) and am visited daily for 10 days by midwives who weigh the baby, check us both over, and ascertain that we’re doing well, physically and emotionally.

October, 2008, Scotland

Graeme, about 6 months old, is really sick. Bronchitis with a fever and endless vomiting. I take him to the doctor a number of times just to make sure he’s okay–he’s not. We get orders for admission to the pediatric ward. Semi-miraculously, he recovers.

June, 2009, Rome

We are in Rome on a business trip/holiday. Graeme, now a little more than 1 year, gets sick, maybe with heatstroke. Fever is high; he keeps vomiting, he’s barely waking up. We go to the hospital and try to make ourselves understood. Graeme is given an IV, and recovers splendidly.

August, 2009, France

We are in France on a scholarship. Aidan slips on a wet supermarket floor and fractures his leg badly. He is taken to the hospital to have his leg set, and has several follow-up visits while we’re there.

broken leg #1

October, 2009, Germany

We are living in Germany now. Aidan has his cast removed, but needs (and receives) physical therapy.

At the same time, Graeme cuts his head badly and needs stitches, which he gets.

At the same time, I get a really nasty case of mastitis (on the weekend OF COURSE) which sends me to the ER. Then I get a secondary infection from the antibiotics and have to go back to the doctor.

November, 2009, Germany

Graeme gets a really serious staph infection (MRSA) and is hospitalized for 8 days and needs several follow up visits with a doctor. THANK GOD, he recovers completely.

July, 2010, Germany

Graeme breaks his leg, and I am totally impressed by the ER/ortho team that x-rays, diagnoses, casts, and discharges Graeme in, like, an hour flat. Reminds me of the story my dad told of a fight breaking out at a beer fest in Germany. The whole thing was over and cleaned up in 10 minutes. Efficiency!

broken leg #2

October, 2010, New York

We are back in NY. Aidan breaks his leg. Thankfully, we are among the 1 in 3 or 4 New Yorkers that qualifies for some form of government-assisted health insurance. Nonetheless, I spent HOURS on the phone trying to find a doctor who will take our insurance. Finally, we have to take him to another emergency room to wait for hours until he can be seen.

broken leg #3

(Because what really gets in the way of the doctor-patient relationship? Not the government. Money, and The Insurance Mess.)

Believe me when I tell you I have also left out a lot of other things. These are just the highlights.

And I think you’ll believe me when I say that if I was in the US for all those things–or in less generous states like Texas–I probably would STILL be paying the bills. Or else filed for bankruptcy.

By dumb luck, that’s not what happened, and I’m grateful.

It should be within every person’s ability to take care of their health, and that of their children, without going bankrupt…and I think the free market has had a fair shot at making that happen, and lost.

I have to chuckle when I hear reference to “the US healthcare system.” Because there isn’t one. There just isn’t.

Oh, wait. There is one. It works great. It’s more socialized than the system in Germany. It’s called the VA. It’s socialized medicine! And it works great! My dad says that military healthcare was a major incentive for enlistment and re-enlistment in his day–especially for people who were married with kids.

As far as partisan politics go, no less a Republican than Richard Nixon tried in 1974 to make a ‘Medicare for all’ move. You know who opposed it vocally? Ted Kennedy. Because he didn’t want Nixon to make a move that would be so popularly,well, popular. Because it would have been. And according to Ben Stein (Nixon’s speechwriter) the Nixon plan was much more “comprehensive” (yea, socialist?) than Obama’s. What is this about? Massive change in what each party stands for, or total partisan b.s. all ’round?

I really don’t care which initial is in parentheses after a politician’s name. I just like to see policies that are good for the people who don’t have enough money to buy a dental cleaning, MUCH LESS A SENATOR. Besides, didn’t Jesus expressly say something about doing good to those who CAN’T do anything in return?

No system is perfect. But the US doesn’t have a system, period.

I’m really hoping that yesterday’s decision means maybe we will.

(and now I will step off my soapbox.)

*Jana Riess advises that blogs are not soapboxes, and she’s right. </rant> =)

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49 thoughts on “One Deadly Infection, Two Healthy Babies, and Three Broken Legs (or, how Government Healthcare Totally Saved My Behind)

  1. Well said indeed! During more than four years in the USAF I never ONCE experienced or heard anything bad about the military healthcare system. As you may not recall, your uncle and my cousin Paula were both born in an Army hospital, and of course everything was fine.

    Which brings up an interesting thought: If a government-run healthcare system such as the NHS is really so terrible, why do we continue to subject our military personnel and their families to this shameful outrage?

    Are we to believe that the very same people who so love to wave flags and “support our troops” (whatever THAT means) are at the same time silent about the fact that those troops have, since the beginning, been at the mercy of (gasp) SOCIALIZED MEDICINE?

    Which of course then leads me to wonder how many of these self-appointed Constitutional scholars and patriots ever wore their country’s uniform…

    • PS: I was honorably discharged more than 30 years ago, and since then have spoken to untold numbers of other vets. In all those years I cannot recall even ONCE hearing a complaint about military healthcare.

      Now anyone who has been in the service knows that endless “b*tching” about things is a way of life for the average G.I., and yet I never heard a negative word about the healthcare.

  2. You were certainly in the right places at the right times! Those countries’ systems definitely shine when it comes to having babies and treating acute injuries. Unfortunately, it seems that there is a lot more to it than that. When you’re actually a citizen of one of those countries and actually have to kiss goodbye to 40% of your income to pay for these things, I can imagine that it may feel a little different than when you’re just passing through and don’t have to contribute a dime. Having to rearrange your schedule for appointments that are simply mailed to you without any sort of consultation with what works for your timetable and what doesn’t would get pretty old, too. And the incredible waiting lists for scans, specialists, and surgeries can get out of control. The current status of US health care needs some major help, but it just seems a little too naive to think that this bill – deemed “invalid in its entirety” by four of the Supreme Court justices! – has much hope of coming to the rescue.

    • Good points. The German system is an example of a midpoint between NHS and the US non-system: tightly regulated free-market insurance + mandated universal coverage. In practice it works much like things do in the US, only better. You choose your practitioners. You make your appointments.

    • Yep. I would pay the taxes. I am Canadian, and while that system is not perfect, and we pay around 30% income tax, it is worth it (plus, to correct a misconception, we do pay monthly premiums unless we are low income). We just moved to the US (my husband is a prof) and luckily our kids qualify for subsidized health care. Just remember, private health insurance IS TAX!! You are being ‘taxed’ by a private corporation, not the government. If we had to go through my husbands work it would cost 350/month for him, 350/month for me and 350/month for EACH OF MY THREE KIDS. That’s coming on easily 1/3 of our income. (any profit made there goes into private corporate hands…) Another thing, I often hear complaints about people costing the system, while at the same time the rhetoric from that ‘side’ also goes on and on about tax cuts. Seriously, if the gov. spends 10k on my health for the year, or if someone gets 10k in tax cuts…the gov. is still out of pocket 10k.
      I can’t see the US adopting a fully public system (it wouldn’t make sense for such a huge country) but I also cannot understand the uproar about this new law/system. Surely it’s not about the money it will cost. It’s a drop in the bucket of US spending. It seems more about class ideals, and let’s not discount race either, my friends (although no one wants to admit that is part of the issue). and there’s my soapbox for the day. done. :)

      • A thousand ‘likes,’ Kate. You make amazingly good points, but my favorites are : “I often hear complaints about people costing the system, while at the same time the rhetoric from that ‘side’ also goes on and on about tax cuts.” (um, amen!)

        and

        “I also cannot understand the uproar about this new law/system. Surely it’s not about the money it will cost. It’s a drop in the bucket of US spending. It seems more about class ideals, and let’s not discount race either.” BINGO!

  3. This is all very interesting. Japan has a national healthcare system that you can choose to buy into. The cost of it is based on your salary from the previous year.

    Pros: Going to the doctor, the hospital, the dentist is inexpensive. A doctor’s visit is usually under $10.00 and a prescription might be about the same. (Usually you walk next door from the hospital or clinic to fill prescriptions. “Drug stores” are for non-prescription drugs and all the other stuff you can get at American drug stores.)

    Story: our first year in Japan, our son David spent three days in a hospital with dehydration, fever, etc. The whole stay was less than $250. (BUT we had to provide any beverages, his eating utensils and one of us parents had to stay with David at all times, including overnight. There was a chair for us to sit in.)

    Pro or con depends: It’s first come first served. Doctors offices, hospitals, clinics usually open at 9:00 AM but you can show up as early as 8:00 to submit your national health insurance card and sign in.

    There are time limits. For example, a teeth cleaning without complications usually takes at least two visits. Dentists work on a patient for a given amount of time (perhaps 15 minutes) and when that time is up, the appointment is over and a new one must be made.

    Cons: If you get sick or injured on a holiday or weekend, it is very difficult to find an open clinic. Story: one Saturday I was riding my bike home from the grocery story. Two-year-old Joshua was sitting in the back. We hit some gravel and I wiped out. Joshua’s eye was bleeding pretty badly. We rushed home and got in the car. We went to the nearest clinic: CLOSED. We went to another clinic: CLOSED. We went to a hospital. CLOSED. We walked around and saw down a hallway that there was a light on. Desperately, we banged on the door. A nurse came and opened it. She said that a doctor happened to be in doing some paper work and maybe he would look at Joshua. He did although Susan suspected he had been drinking. Joshua required some stitches in the corner of his eye. Many people will call an ambulance (no charge) if it is a holiday or weekend because they know better what places are opened BUT occasionally a news story appears about someone who dies in an ambulance because after over an hour of searching for an open and qualified doctor, none is found.

    Bottom line: Every system has its pros and cons. My problem with the current system being created here in America is the lack of honesty. (Definitely not a tax, but only constitutional if considered a tax. Required by all except for several exemptions for political supporters, etc.)

      • Thanks, Tim. I look forward to watching that when we move back to the States – it’s not letting me do it here. I guess I was just projecting from my own experience of not paying a dime during our four years here in the NHS. It would certainly feeling drastically different if we were actually making money while living here and then having a full 40% taken right off the top in taxes. Ouch.

      • Germany is also skipping out on the cost of their own national defense we the American taxpayer are still paying for bases in Germany. I would love to see us pull the military out of Europe as well as Iraq.

        We could learn many things from Germany and not just on healthcare.

      • I love what I have read as a new visitor to this blog. I also love the tenor of the debate! I don’t quite understand Joy’s comments. I am a pastor in Atlanta on a decent salary with health care insurance provided by my church. I have also lived as a minister in the UK for all my life till 6 years ago. At no point ever in my earning life in the UK have I paid more than 27% of my gross income in taxes (that is, the two main taxes you would call Social security and federal income tax). For that, my wife and I and three children have had a wonderful experience of health care where no diagnosis and presecription has ever been questioned on the ground of cost.
        Here in Atlanta I pay 27% of my gross income in Social security and federal taxes. I pay a further $3000 in state taxes and I and my church pay $12,000 a year for medical insurance. On top of this, since we’ve been here we have averaged co-pays and deductibles over $5000 a year. To make a proper comparison, you would have to add in the US insurance co-pays and deductibles to the insurance itself and compare that to the UK taxes. Suddenly (even if we allow that VAT is more than state purchase tax in Georgia) my costs here for poorer care are well in excess of the UK.
        I get good care in the US. I do not complain because I know it’s the system here. But to say it’s better than what we have in a different system in the UK is … just plain weird. Universal health care is vital (as a pastor I see the need in our congregation), but it doesn’t need to be delivered in the UK way. Switzerland has probably the very best private medical system in the world and it’s universal.
        Rachel so glad your delivery of a baby in Scotland went well. We had three in an old hospital (now wonderfully new) in Cambridge while I was a student. Wonderful care and follow up for my wife.
        Thanks for reading.

      • Paul, like I said – US health care is in major need of help. I just think it’s amazing how many people have such faith in the government to solve the problems with a bill like this, when we can plainly see through the examples such as social security, how inept US government programs are at effectively, efficiently doing their jobs. It’s one thing for tiny countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and the UK to successfully run such programs, but does that really translate when you try to apply it to a country as huge and diverse as the US? You all are obviously ok with heaping TRILLIONS of debt on the shoulders of our children for a program that is heavily criticized by people who know a lot more about these things than I do, but even after all of that money is spent, I’m not convinced we’re going to be as thrilled with the outcome as other people are in countries that already have government health care. (Also – forgive me for thinking that it wasn’t uncommon for people in the UK to actually make £35,000 annually – the amount at which you start paying 40% of your income in taxes. I didn’t think it was that unusual but evidently it is…)
        There is so much more to be said, but not here (the reason why you like the tenor of this ‘debate’ so much is that it’s almost entirely one-sided!) and not by me. I wish there was a way of providing health care to everyone without the government acting deceitfully (“It isn’t a tax!” “It’s a tax!”) and forcing so many of its own people to go against their faith convictions (Catholics having to pay for contraception – not to mention Christians in general having to fund abortifacients).

  4. Update to Tom’s comment the mIlitary has dramatically changed the way they do healthcare in the last few years military hospitals have been closed on a massive scale partly because they were expensive and partly because they weren’t keeping up with the times. Many military families are now in the private system with insurance subsidized by the military the transition was a bit rough but now I hear that finding providers is easier and I hear good things from my brother. My Dad is a veteran and in the VA system which is a socialized system he has been happy with it though I know many veterans who don’t want to use the system because the care was notoriously bad in the past.

    Do we need healthcare reform? Absolutely, but the current law isn’t getting us there at all. Without tort reform we will see healthcare continue to skyrocket in cost trial lawyers like John Edwards are the enemy of all of us by causing doctors to have to worry about being sued more than patient care. There are so many more things that could be done as well. We can’t have a system like any of the European countries for one simple reason we just are too big. We have to think more on a state level than a federal one. We need to get congress out of some care things altogether. In the 1990′s a law was passed saying insurance had to pay for 48 hours after the birth of a child. Fast forward to today I went through all kinds of difficulty to get out of the hospital in less than 48 hours because somehow this had morphed into a requirement of care. I was healthy and had just had a natural delivery I wanted out in five hours but was forced to stay for 24 sleepless hours of being checked on every two hours by a nurse to make sure I was still alive (another stupid law) while waking up on the opposite hour to nurse the baby.

    Is a socialized system perfect? Not if your old good luck getting care like heart surgery the government doesn’t see the point of keeping you alive much longer. If the hospital messes up and kills your loved one they won’t be held accountable more than likely. This happened to my Scottish Aunt. If you need a simple non emergency surgery the waiting list can be years long.

    • My husband had a simple non emergency surgery in Scotland and it was scheduled within a month of the request. Also, they mailed us a paper asking if the scheduled date was OK, and asked us to call and reschedule if it wasn’t.

      • Probably just depends I know a child who waited over two years for a tonsillectomy because she only got tonsillitis every 27 days and not the 26 required for an expedited surgery.

  5. When I was an exchange student in England (1982-83, yes I’m old) I was under the NHS. Worked like a charm. As you say, nothing fancy but they sure showed their top priority was helping patients.

    Tim

    • What’s kind of amazing is that the US manages to spend something like 2.5x MORE than most other wealthy countries on healthcare…and we rank embarrassingly low on all kinds of measures of quality. Part of that is because preventive care isn’t valued in a fee-for-service, for-profit system.

    • I’ll comment. Your kids are a couple of the cutest handsomest kids ever! I especially like the shot of Aidan playing while being cared for on the hospitable bed. This brief health care memoir is not only a great testament to God’s provision in your lives but also to you as parents.

      Tim

  6. I was just wondering why you might think our congress opted out of the new, improved, wonderful Obamacare that the rest of us will be stuck with??

  7. Does that mean I am wrong, and they didn’t opt out? I didn’t find that in your comments. It’s good you won’t mind paying more in taxes because you certainly will.

    I do agree that our health “system” is seriously flawed – because it is driven by financial considerations. Too many people, too many specialized positions. I remember when Lynette was born and I was holding her in bed. There was a huge roach across the room and I was unable to kill it. Several “workers” came in and out but told me that they didn’t handle that problem – one did bathrooms, one did windows, etc – you get the point. Someone eventually killed it for me. I realized then what serious trouble we were in, at least regarding our hospital staffing.

    I don’t see how adding 30 million new people and no new doctors will work. I think the waiting time will certainly increase in all areas: appointments, surgeries, ER visits. I’m certainly glad that your experiences with the children were positive. Sounds like you were really hit with lots of medical issues.

    I’m not sure about the denying of care to patients who can’t pay. That is certainly not the situation in NY. Show up at the ER and you will be treated. Period.

    You’re still young and don’t have to deal with the horror that is Medicare. Nothing but paperwork and denials for everything – at least the first few times the bills are submitted. Thousands of doctors are fleeing the medicare system – mine being one of them. In order to make a living they have to see patients every 10 minutes. My doctor happens to spend several hours with her patients and what do you know – she actually is able to facilitate healing, not simply treatment.

    Okay – I am now getting off of my soapbox!!!

    • No, it means that Republicans in Congress opted out because it is a measure largely backed by Democrats. The reverse happened in 1974 when Nixon introduced very comprehensive reform and Ted Kennedy led the charge against it.

      As to Medicare denying claims and issuing reams of paper–that is true for many if not most people on most kinds of private insurance. (See my story of my first son’s birth.)

  8. thank goodness my husband’s french insurance covered my son here in the states when he was born preterm and in the nicu for 3 weeks…Blue cross blue shield of texas found multiple reasons not to cover him, and without my husbands insurance we would owe 70,000+. forget the fact that when I called BCBS to get him covered they told me he was automatically covered for the first 30 days under my plan and I didn’t have to do anything. he was out of the nicu in 21 days (that’s less than 30, right?) and shortly thereafter we were informed that BCBS was not going to cover ANYTHING…
    Additionally, when I got the bill for my stay in the hospital, it included what it would have cost me if I did not have insurance (close to 20,000) and then showed how much it cost because I have insurance (right around 4,000). how can the same procedures and medications (or lack of in my case) cost 5 times as much for an uninsured person. something is seriously, seriously wrong with that.

    • That’s another under-told story, Hannah–that having insurance doesn’t guarantee coverage. I would rather have a government bureaucrat (who is, in theory, working for ME, the tax-payer-voter) administering my care than an INSURANCE bureaucrat (who is working for the SHAREHOLDER) and can’t be voted out, censured, or otherwise removed…except by tighter regulation. Any system that profits by denying coverage is going to trend toward corruption, and the valuing of $$$ over human life. As long as it is legal for ins. companies to find ways to deny coverage/drop people when they get sick, they will. Their loyalty is to money, not people.

      I am glad your son is OK.

  9. Have you read the Obamacare bill? I’m guessing not, since most congressmen didn’t even read it. Regardless of what “side” you are on, most people who have read even part of it can agree it is a badly written bill. Is change needed in the U.S.? Most definitely. But this is not it.

    • beings it’s 900+ pages…no. But my only complaint is that single-payer was never on the table. I’d love to see health care reform go way beyond the Affordable Care Act.

      • A for-profit, free-market, under-regulated system is always going to put profits ahead of people, or to value the people who can pay more than those who can’t.

  10. I’ve been avoiding the “debate” on facebook, just because I don’t think it really does anything to add to the equation…I’m not going to change any minds. But thoughts:

    I’m a physician in the ED. Healthcare is not working in this country. People delay visits when they don’t have insurance. Medicaid patients use the ED as primary care because of lack of access to good doctors, and often because of the ease of use – you show up and get treated, regardless of the “emergency.” Will more Medicaid patient improve the use of the ED, or get them better primary care? I don’t know. But whenever I see employed, good citizen-type people, who don’t have insurance, and I’m just thinking about how hard it’s going to be for them when they get the bill, it’s just sad. I guess I just feel people deserve to have access to affordable insurance. It’s just too expensive, in the long run, for us not to.

    Also, I’ve worked in the VA system. And, there’s pros and cons of course. Awesome EMR – can follow patients’ care no matter where they’ve been treated, including notes, imaging, appointments. Wish we had something like that everywhere.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your perspective–”it’s just too expensive, in the long run, for us not to.” Absolutely!

  11. This is a refreshingly well-informed and thoughtful thread on this topic – Kudos to Rachel and all participants!

    For what it’s worth, I just wanted to correct a common piece of misinformation that I hear a lot in the USA. UK taxes are not 40% and never have been. The tax system operates on a sliding scale, so that you are taxed different percentages on different parts of your income. The first 8,000 of your income is tax free. The next chunk is taxed at 20%. You would only pay 40% on those earnings above 34,000 pounds (roughly 50,000 USD). That’s well over average income levels, so most people do not pay this level on any of their income. Those who do only pay it on a small percentage unless they have a particularly hefty salary.

    We are Brits who now live in Texas and I have to say that our healthcare in the UK beat that in the US on nearly every front. More preventative emphasis, more home visits, just as much choice of doctors, hospitals and appointment scheduling (honestly, yes!) and MUCH more face to face time with actual doctors per appointment. The hospitals we used were spotlessly clean and very efficient and the integrated system meant that form-filling was minimal. When you add what we now pay for tax plus healthcare, we pay more here than we did in the UK.

    A couple of other observations I never hear in the debates about relative choice, freedom and cost in these matters are:

    Insurance costs in Europe are generally much lower than they are in the USA because home and car insurance, for example, do not have to cover liability for medical treatment. Both these insurances cost us about twice to three times more in the USA.

    It am saddened to hear heated rhetoric about how the personal mandate somehow decreases freedom and choice. Is it really freedom not to buy health insurance that should be the issue at stake? The reality is that there are many people in the USA (e.g. with chronic conditions or with disabled kids) whose choices and freedoms are severely limited because they fall into the wrong healthcare category.

    The integrated systems in most of the rest of the World have many other advantages that decrease overall healthcare costs for the nation. The most obvious is a much better tracking of risk to enable targeted preventative or support care. Another is that an integrated computerized record system saves a lot of time and money by reducing form-filling and admin costs.

    If we say that healthcare is most effective when operated under pure market principles, that necessitates an approach that (by its nature) attributes different values to different lives – depending largely on your wealth and your prospects for generating wealth…(or that of those paying for your care)… I find that prospect morally chilling.

    • I love this entire post, Fiona (now we know what you were saying in that photo Bruce put on FB!), but these are especially brilliant:

      “Is it really freedom not to buy health insurance that should be the issue at stake? The reality is that there are many people in the USA (e.g. with chronic conditions or with disabled kids) whose choices and freedoms are severely limited because they fall into the wrong healthcare category.”

      “If we say that healthcare is most effective when operated under pure market principles, that necessitates an approach that (by its nature) attributes different values to different lives – depending largely on your wealth and your prospects for generating wealth…(or that of those paying for your care)… I find that prospect morally chilling.”

      This is wonderful. I’m saving it forever. Thank you.

  12. Ha! If only it was as simple as that! To hear so many of you, this health care bill is about to enter all of us into an amazing era, where we have very little to lose, everything to gain, and certainly nothing to complain about. People opposing such a thing must truly be a bunch of racist, classist, homophobic, hypocritical, misinformed idiots who only care about themselves, right? Hmmm…

    • Joy, no one here said anything remotely resembling that. What is being said is that the present system leaves a lot of people out in the cold, without access to basic health care. The new system will have its flaws too. Our God is the Great Physician. Let’s see if we can honor him in bringing healing to all, physical and spiritual. That includes healing in Christians relating to one another in the midst of contentious issues like this one.

      Blessings,
      Tim

  13. I was obviously being hyperbolic and was drawing from more than the conversation on this blog, but it’s easy to find plenty of blogs/articles – even written by Christians – that say exactly what I was referring to in my negative characterization of the anti-Obamacare-ites. It just makes me sad to see so many people on either side that only hear what they want to hear about the whole mess. As you say, God is more than able to heal relations between people who see things very differently from one another, so let’s hope that some of that has a chance to begin sometime soon.

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