[Note: I should put a disclaimer here: any opinions on this blog about the Affordable Care Act and/or Covered California are solely my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employers.]
The job is starting to get to me.
It’s not the people who need help — although sometimes their stories are heart wrenching. No, they keep me going, knowing that I am offering a people a chance to secure their future health and well-being.
It’s those other people. The people who rail against Obamacare (and Obama in general), and claim that nobody really is forced to resort to Emergency Rooms for health care unless they are undocumented (I can’t tell them I have stories from others who have done just that), and that the people without insurance are simply irresponsible. (The most often heard reason for not having insurance is job loss, which may indicate irresponsibility on someone’s part, but usually not the individual laid off.)
Usually, these people are angry, or at least cold. I can let them go — I just figure something must have happened to make them that angry. I can find compassion for souls that cannot see beyond their own limited self-interest.
Last night, though, I hit a breaking point.
The call was to one of the more conservative parts of Southern California. (I hate calling anywhere in SoCal outside of L.A. County.) The caller was a cheerful man about my age.
After, I identified who I was and what I was calling about, he stopped me and said, laughingly, that I was wasting my breath as he already had insurance and that, furthermore, he was a member of the Tea Party and was working to get rid of all public health care (not just the Affordable Care Act).
Bad enough. But I smiled, and said pleasantly (as I do to all callers, regardless of political position), “Well, have a good evening sir.” “You, too,” he said. “God bless.”
“God bless”? “God Bless?” What sort of God does this man believe in, that feels that letting people suffer and die is morally acceptable?
He probably identifies as “Christian.” If so, he clearly has not actually read the Gospels, or at least not carefully. I don’t think Christ would have had the slightest problem with Obamacare.
Actually, that’s not true. I think Christ would have disliked Obamacare, and would have wanted us to go to a single-system. You read the Gospels, and Jesus was a socialist:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fireprepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I hate to say it, but after I hung up the phone on the man, I said “And may you die alone in misery and pain.” It was a horrible thing to say, and I hate that I felt moved to say it. I do not really hope the man dies in in misery and pain, but I do hope he has enough of a change of heart to help make sure that others do not.
I no longer count myself as Christian, but I do think Jesus of Nazareth had some wonderful ideas about how to treat people.