A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thank You, Tea Party

Dear Tea Party,

How do I ridicule thee? Let me count the adjectives!

Thou art belligerent. No, too strong! Thou art very angry. No, too subtle! Thou art hostile! Perfect!

Thou art strong-willed. No, too positive for this left-leaning blog. Thou art uncompromising! Oh, duh! Thou art as stubborn as a jackass! Perfect!

Now let’s add another adjective: blood-thirsty!

We come to this latest adjective due to the audience reaction at the Tea Party sponsored debate featuring the announced candidates for the Republican nomination for President. Moderator Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical situation to libertarian leaning candidate Rand Paul about an otherwise healthy young man who foregoes the cost of a health insurance policy, but ends up comatose in a hospital. Blitzer asked who should pay for his care.

Paul dug back into his own experiences and recounted a time when churches and the community would step forward and help out, instead of allowing the young man to depend on the government for his care. Blitzer followed up with a blunt question, “Should we let him die?” While Paul continued this answer, members of the audience responded with shouts of “Yeah” and applause.

The audience's shameful reaction shocked many. It was repulsive — oh, there’s another wonderful adjective for this political cult — and (dare I say) most unchristian-like. The whole episode points to the classic conflict between the economy, with its attendant costs of accomplishing results such as good health, and good old-fashioned Christian charity.

So, in this hypothetical case of this young man, we should let churches step forward and see to his needs. Okay, fine, I can see this working to a point. Volunteers could help with the man’s custodial needs, but how many church-goers will be able to keep putting money in the collection plate for other expenses like, say, medication. The pleas from the pulpit for more contributions could get old real fast, particularly now, when many in the congregation may themselves be unemployed and without health insurance. An apple pie and a ham dinner are nice (sorry for resorting to the old stereotyping of Christian churches, but I am trying to make a point), but these acts of charity won’t revive a comatose patient.

We live in a society which has developed the best medicine in the world! How can we not take advantage of this level of medical care, which incidentally was developed over many years of financial investment and blood, sweat and tears? How could members of a community hope to afford the care our critically-ill example needs to recover? Would these people seriously expect pharmaceutical companies to forgo a return on their investments and write off the cost of their product to help one patient? How could they expect hospitals to stay in business if the facilities granted deep discounts to uninsured patients?

Never mind the uninsured, what about the insured who need treatments which their policies won’t cover? Could the good churches pass the plate around again for an expensive medication that is too new and experimental for the health insurer’s tastes? The congregation's motives would be admirable, but many times it would not be practical.

Basically, the principles of good Christian charity fly in the face of one of capitalism’s darker aspects of Darwinism. This idea would dictate that only the strong survive in a pure capitalist society. The captains of industry would look upon our patient with sympathy, exclaim “Oh, well! That’s too bad!” with a shrug and move on. This is obviously the view of the Tea Party audience members who, I thought, were faithful Christians. Go figure!

We could agree that good Christianity can be bad capitalism, and leave it at that. There have been efforts over the years at compromise and make both systems work together. The Reagan era edict that emergency rooms cannot turn away patients who are uninsured may be good Christianity, but it has placed a financial burden on our medical institutions. The hospitals have survived by spreading the cost of uninsured services to other patients — like you and me.

More recently, Obamacare has sought to spread the cost of health care out more evenly to everyone through its individual mandate and tax penalty for those who don’t buy health insurance. By the way, has anyone noticed that the proposed tax penalties would cost less than a good health insurance policy? Price some policies and see for yourself. In this respect, the tax penalty may backfire on Obamacare supporters.

I won’t pretend that health insurance is a bargain these days. I also won’t pretend that today’s health insurance policies are a godsend; presently many of them are far from perfect and don’t meet the needs of their customers. The industry trend toward consumer driven high deductibles make the policies nearly useless for day-to-day health care needs. Consumers should adjust their thinking about health insurance and look upon it like they would an auto insurance or homeowners policy. People don’t need it day after day, but when an accident or catastrophe strikes, they’ll be glad that they invested in the policy.

So Tea Party, drink all this in as you ponder the wretched conduct of your members at this week’s debate. Those that applauded are an embarrassment to whatever Christian principles to which your movement clings. Of course, your public chagrin is a major win for my satirical musings. So, thank you, Tea Party, for your very biased, narrow-minded attitudes. They may ultimately prove to be bad politics, but it’s great blogging material!

(Thank you for reading. Could someone offer an unsweetened ice tea to our comatose patient? It’s the least we can do.)


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