Guest Opinion: Is Universal Health Care What Jesus Had in Mind?
return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'" Does this imply, then, that we must in fact, open our pocketbooks to strangers and say, "Help yourself"? The answer to this question is not easy, and this is where another of the Cardinal Virtues, Prudence, comes into play.
In interpreting the parable, it is important to recognize the fact that it is in fact a parable, an allegory, and was used by Jesus to make a point. Sometimes we don't "get" what Jesus was trying to say, any more than the disciples did. As a frustrated Jesus said in Mk 4:13, "Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables?" Exegesis on this parable dates to the early Church and in general follows Origen's allegorical interpretation.
For him, Jerusalem represents heaven; Jericho, the world; the robbers, the devil and his minions; the Priest represents the Law, and the Levite the Prophets; the Good Samaritan, Christ; the ass, Christ's body carrying fallen man to the inn which becomes the church. Even the Samaritan's promise to return translates into Christ's triumphant and millennial return. It was a story not about a stranger paying a sick man's doctor bills but rather, as Charles Dodd put it, the parable, in its simplest form ". . . is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought."
So what we have is a rather cloudy picture that indicates that Jesus is telling us that we are all branches from the same tree and we have an obligation to help our brothers and sisters in Christ in some way, but not the exact details on how to do that. One popular idea is that medical care should be "universal" and the cost borne by all of us together, with price being no object. In order to understand why this utopian vision is an impossibility, we must understand a basic fact about economics: the single, overriding aspect of life is scarcity. With the exception of the love of God, nothing is infinitely available.
Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources that have alternate uses. In other words, if you are at war and you can use the oil that your country can produce for either heating your homes or fueling military equipment, but do not have enough for both, some hard choices are going to need to be made. If all the oil goes to the military, there is little point as everyone at home will have frozen to death. If it all goes for heating, then there is little point as the country will be conquered and the people removed from their warm homes and transferred to cold work camps or firing squads. So decisions always need to be made; if there were enough to go around, there would be no need for economics.
The way we are used to having decisions made in a free society is by millions of people every day making millions of decisions that result in the most efficient use of scarce resources. The information upon which they base these decisions is prices. We often hear the uninformed Left screaming about how prices cause economic misery, or how prices are unfair. That is nonsense. If the doctor examines a bit of your liver microscopically and tells you that you have cancer, that information did not cause the cancer, and it is not unfair. It is simply information. In the case of prices, they are the data that tells you what others are willing to exchange for what you want to buy.
A favorite example of the utility of prices is what happened in the Soviet Union when their experts attempted by central planning to control the economy. They decided the price, based loosely on Marx's theory of labor value, meaning the value of something was the result of the labor that went into it. Apart from being untrue, it gave no information on how much people wanted to buy the items, and how much was available. So the stories of warehouses piled with shoes while people had no coats, as the leather went into the shoes they didn't need instead of the coats they did. With prices not fixed, the price of shoes would have decreased and coats increased, and manufacturers would have switched to producing coats.
Governments always respond to economic problems with some form of wage and/or price controls. These do in fact work in the very short run, but as lower prices increase demand, and lower wages decrease supply, there is an obvious shortage situation created which results in shortages. When we examine the health care plan, we see that the advent of more "free care", which is free only for some, will lead to higher demand.
When we look at how the Administration looks at doctors in particular, they are considered part of the "greedy rich", and the solution is wage and price control, meaning lower pay for them. The answer for medical suppliers, hospitals, and all other parts of the health ...
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Affordable Care Act, health Care, Universal Health Care, subsidiarity, President Obama, Dr. Frederick Liewehr
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