I am not a physician. Therefore, I would never claim to know the intricacies of health care from the perspective of doctors who deliver health care and health services every day.
I am not a hospital administrator and do not understand the challenges hospital administrators face, especially when they are providing care for those without the resources to pay for services rendered. I am not an insurance company CEO, or a pharmaceutical company executive whose job it is to find ways to make the health care industry profitable for their shareholders.
However, I am a minister of the Gospel and I am convinced that no nation can reach its fullest potential when it deprives the most vulnerable in society access to quality, affordable health care. This is a moral issue that has far-reaching consequences for all of society. Our humanity is inextricably bound to how we treat the “least of these” in our society. When we devalue the young, the old, the ill, those who have been left at the margins of life, often through no fault of their own, we have devalued our own lives. When people are not treated with respect and kindness, and become mere numbers that do not matter, our own humanity is threatened. The recent efforts in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act have proven to be divisive and confusing. Almost everyone agrees that the current legislation has flaws that should be addressed, but legislators have philosophical and ideological differences that are difficult to reconcile. However, the idea that millions of the poorest, sickest, youngest and oldest citizens could lose access to health care is an indication of moral bankruptcy that is an abomination for the most prosperous nation on earth. Whatever the future health care plan may be, it must not further jeopardize the fragile existence of the most vulnerable in our society.
As a minister, families have asked me to be with them and their loved ones as death drew near. It is never easy, but it is a privilege to attempt to be a comforting presence as life slips away. As difficult as those moments are, when the quality of health care has been evident and the family knows that everything within reason has been done to maintain an optimal quality of life, while showing compassion and dignity in the face of death, those moments are less devastating. Every human being deserves the opportunity to have access to quality health care that enhances the quality of live and then allows people to die with dignity. While every human being
deserves that, in a civilized society that claims to value life, that is what justice and morality demands. That is what all Americans deserve.