I am of the persuasion that government does have a responsibility to help our communities care for the neediest among us. I do not argue that this is an entirely private matter in a society that has the means to really help those in real need. I am grateful for public health programs, human services and the ways we can service those with disabilities better than most societies. At the same time I believe that the transition to a more deliberate top-down system of health care is not good for the very people that it is meant to help. Let me explain by means of a letter I recently received from a friend. This brother lives in Michigan, a state with more than a few economic problems. This man is not looking for special favors, just the services that have been promised and delivered to him for some time. We have been led to believe that changes in our health care system will make life easier for so many needy people but this is simply not the case. Here is my friend’s recent letter.

A couple of things have slowed me down (in responding to an earlier letter from me to him). Primarily it has been our president's "health initiatives" for the handicapped. The new policies have adversely impacted my 27 year-old son, who has cerebral palsy. In Michigan, these cost-cutting, government controlled programs want to close all privately controlled-group homes, all sheltered workshops, and all non-competitive jobs for the handicapped. I've had to give a lot of my attention to this [draining] struggle. The director for Human Health and Services for Michigan has to-date declined to answer any of our questions regarding the new program(s). John, I ask not only your prayers with this, but if you have some time in your busy schedule, any of your advice & expertise regarding working with a hostile government on the state and federal level would be appreciated.

There you have it. Macro-changes create huge challenges for people who live their lives within a system that keeps pulling the rug out from under them and then refuses to answer simple, real-life questions. Have you dealt with bureaucratic systems? Have you ever run a business that depends on the postal service, to use but one simple example? I have and as a non-profit business we are hurt almost every week by the mess the federal government has made of this inefficient delivery service. And my larger family is increasingly reaching the time when Social Security and Medicare are becoming an issue. Will these systems be there when we need them? How do we plan since it appears they might fail? And how will my children process all of this? I have taken every responsible step that I can privately but there are “wild cards” out there precisely because Congress refuses to address this issue and has done so decade-after-decade, borrowing our money for their pet projects and foolish over budget spending. For me this is not so much a partisan political issue as it is a problem created by a non-responsive and irresponsible government. Both political parties then use this mess to advance their solutions. I do not trust most of them to do what they promise because I have seen them both use power for their own good time after time. Am I a political cynic? No, I think I am a political realist who has seen this one time too many. My confidence is not in government but in the living God. But it does make me very angry, and sad, that friends like my brother in Michigan have to deal with this system while we are constantly told things are getting better.

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  1. Chuck May 4, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Thank you for your reasoned piece on health care. I agree with you that there indeed is a role for government involvement in certain areas of health care, especially to the needy. However, history and experience has shown that that involvement should be very limited or else the inefficiencies, limitations, inherent corruption, and divided interests of the government will drag the system down. Like you, I am not a cynic nor am I anti-government, but our Founders rightfully had a keen understanding of the need for limited government. We should to.

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