I’ve always wanted to use a Kevin Trudeau-ish headline. And today’s post fit the bill.
Obamacare – the word evokes high-octane emotions on both sides. Since the recent Supreme Court ruling, some Americans are spitting fire because they are so angry.
Others are celebrating.
What should we as Jesus followers make of it? More importantly, is there another way to manage healthcare separate from the traditional models . . . one that few of us may know about?
Regardless of your feelings on Obamacare, you ought to be educated on a new healthcare alternative. My good friend Tony Dale will tell you all about it in a new interview I conducted with him recently.
Tony was a medical doctor in the UK. I know him well and trust him implicitly. Here’s the interview.
Tony, I understand that you are working on a way for Christians to massively reduce their costs for health insurance? Is that really possible?
Tony Dale: Yes, this is possible, but it does involve thinking outside of the “insurance” box! There are very large and very effective Christian medical cost sharing programs that are helping tens of thousands of Christians handle medical bills in a Biblical fashion, by literally sharing the medical costs in an organized fashion.
We have designed a program, The Health Co-Op, to work alongside the best of these approaches and to provide a comprehensive solution to the many challenges within the health care world.
Why do you believe it’s important for Christians to have their own system for dealing with medical bill costs?
Tony Dale: Medical costs account for 20 % of the typical household’s budget. You may not see this directly because the cost may be paid by your employer. But the money is being spent on your behalf, and so does not show up in your salary.
Christians have both a stewardship responsibility and a moral obligation to see that their financial resources are being used in a way that is consistent with our Biblical values. Current insurance plans force us to share in and to effectively subsidize other people’s poor lifestyle decisions that lead to things such as abortions.
This clearly violates our conscience and desire to promote life. When there are good alternatives to insurance available, we have to ask ourselves why we are participating in a system that undermines many of our core values.
Can we really trust something as important as our health and the massive costs associated with health care to a system like you’re describing?
Tony Dale: The things I am describing are well tried and tested. My own company has been around for 15 years, and has handled hundreds of millions of dollars of medical bill negotiations and mediation. We work with very large Christian medical sharing programs with more than 20 years’ experience in this field, and with tens of thousands of members.
I can see how this will help people without insurance, but what about those who already have good quality insurance in place?
Tony Dale: Unfortunately, health insurance now-a-days is anything but insurance! Instead it has become a political and economic tool to control the health care delivery system in this country. Representing, as it does, 20% of the nation’s economy, there are massive vested interests that want to control this money, and in the process effectively control all of us.
The fact that any one of us may have good insurance cover in place effectively blinds us to the impact this has on our personal finances, and the lack of control that it leads to for both health care choices and our own personal economic situation.
Because health insurance is so closely tied to employment, most employed people have virtually no choice and no control over what is happening to 20% of their potential income. By exploring the quality alternatives now available to Christians outside of the health insurance environment, we regain control in these vital areas.
With Obamacare passing via the Supreme Court ruling, how would your program benefit those who are against Obamacare. And how would it benefit those who are for it?
Tony Dale: This is an important question, because there is an assumption in some quarters that all Christians are against Obamacare. That is certainly not the case. This is not the place for me to get into political issues, but it is vital to understand that Obamacare is a genuine attempt to provide health care for everyone in this country and to do so in a way where access to care is not predicated on the patient’s ability to pay. These are laudable, but extremely difficult goals to accomplish.
For those interested to explore an in depth analysis of the policy and economic issues involved in solving these challenges, I know of no better place to point you than to John Goodman of the National Center For Policy Analysis and his comments at this link. The reason why our program in The Health Co-Op is ideal for Christians on both sides of this political debate is that we provide an affordable and Biblical approach that is already working right now and which is specifically protected within Obamacare.
Whether you are for the approach to health care reform that is represented by Obamacare or you are against government’s continued takeover of individual choice and responsibility, in either case The Health Co-Op gives you a Christ-centered way of moving forward, being a good steward of your resources, and promoting not politics but Christ.
Not long ago, we’ve seen a lot in the news about Obamacare and Catholics refusing to pay for things like abortions. How does all of this impact what you are describing?
Tony Dale: I greatly respect our Catholic brothers and sisters for the impact they are having on this public discourse. The tragedy to me is that most evangelical Christians have not even considered the moral and ethical implications, let alone the religious freedom issues that are currently being championed by the Catholics.
We need to understand what our silence and acquiescence to the current system has led to. We can then take a personal stand and count the cost, and the benefit, of finding better alternatives.
Are there any credible churches or ministries that are already using this approach?
Tony Dale: Yes, there are very credible and well-known institutions and Christian leaders who are already using these approaches. I would be glad to refer your readers to such ministries and the public statements that they have made. This includes mega-churches, colleges, mission groups, along with tens of thousands of individual Christians, some of them very well known.
What is it that your company, The Karis Group, does in working with these Christian medical cost sharing groups?
Tony Dale: We began in 1996 as a medical bill negotiation and mediation company. Since then we have handled hundreds of millions of dollars of medical bill negotiation for the Christian medical cost sharing groups alongside doing similar work for many household name insurance companies and other major entities. In the process we have become the industry leader for helping people to navigate the complexities of the health care world while making sure that their out-of-pocket expenses are kept to a minimum.
More recently, I have helped to found The Health Co-Op, a co-operative business model to provide a comprehensive approach for Christians to dealing with the whole spectrum of health care issues, based around the extensive experience of a number of leading groups within the health care world. Through this “co-operative” approach we can help any Christian group handle anything from major medical expenses to dental, vision, and pharmaceutical costs.
If anyone who is reading this is interested to know more, what should be their next step?
Tony Dale: That is a great question. I would suggest that they start by exploring our website at www.thehealthcoop.com. Anyone is then welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to get back in direct contact with them.
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