Beyond Obamacare vs. the Affordable Care Act: Caring for Healthcare Complexities

Jimmy Kimmel recently aired interviews of people who were asked which they preferred and why—Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.  Person after person interviewed and taped preferred Affordable Care Act. As you probably know, the interviews were coordinated to expose people’s ignorance: Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are one and the same.

One person interviewed whose ignorance is exposed responds in the affirmative to the question about whether or not a well-informed public is essential to our democracy’s vitality. Indeed, it is. Key to being well-informed about healthcare complexities related to any attempt at a comprehensive proposal is dealing with complex questions. Let’s take for example business owners.

Small business owners might face quandaries about providing health insurance like, “If I provide health insurance for my employees, will I have to reduce their compensation or raise the cost of my product or service? If an employee takes insurance through their spouse, will that employee ask that the benefits I have for their insurance be put toward their compensation? Should I cover an employee’s spouse and dependants? Will I lose a good employee to a competitor, if I don’t provide health insurance? How might the lack of healthcare coverage affect employee morale and productivity? Will the government provide incentives to my business that will support me in providing healthcare coverage?”

Those who are business owners may or may not believe the Affordable Care Act addresses adequately their various concerns and assists them with answering such questions. Any healthcare system put in place must account as much as possible for their concerns, as well as those of others, if we are to provide a comprehensive, workable, and sustainable model.  The upcoming New Wine, New Wineskins conference on healthcare is not intended to champion one model, but to address the subject of healthcare from a variety of angles, including questions pertaining to whether or not a comprehensive healthcare system in the United States is critical to our nation’s public health.

While it is funny when a comedian like Jimmy Kimmel exposes people’s ignorance on the subject of healthcare, it is no laughing matter when our democracy is not shaped by a well-informed public. It is our responsibility as neighbors and citizens to care for the common good by asking questions and seeking to address the complexities surrounding such matters as comprehensive healthcare. A well-informed public is a healthy public.

This piece is cross-posted at The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and at The Christian Post.

About Paul Louis Metzger

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of numerous works, including "Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths" and "Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church." These volumes and his others can be found wherever fine books are sold.

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