A Christian Solution to the Health Care Crisis March 16, 2010

A Christian Solution to the Health Care Crisis

Don’t like your current insurance or the proposed government solution to the health care crisis?

NPR’s Jeff Brady has a story on what a group of Evangelical Christians are doing about it: pooling their health costs and paying for each other’s health care.

James Lansberry, the vice president of Samaritan Ministries, says the concept is simple. First there’s a $170 annual fee to cover Samaritan’s administrative costs. His nonprofit group then compiles members’ health care bills and tells its 14,000 households where to send their monthly checks.

“The money doesn’t get received at our central office — it goes directly from one family to another,” Lansberry says. “So each month I send my monthly share of $285 directly to another family.”

There are some rules, of course:

You have to be Christian. And your Pastor has to sign off on that.

No money will be used to pay for an abortion. (What about in the case of ectopic pregnancies? I can’t find that information.)

If you got a sexually transmitted disease from outside your marriage, you’re out of luck.

And, in exchange, there’s no guarantee you’ll get paid.

Here’s a visual guide to how it works:

Just to be clear, this is not an insurance plan. If you’re on this, you’re foregoing insurance and relying on the gifts of others to cover your needs. And those gifts may not be there when you need them the most.

The guidelines also seem sketchy (PDF). They won’t cover a variety of special needs:

11. Mental Illness — Expenses from treating mental illness are not publishable, including bills for mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological or psychiatric tests, or treatment.

12. ADD, ADHD and SPD — Psychotropic medication, to treat chemical imbalances not demonstrable by lab tests, for Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder and similar disorders are not publishable.

Meanwhile, if there’s any problem you have with them, you waive your right to ever take them to court.

I don’t get why anyone would want to buy into this system. It just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

As many problems as the insurance industry has, Samaritan doesn’t seem to provide the fixes. It just isolates these Christians even more from other people — just like Jesus would have wanted? — and only offers hope that your needs will be met. (Isn’t it precisely the kind of “socialized medicine” conservative Christians have been railing against?)

I’m sure those of you with more knowledge about health care can weigh in more on the benefits/problems with this sort of system.

(Thanks to Tina for the link)

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  • I think this might be illegal under HIPAA’s privacy rules. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Insurance_Portability_and_Accountability_Act#Privacy_Rule

  • Alan E.

    And, in exchange, there’s no guarantee you’ll get paid.

    And that’s different from how insurance works now because….

    Also in the disclaimer:

    Policy holders must sort through company
    reports to know how much of their
    money actually goes to pay for medical

  • hiyahoney

    They’ll be murdering Terri Schiavos by the metric ton.

  • stephanie

    Wow, this just screams Ponzi scheme to me, with added benefit of exclusions…

  • Stephanie is right. This seems like a total Ponzi scheme. And an ill-conceived one at that.

  • this just screams Ponzi scheme to me

    I was thinking the same thing. The early adapters may get their needs paid but the later adapters will probably find that they only end up paying.

  • Yikes! Really? Like if you need chemo or heart transplant, or liver or kidney or heck any major illness? Or is this help to provide for well women/baby checkups, colds, flu, etc. I don’t have insurance, I pay for my DR. visits out of pocket. (I don’t go to the Dr. unless I absolutely have to) I would like to get Catostrophic Health Insurance and will within the year. I believe that the majority of Dr. Offices would be empty if people had to pay for their healthcare out of their own pocket and would be no worse for ware. Just another way to get a handout and this is typical Christian conditional charity designed for same thinking people only – big whoop!

  • plutosdad

    It is more like a coop, though yeah, it may be better if people paid monthly and then got reimbursed for expenses. This one just happens to be christian, but there are similar organizations doing this that are not necessarily christian.

    As for disaster waiting to happen, not necessarily:
    update to Fehr and Gachter

  • Reginald Selkirk

    This sounds like an admission that faith healing. as practiced by Jesus in the Bible, does not actually work.

  • NewEnglandBob

    Hey, let them have at it. Then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off.

    I say let people do stupid things (if they are informed) as long as they don’t harm others.

  • Meh; I can see the possibilities here — it starts out sounding like a coop insurance plan, which is a great idea. And really, that’s the kind of small-scale “socialism” that Christians should be able to get on board with if they hadn’t been brain-washed to be afraid of the whole idea (they really need to read that bit of Acts where the believers form a commune). And a couple of generations ago, they would have — Tommy Douglas, after all, was a Baptist minister.
    But then it begins to fall apart in the fine print — how do we know the allocation of contributions will be equitable? I’d be more comfortable just paying a monthly premium into a pool. And the exclusions for psych conditions seem eccentric — would they pay for an exorcist instead?

  • This is basically a health co-op idea, but without the normal benefits of a co-op venture. In other words, it’s not a new idea, health insurance co-ops have been tried before. Most failed. Some succeeded big time.

    But in all cases, they were providing insurance. This isn’t providing any form of insurance, because there’s no guaranteed level of care and payback. Unless you’re billing members and enforcing their payment (or dropping them from the plan), then it can’t be insurance.

    And insurance works because it provides the insuring company negotiating power with the doctors, hospitals, etc. Ever wonder why insurers pay less than individuals do? Because insurers have actual contracts with the hospitals and such for guaranteed payment levels and so forth. The insurers can basically drive business to them, so the hospital gives them better rates.

    If you’re a small co-op, you have no real negotiating power. Not enough people = not enough business for the hospital = not as good of a deal.

  • jen

    Mike, if 1) the folks doing the “publishing” are not medical providers nor an insurance company or other HIPAA-covered entity, and 2) the information is only published at the request of the patient (sure, it’s the only way to get paid, but you knew going in that you’d only get money by publishing your medical issues/needs), then they ought to be okay HIPAA-wise. Although I wouldn’t want to be the one responsible for drawing up the membership info/disclosure documents.

    What I wonder, though, is what happens when they have multiple people at the same time wind up with hugely expensive medical needs. One family has twins that are born with intense medical needs and they don’t come home from the hospital for the first six months of their lives, while another person has a cancer that can be kept at bay with very expensive daily (long-term) chemo pills. Wonder whether these folks would tell them to apply for public assistance in those cases? Or just to default on their bills (and die, in the chemo case) unless God sends them money in the mail?

  • MaleficVTwin

    If it wasn’t for my pesky humanistic ethical code, I could be bilking the clueless out of their earnings with reckless abandon. Sigh.

  • @Malefic~ I think the regular insurance companies are doing a good enough job @ teh bilking as it is. ha/sigh/…ugh

  • CabezaDePatata

    Here’s a better example – http://medi-share.org/. $470-million in medical expenses have been shared through this org for over 40,000 members over the past 17 years. It even negotiates with providers.

  • Parse

    Indeed, this is just SCREAMING for a HIPAA lawsuit to shut them down.
    I wonder if they even considered running this past a lawyer before starting it up…

  • cathy

    What’s their problem with the mentally ill? And by the way, ADD is demonstrable via MRI testing, it is in fact considered the conclusive diagnostic tool, schizophrenia and many other psycotic disorders also show up on MRI.

  • Ron in Houston


    Seriously – come on now!

    After having paid nearly $1000 per month for COBRA coverage when between jobs and after seeing the increasing copays while employers talk about having to cut down coverage due to increasing costs, I think this is merely an attempt by folks in a crisis situation to try to address the crisis.

    It’s not some religious ponzi scheme – it’s simply an attempt to sort of “stick their fingers” in the breaching dyke of American health care.

  • Ron in Houston


    You said:

    Hey, let them have at it. Then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off.

    Not funny and seriously demented.

    Are you seriously that much of a fu**ing callous idiot?

    At least they’re trying to help one another so hopefully they won’t “die off.”

    When you’re sick and having problems hopefully people won’t say, “eh, let him have it, hopefully there will be fewer atheists when he dies off.”

  • martin

    Now it all makes sense. They actually want socialized healthcare, they just don’t want healthcare that supports non-christians (specifically anyone not in their denomination!).

    And here I just thought they were scared of anything with the word socialized in it, but they just don’t like not being allowed to be bigoted!

  • Miko

    Like other popular forms of health “care” reform, this proposal actually says absolutely nothing about health care. Any plan that doesn’t involve the repeal of patent and tariff laws shouldn’t be called health care reform. However, they do correctly realize that the co-op model is the only way we’re going to get meaningful health insurance reform, and tying it to an existing affinity group is probably a good idea (although I naturally oppose government mandates that require cooperative ventures to be tied to affinity groups, especially as regards credit union regulation). As for banning abortion funding, I don’t really see a problem with a private group instituting practices that are in line with the views of the members of that group. If liberal Christians want to form their own co-op that will fund abortions, more power to them.

    Without looking too closely at the details, I suspect that they will run afoul of some legislation (if not HIPAA, then some other attack on so-called “unlicensed insurance policies” at the state level; cf. the John Muney case in NYC). Current health insurance policy in the U.S. is designed to protect the oligopoly of the current providers and their current exploitative business model, so anything which challenges that business model is bound to be against some law (and since the politicians proposing “reform” are all funded by these companies, the current reform proposal naturally does nothing but strengthen the status quo). Any serious attempt to reform health insurance through political means (as opposed to direct action attempts to offer meaningful mutual aid and/or free-market variants of patented drugs and processes on the “black market”) must begin by repealing all such regulations. I can’t imagine these steps being voluntarily taken by politicians, so I tend to support direct action campaigns in this (and all) areas. In the words of Wiktor Kulerski:

    This movement should create a situation in which authorities will control empty stores, but not the market; the employment of workers, but not their livelihood; the official media, but not the circulation of information; printing plants, but not the publishing movement; the mail and telephones, but not communications; and the school system, but not education.

    @Hemant: Isn’t it precisely the kind of “socialized medicine” conservative Christians have been railing against?

    No, this is real socialized medicine. The kind of socialized medicine they’ve been railing against is a linguistic trick whereby the government pretends that it represents society. Similar trickery is at work in mislabeling the “government option” as the “public option.” (cf. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense for a good critique of the problems of conflating government with society.) As Ernest Lesigne put it (quoted in Benjamin Tucker’s State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree, And Wherein They Differ):

    There are two Socialisms.

    One is communistic, the other solidaritarian.

    One is dictatorial, the other libertarian.

    The first regards the State as a society sui generis, of an especial essence, the product of a sort of divine right outside of and above all society, with special rights and able to exact special obediences; the second considers the State as an association like any other, generally managed worse than others.

    The first proclaims the sovereignty of the State, the second recognizes no sort of sovereign.

  • Miko

    @martin: They actually want socialized healthcare, they just don’t want healthcare that supports non-christians (specifically anyone not in their denomination!).

    No, they just want their health care taken care of by people with values similar to their own. Since their values oppose the use of certain types of medical procedures, it isn’t an inherently bad idea (although I can’t speak for their implementation). If they wanted what you say they wanted, they’d be trying to pass a law preventing other groups from forming their own co-operatives.

    Speaking for myself, I’d much rather have a system with thousands of small affinity groups than a system where everything is channeled through one central bureaucracy. Even if some of the groups choose to exclude me from membership (based on my not being a Christian, say), there would be plenty of other groups that I could join. A nationalized health care system, on the other hand, will have all the standard perversities associated with monopolies, since that’s exactly what it would be. This is also why the current health insurance reform is proving so unpopular: the Democrats rightly sensed that the public is unhappy with the current oligopolistic system, but then made the misstep of trying to “fix” the system by making it even more oligopolistic.

  • Vas

    Ron in Houston said…
    “Not funny and seriously demented.

    Are you seriously that much of a fu**ing callous idiot?”

    Ron please post the rules and criteria for what is and is not funny. Also please share with us the criteria for what qualifies as demented posts. While your at it please post your rules for civil posting, I’ll assume name calling is not a prohibited act. I just need to be sure I live by your rules and maybe one day, if I can be self righteous enough, I too can harangue others for not posting according to the “Ron Rules”, (oh look it appears I already am self righteous enough, I’m half way there just need a random moral code and I’m in) Thanks for being a cop, everybody loves cops particularly the opinion police, wildly popular bunch that one.
    Keep on the sunny side,

  • Killer_Bee

    It sounds like a scam.
    Very best scenario: it has great potential to be mismanaged with too many competing “claims” on a limited amount of money. A big part of insurance is the “float” of premium cash between the time they’re paid in and when they get paid out. It sounds like there’s no investment manager tasked with earning any kind of return. Also, who’s doing the actuarial work to decide how much premiums should cost for whom? Where’s the underwriting, claims management, and on and on? Amateur insurance makes for a bad hobby.

    Isn’t it precisely the kind of “socialized medicine” conservative Christians have been railing against?)

    What a lot of people regardless of religion are afraid of is that their own health care options will be reduced in quality or increase in price as they subsidize other people’s health care who may actually be able to afford insurance if they exercised a little common sense and self-control.

    If you got a sexually transmitted disease from outside your marriage, you’re out of luck.


    No money will be used to pay for an abortion. (What about in the case of ectopic pregnancies? I can’t find that information.)

    Because ectopic pregnancies are the major reason for abortions.
    Or, maybe they’re trying to prevent ectopic pregnancies.

  • skepticalProgrammer

    A ministry once tricked me into working for them by saying that they would provide room and board, health insurance, and an education for me (as a 19 year old that sounded like a great deal), but unfortunately the “insurance” they wanted to provide me was this (which they never followed through with btw) and the school was a correspondence college in the US virgin islands (a christian diploma mill). I wonder how many people use this and then claim to be uninsured when they go to the emergency room to get grants and cheat the system.

  • If this wasn’t designed as a scam, it obviously will quickly become one.
    And given the exclusions related to “immoral” behavior, what else will they exclude? Treatment for AIDS? Lung cancer treatment for people who smoked? Liver transplants for people who drank? How about bariatric surgery for the obese – gluttony is a mortal sin, you know. Hell, my father got skin cancer from sunbathing. Will they say tough, it was his fault?

  • skepticalProgrammer

    Without looking too closely at the details, I suspect that they will run afoul of some legislation (if not HIPAA, then some other attack on so-called “unlicensed insurance policies” at the state level; cf. the John Muney case in NYC).

    I doubt it. My first experience with this exact “ministry” was 6 or 7 years ago, and the people who tried to get me on it had been using it for at least a few years as well. If no one has challenged them yet, I doubt anyone will. Church based organizations can get away with just about anything in the US.

  • Richard Wade

    They left out four more steps:

    9. The member dies a painful and premature death anyway.

    10. The rest of the members rationalize that it was either God’s will, or the dead member’s faith wasn’t strong enough.

    11. The necessity of demonstrating stronger faith is accomplished by increasing the annual administration fee from $170 to $200.

    12. Repeat starting with Step 1.

  • Ron in Houston


    Seriously if you think that

    “Hey, let them have at it. Then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off.”,

    is funny then seriously I don’t need to have any further discussion with you.

    As a matter of fact let me post this Ron’s rule, if you find that acceptable then go hang with serial killers and other sociopaths because apparently you fit more in with that crowd.

  • Ron in Houston

    Richard W

    I really respect you. You’re generally a good example of what I’d call “rational equanimity.”

    However, because people really want to prevent the “painful and premature death” of those that they identify with, does not make them worthy of ridicule or scorn.

    Your advice loses much of its relevance when you post stuff like that.

  • Harknights

    How is this not “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need ?”

    Um isn’t this true communism? I just don’t get people. they are so affraid of being socialist they will become communist first.

    Every day I believe more and more…”When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross” – Sinclair Lewis

  • @Ron in Houston,
    re: Richard Wade
    WOW!!! It’s just dark humor, buddy!
    Two or three minutes around me and you’d be bitch slapping me across the universe!
    Maybe you don’t like it, and I’m cool with that, but I don’t think Richard’s dark humor should in any way reflect on the relevance of his advice.

  • Vas

    Gee Ron,
    I never said I thought it was funny, my point is you do not set the standard. Apparently if someone says something you don’t like they are a f**king idiot, and if they challenge you they are automatically relegated to the serial killers and sociopath crowd, or maybe they are only digging latrines and covered in crap. Face it man that is a bogus claim, not everyone agrees with every tirade you go off on and that does not automatically make them a bad person or a degenerate or whatever other snipes you feel like tossing out there. Your recent posts seem to all have an attack theme, lighten up. You are lecturing on proper behavior while acting like a jackass,(and frankly I’m guilty as well in this thread as I took your troll bait and got snarky towards you). Is the only reason you read this blog to call other people names, or is it a public service to root out the evil people and shame them off the site.

    Hey Richard better start packing your bags, there’s a new sheriff in town and he says you have lost much of your revelance, (but he still admires you!?! Admiration for the irrelevant… interesting concept). Next stop F**king Idiotville, population all who dare offend Ron, hurry up and grab a seat, the train is going to be pretty full, latrine diggers please go to the back car, sociopaths just grab any seat even if it is already taken, ALL ABOARD!
    Serial killers and other sociopaths… oh man I am so busted, I also have a bad case of cooties and stink foot,(bromodrosis), everybody watch out, psycho on the loose over here. Do you really think anyone else is signing off on that? Really?

    Feel the love baby,
    In dementia,

  • Zoe

    I don’t see what’s wrong with this idea. It could go horribly wrong in the execution of the idea, but the idea itself is not so terrible. Better than being taken advantage of by insurance companies, non?

  • Ron in Houston


    You and I appreciate one another to have this rational discussion. I just don’t see “dark humor” as particularly funny. It betrays an ugliness that perhaps not so subtly betrays the darker emotions behind the attempt at “dark humor.”

    I truly admire Richard W. I see him as a paragon of rational thought and advice. I mean absolutely no disrespect in “calling him out.” I can truly appreciate that he’s perhaps being more than a bit flippant. However in my book it’s simply not funny. Maybe I’ve descended into the “morality police” but in my book it’s pretty simple – “not cool” – “don’t do it.”

    Anyhoo, perhaps you I and Richard need to have our own “beer summit.” I’ll offer to buy the first round. Crap, get me drunk enough and I may by the 2nd 3rd and 4th rounds too.

  • Ron in Houston

    Look Vas

    I honestly don’t give a flying f**k what you think. When you say, “Hey, let them have at it. Then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off.” you’re neither being funny and are being a seriously callous idiot.

    It really has nothing to do with “challenging me.” It’s simply an issue of common human decency.

    Why don’t you defend that statement to everybody on the board. If you can defend that statement then I’ll be more than happy to bow down and kiss your a$$ and apologize for just how wrong and misguided of an ignorant son of bitch I’ve been.

    The balls in your court…

  • @Ron,
    I know you don’t mean any ill, buddy. 🙂
    However, dark humor is how many of us choose to express ourselves and it’s not fair to exclude such a large segment of the population from the “friends of Ron club” for being what you might call a little “twisted”. 🙂
    Oh, I could use a good drink right now. Hey, I’ve got vodka in the freezer. Yes!!!

  • Vas

    Hey Ron,
    “just how wrong and misguided of an ignorant son of bitch I’ve been.”

    Well for a start you are wrong and misguided in your quote as I never said,

    “Hey, let them have at it. Then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off.”
    never. And yet you feel the need to attribute that quote to me when it is a false attribution. I never said it, and further never claimed it was funny.

    Ron goes on to say,
    “It really has nothing to do with “challenging me.” It’s simply an issue of common human decency.”
    except that I never said what you just claimed I said and all I really did was challenge your authority to proclaim for all what is funny and what is not.

    And besides you don’t even care,(I’m paraphrasing here) what I think, do you care what anyone thinks or is it just me who is worthy of your scorn? Should we explore definitions of sociopaths at this point?

    How about you defend the statement,

    “if you find that acceptable then go hang with serial killers and other sociopaths because apparently you fit more in with that crowd.”
    After all it seem more appropriate to ask someone to defend a statement they actually made.

    Or we could just “Be like 3 little Fonzys here, and what’s Fonzy like?”. Below is a hint…

    Ron also post some Ron Rules,
    “not cool” – “don’t do it.”
    These appear to be Ron’s rules for others but do not apply to Ron, or maybe I missed the Ron rule about how it’s cool to call people names, contrary to what I learned in preschool.

    Check your dip stick, you must be running low on bile by now.

    Love ya, Mean it,

    (BTW – I have thing to do so I’m outta hear for the day, so you can call me more names without having to justify it. have fun with that Mr. big in the pants)

  • Richard P.

    So who ensures all 14,000 send out the cash…
    I can see it know, some of these “participants” will get tempted to spend their payment. after all they are just wretched sinners and the devil is so full of guile, they will fall to this temptation.

    What else could they do it’s their nature.

    Some poor schmuck will be left hanging….Or should I say praying.

    Nothing like being left to the devils mercy.

  • Ron in Houston


    Honestly on the internet sometimes folks react to one comment without going back and truly wading through the totality of the circumstances that brought about the one comment. I know that I’m more than guilty of that “sin” from time to time.

    To the extent you’ve done that and I’ve reacted, I’ll be the first to apologize.

    I appreciate that I can come off as a real SOB. Sometimes that’s truly intended and sometimes not.

    On one hand, yeah, you’re right I’m certainly not the morality police. However, just like the truth of you can be good without God, you can also see a$$hat behavior without being the “morality police.”

    Honestly, I’m not here to belittle anyone or call them names. I truly honestly feel that for some reason you and I truly have a misunderstanding. Otherwise, I don’t think you’d fault me for telling someone who started off questioning how the first amendment applied to a school district’s graduation prayer that they’re digging a latrine.

    Anyway, life is truly too short and our limited supply of bile should be reserved for those who are truly deserving of it. Hopefully both of us can find more deserving targets than one another.

  • nofearof0

    Apparently, the last handful of commenters resolved whatever miscommunication/indignation/hurt feelings they were having with each other, and I hate to open up old wounds……

    but alas, i will.

    “Hey, let them have at it. Then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off…”

    Though apparently that quote was never actually written verbatim, I am going to agree with it….with no claim to humor.

    The people creating a Christian oriented public option for themselves, are the same people who are rabidly against Universal Health care for everyone. A previous poster brought that point up, and I think it aught to be reiterated.

    I understand individuals have different reasons for opposing the bill in office right now, and that is an important discussion. But, I don’t want this topic to become focused on its political merits. I want to really reflect on the hypocrisy of the Christian right, as reflected by their actions (not only this case).

    There is a very large movement in this country being fronted by a variety of Evangelical Charismatic leaders and Christian groups to swing the nation to the far right. Look at CPAC, Focus on the Family, The Teaparty,the Century for a New America, and the hundreds of Evangelical churches and sub-political groups.

    Most of them refer to themselves as warriors fighting against secular humanism, satanism and humanistic philosophies. They hate progressives and progressive values with all the fervor of their love for Christ. We must recognize that these are not fringe groups. They are very much a part of the new mainstream Christianity and political right.

  • nofearof0

    I see, especially on this site, a lot of atheists getting wrapped up on this idea of “maintaining the high ground”. So saying something like “its in the survival and wellbeing of mankind’s interest that religion is eradicated”, is somehow lowbrow and out of line.

    But I reject that. I’m an atheist because I despise systems of oppression, dogma dictating science, reactionary politics, inequality, inconsistent ethics… and I stand up against people who seek to impose those “virtues”.

    For the record, I am a secular humanist. I want all people to have access to healthcare. I also support social programs like Public Option (as enacted in France), so that all people regardless of of class, financial ability, sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, status or yes, even religion can have access to doctors and potentially life-saving procedures.

    The same cannot be said for the Christian groups. They would rather form a “members only” healthcare system for themselves, to hell with everyone else (literally), than engage in the ethical notion that all people deserve access to healthcare.

    So I say, let them have it. Meanwhile, everyone else can strive for a more just, healthy society, and if they don’t want to be a part of it….then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off due to their own ignorance and hatred.

  • I wouldn’t trust a Christian to send money if I needed it. Many Christians claim to only do good because they fear punishment or hope for a reward from their deity. That is no basis for trust. Insurance companies are actually more trustworthy*. At least they are honest about their motivations and have to provide a service or lose their customers.

    *I feel kind of dirty after typing that.

  • “The member is encouraged and praises God for his provision.”


    At what point in the process does God send a check?

  • Does it say anything about pre-existing conditions? We applied for Medishare once when I was still a believer, and were denied for pre-existing conditions. Guess Christians who are actually sick are just kind of screwed. We got evil Medicaid instead.

  • plutosdad

    Harknights, re: socialism

    read what Miko wrote above.

    It’s the difference between true socialism: people in a community helping each other, and central planning. The difference between everyone in a community owning a share of a water supply or irrigation system, and the government owning it and doling it out. The difference between the socialist farming communities that existed in Russia, and the forced central planning they rebelled against under the USSR.

  • Thom

    Adding on to plutosdad and Miko:

    This is the opposite of Socialism in the popular sense because this program is 100% voluntary. You are FREE to choose, which is the essence of liberty and the antithesis of Government-controlled redistribution.

  • Vas

    @ Ron,
    Sure in light of your latest comments on this thread I’m willing to let this thing go, indeed we should use our limited supply of bile on more deserving targets. At the same time I’m still not thrilled with the name calling of myself or others because we disagree. For the record I don’t think New England Bob who made the quote,

    “Hey, let them have at it. Then there will be fewer evangelicals as they die off. I say let people do stupid things (if they are informed) as long as they don’t harm others.”

    is a “fu**ing callous idiot” or engaging in asshattery. Yes I recognize asshat behavior but I just don’t think this was up to that level. And really I’m no sociopath or psycho killer, nor do I fit in with that crowd. I completely understand that you disagree and were offended by NEBob’s post, but I think you see in retrospect that being an SOB can cause more problems than it solves, and can derail conversations particularly if someone, (such as myself) decides to be a cop. I think Bob is alright and I think you are as well even if you two disagree.
    For the record I read and reread every comments on the thread about the school graduation prayer that you and Gary had the extensive exchange about before I made any comments on this thread re: latrine diggers. Gary’s argument did not impress me much and I thought you had a superior position but thought the name calling was counter productive to your points.
    Like you I am also not the morality police and was a bit out of line telling you that you should not engage in name calling. I don’t set the rules of conduct here, and if Hemant lets posters have a pretty free reign as to tone and content it’s not my place to try and enforce some sort of Vas Rules re: name calling on this blog. That said I really still wish we could be more civil to each other as well as to those with whom we disagree.
    So in the end maybe we do have a misunderstanding and would both be best served by moving past it. Even if you don’t care what I think I would still ask you to at least think about throttling back on the insults and concentrating on lucid arguments, after all you are pretty skilled at arguing your position complete with valid support to it.

    I apologize for getting all up in your face over this thing, we both appear to be guilty of the same “sin” that of being offended by a post and going on to berate the offending poster.

    Anyway I have work to attend to so I’m outta here,

  • Killer_Bee

    Insurance companies are actually more trustworthy*. At least they are honest about their motivations and have to provide a service or lose their customers.

    Moreover, insurance is one of the most consumer-protected businesses around. It’s heavily regulated by state governments. Insurance companies must file annual reports to various reporting agencies detailing their asset holdings and ability to pay claims. On top of all that, they must file with the state if they want to raise rates or include other variables in the calculation of premiums – like zip codes, persistent coverage, etc. Imagine another business asking the government for permission to set the price for its product.

  • Slickninja

    The sounds quite like a healthcare board with the ability peer review and deny health coverage. Sure its “free” but it still requires “taxing” to operate. In short, this model is more or less privatized Christian healthcare, all the power and none of the responsibility. They get to discriminate against openly against mental disorders, with a 1800s attitude on mental health. Its bizarre a group of people who require absolutely no proof of one thing would deny something else that isn’t tangible.

    Atlas, I expect nothing less from religion.

  • Personally I love dark humour. It’ to die for.

  • Deb

    I don’t want to go into a big long thing here, but I just want to quickly share this:

    My dear friend was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a blood cancer). He and his wife are members of the Samaritan Ministries health care group. They have been nothing but wonderful in all their care. Despite the MM being a pre-existing condition, they have fully covered ALL treatment, including a stem cell transplant. My friend has had access to the best in doctors and state of the art treatment at no cost. 3 months out from the stem cell transplant, he is doing very well. During this entire time, they have received weekly phone calls to cover both the information aspects of their case and also to check on their well-being. IF they desired, the caller would pray for them. And IF they desired, they could request that other group members pray for them. Their choice, their decision.

    Don’t judge too quickly. I don’t know if this would be the healthcare plan for me, but for my friends , they literally owe their lives and their financial survival to this group.

  • I dunno…religious, not religious, if it works for them, then cool. If they don’t want to participate, that’s cool, too. As long as fellow human beings are being taken care of and not being fleeced, I’m good with it.
    Vas, Ron, I enjoy reading your comments. Sometime people make mistakes. Sometimes we just have a bad day and act unpleasantly. Have a drink (or ten). Glad you let it pass…

  • muggle

    “Look Vas

    I honestly don’t give a flying f**k what you think.”

    Nor, Ron, does anyone give a flying fuck whether you enjoy dark humor. Let it pass instead of throwing a temper tantrum, will you?

    Sorry, had to get that off my chest because I let so much of your self-sanctimonious posts pass.

    In addition to everyone who’s already pointed out all the things I would have like it smelling of a scam and not being trustworthy come time to pay up and HIPA laws, I’d add can’t they also get into trouble because of the discriminatory nature of it? I smell a lawsuit in the making and rather think them deserving of it.

  • I would be worried about the tax implications of being on the receiving end of substantial donations. Insurance payments are not income, but this money is not passing through any centralized organization, it is coming from and to individuals. A few hundred dollars for a basic test is one thing, but the IRS is going to balk at tens of thousands of dollars coming in to an account, even if in the form of small deposits. Even if a major procedure were paid for, one could wind up in a very uncomfortable tax bracket, which would only compound the problem of not being able to afford insurance in the first place.

  • Staceyjw

    This type of thing clearly illustrates the underlying beliefs of people fighting against public coverage for all- their desire to EXCLUDE people/conditions they don’t agree with. Heaven forbid that a person you don’t agree with gets a PENNY’S worth of benefit from money you put in the pool! They don’t even care that THEY TOO will benefit- just helping someone they find “unfit” is repulsive enough to make them refuse to participate all together. (It’s actually a very American attitude.) How Disgusting!!!

  • Fredrik


    What’s their problem with the mentally ill? And by the way, ADD is demonstrable via MRI testing

    Since when do evangelicals care about what is demonstrable?

  • jen

    This is the opposite of Socialism in the popular sense because this program is 100% voluntary. You are FREE to choose, which is the essence of liberty and the antithesis of Government-controlled redistribution.

    Of course, you are only FREE to join or not join, or to send or not send money. You are not FREE to expect that you will get what you have paid for. You are FREE to beg and plead and hope that they think your disease is a morally upright one, and that people will feel moved to send you money. If people don’t send you money, well, I guess you’re FREE to be overwhelmed with debt.

    Personally, I’d rather have an insurance contract that says they will pay for things, and take my chances on having to sue them if they fail to fulfill their obligations.

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