February 8, 2018

My Brother’s Keeper

By Glenn

If you have to ask, you probably already know the answer.  When Cain asked God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?,” he knew the answer.  He knew his jealousy was wrong.  Cain simply wanted more at the expense of his brother.  This is a cautionary tale.  Hurting others to get more often leaves us with less.

Many Americans justifiably fear losing their healthcare coverage.  Insurance companies continue to rake in billions of dollars in profits as patients receive less care.  Conservative voters, however, lashed out and demanded Congress take away coverage from 32 million Americans who gained insurance under ObamaCare.  Unfortunately, rural voters are on the verge of finding out much they have to lose by lashing out.

Community Health Centers, non-profit clinics in underserved areas, are on the budget chopping block.  Paris, Copper, Bonham and several other North Texas communities have a center.  Across the state these clinics serve 1.3 million Texans.  The cost of care depends upon a patient’s ability to pay.  The clinics welcome those with insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and the uninsured.  Federal money makes up the difference between what a patient can afford and what the services cost.  Without federal grants these clinics would close.

Community Health Centers help individuals at all stages of life from pregnancy to senior care.  They have parenting classes that teach moms and dads how to care for their own child.  The centers offer nutrition classes to help people prevent and reduce the damage of diabetes.  Texans can also receive lifesaving screenings for killers like cancer.

Community Health Centers are attractive to employees.  Doctors can pay off student loans faster.  They have access to Federal lawsuit protect for all work done for the clinic.  The Federal Tort Claims Act provides them with a lawyer at no cost if they are sued.  The grants also pay for continuing education.  This benefit keeps doctors up to date and patients safe. It really is a win-win.

Failure to reach a budget deal in Washington threatens the health and lives of Texans.  Conservative politicians and voters do not want to fund public health care options.  This attitude has put Community Health Centers on the chopping block.  Unless more caring voices speak out, the least among us will watch in vain as their doctors and nurses pack up and leave town.

We are left then with that age old question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Do we care if the least among us go without?   Be careful before you answer.  Like Cain, you might find yourself with less also.  If conservatives are successful now, they plan on turning their attention to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.  Your neighbors might just decide that you can do more with less just like the patients in the Community Health Centers.

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