As the son of Cuban immigrants, I’ve learned to distrust government promises to solve our problems. The fact is inflexible, standardized programs fail individuals because they aren’t designed for individuals.
As business gurus will tell you, “A product for everyone is a product for no one.” This is particularly true when it comes to our health, which is why we should do everything we can to protect and encourage choice for Americans when it comes to managing their health care. And 2021 has proven to be a flare-up in the battle to protect the right to choose for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Supporters of central planning are executing a concerted effort across the U.S. to eliminate health care choice in an effort to slowly force everyone into federally-run health care. Wars are won through battles, and Health Care Sharing Ministries has been working to fight legislation in multiple states that threaten their very survival. From coast to coast, bills have been introduced in state legislatures to effectively eliminate Health Care Sharing Ministries from serving members. Each bill is slightly different, but all are lethal.
Take a bill in Texas that – fortunately – was just derailed from passing. It sought to regulate Health Care Sharing Ministries much like health insurance and since they are not health insurance, operating as authentic Health Care Sharing Ministries under the law would be challenging. They’d be forced to violate the law or their unique identity. Neither option is fair to ministry members or good for society, which only benefits from the progress that comes from competition.
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Health Care Sharing Ministries are not health insurance and do not purport to be. They are a completely different model whereby members share medical bills that align with shared values. They are communities committed to supporting each other – financially, emotionally, and spiritually – through their Christian faith. It is a product for some, but certainly not for all.
But Texas is not alone. To date, nine other states are also quietly taking up legislation to snuff out the Health Care Sharing Ministry option, which currently serves more than 1.5 million Americans – and has been since the early 90s. This legislative assault tactic is clever and intentional. The language in proposed legislation sounds beneficial to consumers, and supporters are trying to push bills through discreetly with late-night deals hoping no one notices.
Government programs are rigid, one-size-fits-all behemoths that settle for “good enough” for most. That’s why I’ve been distressed to see the United States inch closer and closer to government-run health care over the past decade. As my family witnessed first-hand in Cuba, the lofty promises of “universal” government solutions for health care never meet with the reality of what is provided. Cuba’s communist dream of “quality” and “accessible” health care for all has turned out to be a disaster, creating a wretched medical system for Cubans where access is limited, conditions are un-sanitary, and basic medications are scarce. When it comes to our health care, the goal for Americans should be nothing short of excellence.
Choice drives excellence and government health care programs continue to fail to live up to expectations because they don’t offer choice, and, as we saw in Cuba and other totalitarian regimes, they eliminate choice to mask the failure. We cannot let that happen in the United States of America.
There are many reasons that more than 1.5 million Americans choose Christian Health Care Sharing over government health care or private insurance – and those reasons are specific to each individual. The bottom line is they have choice, and there’s nothing more American than that.
We need to keep American principles in health care and keep individuals in the driver’s seat. Government solutions never materialize and won’t this time.