Health care beyond the doctor’s office and emergency room

As our society wrestles with health care issues, I’ve often thought that Christians might consider supporting the beginnings of a parallel health care system, based on Christian love rather than government or insurance requirements. I might try to explore that more sometime. Peter Leithart notes an article in The New Yorker whose subject, Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, contends that the doctor’s office and emergency room visits (sufficient for most people) don’t work for people struggling with drug addiction, Alzheimer’s, and other serious issues.  These patients with complex problems are also part of the huge costs of health care.

Leithart concludes: “Only intense, communal, wholistic care can help the tough patients.  And that has the added benefit of helping to control costs.  There is an opportunity here for churches to follow this kind of program.”

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3 thoughts on “Health care beyond the doctor’s office and emergency room

  1. There are “Christian” alternatives to health insurance, where large groups of people basically divide the cost of the bills evenly. I’m not sure how efficient this is, given that the average health insurance company negotiates huge cuts to the bill for the customer. If the bill is passed on to the group without any negotiating, that is a huge hit. Negotiating, though, takes time and energy that many sick people don’t have.
    http://christianpf.com/christian-health-insurance-alternative/

  2. Your Leithart link is slightly broken with an extra “http//” in there.

    Scott wrote: “As our society wrestles with health care issues, I’ve often thought that Christians might consider supporting the beginnings of a parallel health care system, based on Christian love rather than government or insurance requirements.

    I thought that, prior to public funding, that was how most hospitals operated, often through charity. I’m curious how you envision it working; I’ll look forward to your exploring that here sometime!

    I recently saw a CNN interview that went over the same material as Brenner’s quote, so maybe I saw him. It makes sense to focus on the “hotspots” to improve care and provide for more cost-effective, perhaps longterm, solutions.

  3. Doug, thanks for the link about Medishare. It was interesting to see an evaluation of it. The pros and cons were interesting, and I hadn’t thought about the negotiating power of the insurance companies that you mentioned.

    Here’s something that Doug Wilson wrote about health care that included an appreciation and criticism of Medishare:
    http://dougwils.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8358%3Ayet-another-den-of-thieves&catid=129%3Aobama-nation-building&Itemid=1

    Kevin, thanks for pointing out the broken link, which I just fixed. I don’t really know how hospitals worked before the government became so involved in public health. That would be an important part of thinking through this whole thing.

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