Healthcare in the US remains in flux since the passing of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA). One primary area of need still unanswered and lacking in adequate infrastructure is the area of indigent care. Historically, the uninsured and those who find health insurance unaffordable have flooded and overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms by utilizing the ER as a walk-in clinic. This vacuum of unanswered delivery for this level of care has created a flurry of would be participants in the provision of services and for the funding allocated for it.
Among the hopefuls for this indigent care funding are churches and faith based non-profits who possibly view meeting this need as a ministry opportunity. Historically, denominations and religious groups have, at times, been involved unencumbered in operating hospitals and even church based clinics. However, new guidelines suck as LGBT non-discrimination are proving to faith based and church participants in healthcare that we have entered a danger zone of hidden agendas and progressive politics driving healthcare decision making and policy.
Health Care the Golden Opportunity for Progressives
Progressive organizations have not been snoozing through the opportunity to infuse their goals into the guideline for providers in faith based partnerships as shown in this celebratory Todd article: According to the CAP article implementation of the AHA would “not be possible without Faith Based partners.” The additional mention of FBP involvement in Health and Human Services (HHS) and School Based Health Clinics (SBHC) is even more disturbing due to the close partnerships between HHS and Planned Parenthood and affiliated organizations who aspire to provide “School Based Primary Care” for both students and families in poor communities.
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The Obama administration overhauled the Faith Based Partnerships in 2009/2010 and poured billions of tax dollars into them. The Whitehouse Toolkit for grant hopefuls outlines the establishment of a faith based office within EVERY federal agency in order to oversee the partners receiving federal funding. Oversight is the key principle to understanding the dangers for conservative Christian providers. A quick look at the advisory board assembled is a major red flag since LGBT groups, Human Rights Campaign, and ARCUS Foundation were included . In health care a plethora of non-discrimination policies are firmly in place and include the pro LGBT activist HHS interpretations of best practices for both physical and mental health and well-being.
A Bloody Discrimination?
A disturbing insight into the outcome of such activism would be a recent push for “Blood Equality.” Since the Orlando gay nightclub attack the Huffington Post and others have been mainstreaming a cry to “stop the ban on queer blood.” AIDS was first identified in 1981 and by 1985 testing was firmly in place to prevent tainted blood from entering the general public’s blood supply. The concept of restricting those who engage in “at risk behavior “ has not been one of discrimination but of best practice for the public welfare and fully supported by the CDC and the CID. The Red Cross and blood banks across the country have supported this policy in the face of some inadequate responses of the FDA in whose oversight these concerns remained.
The main concern today in our activist’s health care is if such policies seen as discriminatory and offensive to some. The future may look grim for those who require blood transfusions or emergency surgery as we pave the way for an international repeat of the UK Tainted Blood Scandal.
Churches, ministries and denominational organizations are rushing into the indigent health care windfall with little consideration of the long term outcomes. Indigent focus and funding then broadens to become the underserved community, then encompasses the working poor who abandon the care of private practice for “Cheaper Care”. Once the private practices disappear then the cycle of underserved community begins all over again and the Walmart Effect has moved from small town America into healthcare until no other options are left but government run public clinics with private partners like faith based organizations. Young graduates leaving medical universities are caught in the trap of diminishing private options, profit driven corporate models and the faith based non-profits. Often the newly graduated professionals work for low pay with more grant funded reductions in student loans as enticement for long hours and low wages.
Large churches are now openly using our offerings and pledges to obtain matching funds or seed money for more government and private grants. Curriculum is admittedly designed as training for our families and children to be mobilized to man the “ministries.” It’s as if to say, “Give me your money to use as seed funds for your taxes and then volunteer in my clinic where your church is competing with you.” And who else is in the room? Every progressive activist on the dream list of the current administration and possibly the next.
Is There an Exit Strategy?
The greater concerns beyond co-mingling missions with the Obama administration are the dangers to religious freedom, church autonomy, and silencing the conservative voice in the cultural debate ,thus causing political correctness to rule ending in Doctors being fired for giving honest health advice. No doubt the church could do a better job than government in providing care but the guidelines restricting “religious activities” within grant funded programs takes the faith out of faith based on this slippery slope. If ministry is not allowed then the church is left being nothing more than a conduit for social programs and one more government Health and Human Services contractor.
Ask your local pastor and denominational leader if they are involved and if they know the dangers posed by FBP to health care. Look up the 990 reports of your favorite parachurch ministry and see whose funding is on the annual reports. You may be shocked. Search the CDCs LGBT health pages and understand why honesty in treating real life medical issues is important even to the LGBT community. What will the future “look like” if healthcare is politically and profit driven with evangelicals as well funded enablers of a failing system? Let’s consider if the church becomes one more hated layer in the frustrating chain of socialized medicine. If the money is the only incentive left then buyer beware. The government (tax) money goes away and the churches resources are exploited. It was in the fine print.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.