Current Events Write-Up: Premiums and Cancer Patients, Prophet Johnson on Trump, the UN, MLK on Planned Parenthood, and the Other Gettysburg Address

Time for another Current Events Write-Up, in which I link to news and opinion pieces and comment on them.

Health Care

I’d like to use as my starting-point Jason Easley’s article for PoliticusUSA, entitled “Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Replacement Is a Death Sentence for Cancer Patients.”

Paul Ryan had a town-hall meeting, and a cancer patient told him that Obamacare saved his life.  Ryan responded that he, too, believes that people with pre-existing conditions should be able to receive affordable care.  The problem with Obamacare, Ryan says, is that it drives up deductibles and premiums for people.  Is there a way to give coverage to people with costly pre-existing conditions, without driving up deductibles and premiums?  Ryan’s solution is to set up high-risk pools.  Jason Easley argues that, under this proposal, “cancer patients will be given less healthcare and lower odds of survival.”

Easley criticizes Ryan for implying that cancer patients are ruining health care for others, by driving up their deductibles and premiums.  On online discussions, commenters have expressed similar sentiments.  On the one side, there are cancer patients who fear losing their coverage under the Affordable Care Act: that would impose insurmountable financial costs on them, and perhaps even cost them their lives.  On the other side, you have people who are complaining about the Affordable Care Act on account of the high deductibles and premiums.  They wonder why they should spend hundreds of dollars each month on premiums, for insurance that they may not even use.  Many in the former group are accusing people in the latter group of being selfish: of wanting to save bucks and have a more comfortable life at the expense of the cancer patients’ very existence.  Even if people in the latter group never use their health insurance, the money that they pay into the health insurance system will cover the treatment of someone else who does need the health insurance.

I thought back to a conversation that former Governor Ed Rendell had on Charlie Rose’s show back in 2012.  Rendell was referring to Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry’s proposal for health care during his 2004 election campaign.  Rendell said that Kerry’s plan would insure that cancer patients are covered, while bringing down premiums for others.  I was curious about the details of this plan, and I found a 2004 New York Times article that summarized it.  Here is the relevant section:

“For the vast majority of Americans and most businesses as well, the chief worry is soaring premiums.  Here Mr. Kerry has proposed an innovative solution. He would have a federally funded ‘reinsurance’ program reimburse employers for 75 percent of all medical bills exceeding some catastrophic limit — say, for example, $30,000 a year. That would mean companies and group health plans would no longer have to shoulder the most costly cases that account for a huge chunk of all health expenditures. In return, the companies would have to pass the savings on in reduced premiums, cover all workers and set up disease management programs. The Kerry camp estimates this might reduce premiums by 10 percent, mostly by shifting the cost to the taxpayers.”

There are probably strengths and weaknesses to this proposal.  Still, something should be done to ensure that cancer patients receive care, while also taking into consideration the concerns of people who are burdened by monthly premiums, and may not fall into that economic niche that would get them sufficient Obamacare subsidies.

Political Figures

I’ll start with this Vox article defending Jill Stein.  Is Jill Stein against wi-fi?  Does she believe that vaccines caused autism?  This article defends her against these charges, while mildly critiquing her for failing to stick to her guns on certain issues (i.e., Brexit).

Benjamin Corey criticizes a statement by Prophet Jeremiah Johnson, which appeared in Charisma Magazine.  Johnson said the following:

“I was in a time of prayer several weeks ago when God began to speak to me concerning the destiny of Donald Trump in America. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, ‘Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.'”

Corey makes legitimate criticisms of Johnson’s prophecy, especially when Corey wonders how Johnson’s vision of Trump helping the foreigner and stranger meshes with Trump’s stance on illegal immigration.

Still, the prophecy resonates with me.  I am not saying that I believe Johnson is expressing the opinions of Almighty God on Trump.  I am just saying that the statement resonates with me, in areas.  Trump does go against the grain.  He comes across as fearless.  People attack him, and he keeps on moving forward.  And I would like to think that there is more to him than bluster, pride, and arrogance.

In 2008, I read “prophecies” about Barack Obama, one negative and the other positive.  I talk about that in my post here.  The positive prophecy said that Barack Obama is a person who hungers for righteousness, and that resonated with my understanding of Barack Obama at the time: I saw him as a decent human being who sincerely wanted to find common ground with the other side and help find solutions to the nation’s problems.  Eight years later, my response to Obama is rather “meh.”  I don’t think he was a horrible President, or even that he is a bad human being.  But he had to contend with a lot of gridlock, to the point that he came across as a lame-duck.

There is a part of me that hopes that President Trump will be able to cut through a lot of crap and accomplish positive reforms.  Whether my optimism is misplaced or not, I cannot yet say.

The UN

Mother Jones had an article entitled, “Obama Just Took One Final Step to Fight Global Warming: And There’s Nothing Donald Trump Can Do About It.”  Here is what President Obama did: “On Tuesday, Obama transferred $500 million to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, a key program set up to finance climate change adaptation and renewable energy projects in developing countries.”

Over at Townhall, Terry Paulson has a column, “Is It Time to Defund the UN?”  He leans in the “yes” direction, saying that the UN condemns Israel while privileging Israel’s radical Islamic enemies, and that the UN ignores Nigeria’s brutal oppression of secessionists.  Interestingly, Paulson provides a quote that indicates that at least some of those secessionists are placing their hope in Donald Trump.

I do not know much about this issue, but it would not surprise me if the UN is inconsistent in applying its principles, as many institutions are.  The same is true of the US.

Will Trump care about Nigeria?  I am not too optimistic.  Unfortunately and sadly, I tend to agree with economist Bruce Bartlett when he said: “Serious question. If it wasn’t for oil and the Jewish vote, would anyone care what happens in the Middle East? It would be like Africa, where thousands of people die all the time and no one gives a rat’s ass. If it don’t affect us, materially or politically, Americans just don’t care, at all. That’s an undeniable fact.”  Maybe that compassionate father’s heart that prophet Johnson talked about will influence Trump to care, but that remains to be seen.

Historical Interest

Media Matters has an article entitled, “Reminder to Conservatives: Martin Luther King Jr. Praised Planned Parenthood.”  That does not surprise me.  MLK believed a lot of things that would not resonate with conservatives.  Rather than saying that MLK would agree with them if alive today, perhaps conservatives would do better to argue that their views, in areas, are closer to the principles that MLK defended, even if MLK himself did not apply his principles in that manner.

I was reading a book that told the usual story of the Gettysburg Address: how the person who spoke before Lincoln went on for two hours, and then Lincoln delivered his short Gettysburg Address.  I was curious about the person who spoke before Lincoln.  His name was Edward Everett, and the goal of his speech was to discuss the significance of the American Civil War in light of American history and also the history of Greece.  So says Ted Widmer in this NYT blog post.  And here is Everett’s speech, if you want to read it!  It looks rather flowery to me, but I may read it at a later time.  It is cool what the Internet provides!

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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