Saturday, June 30, 2012

For What It's Worth

I know this is a hot button issue right now, but in the debate about "Obamacare" there is one issue I have a hard time swallowing.  Regardless of where your politics take you on this matter, I'd like to challenge us to think about how we speak.

In the past few days I have read the following statements (or something VERY similar) more times than I care to count, "You are not entitled to what I have earned." Or worse yet, "I worked hard and went to college apparently so you wouldn't have to."  These are favorites on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, with people "sharing" them over and over again. 

I take an EXTREME amount of offense to this, and I know I am not the only one.  For the past 3 and a half years we have been without health insurance.  Never once during that time were we "milking" the system or "wasting" all the hard work and effort of people who "earned" what they have. Cody held 2 full-time jobs for over a year in order to make ends meet and chase the dream God had given him.  Currently we are both working.  We both earned college degrees (not that it should matter) and we are both working in the fields we trained for in school.  He is a church planter, I am a teacher, and we are both foster parents... and we have no health insurance.  We believe God has called us to be doing what we're doing, but we take responsibility for having made that choice.  Cody and I go without health insurance, but we do not believe our children should go without, so we apply for MI Child/medicaid.  So here's the kicker... we may not make as much money as some people, and our jobs may not offer health insurance like many do, but it DOES NOT mean we haven't paid taxes towards the services we receive, it DOES NOT mean we are slackers or leeches, and it DOES NOT mean we don't work VERY hard to make a good life for our family and to make a meaningful contribution to society.

You may say, "so buy your own insurance then."  I would say, go price out personal insurance and let me know how easily your budget could take that hit.

You may say, "so get a different job or move."  I would say, I am right where God is asking me to be.

You may say, "you are the exception not the norm."  I would say, think again.  The average household income in my county is $28,599 (in 2009).  For the rest of the state in 2009 it was $45,255.  People here work hard, they just don't earn what people earn elsewhere.  When a job pays that little, it rarely comes with benefits, unless it's a big corporation (ie. Walmart, Home Depot, etc.), and they don't set up shop in tiny northern Michigan towns. 

I honestly don't care whether you support the new health care laws or not.  I have NO desire to argue the politics or morality of it all.  I'm just BEGGING you to choose your words carefully as you debate this with others.  We "slacker/leeches" types are tired of all the mud slinging. 

As an FYI- we will have insurance through my job starting in September, and although I am extremely happy to know it's coming, it does not change my feelings about this whole issue. 


Kendra said...

Oh my gosh, girl! I love you!! People do not understand (because we are so spoiled in America) that people do work hard and aren't always offered benefits.... And it IS so dang expensive!! We are in the same boat as you guys... Church planters working hard to fulfill our calling and still bring home some bacon! Health insurance is insanely expensive and what we could possibly barely squeeze to afford wouldn't be worth it anyways (10K deductible). I totally agree, people - please be careful with your words!!

Alyssa said...

Love you Manders! Thank you for posting that... I have heard those comments as well and am embarrased by how insensitive and hurtful we can be with each other. You are right to ask us to consider our words before we speak them.