Crosswalk America Arrives in Washington, DC

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 13 September 2006 0 Comments
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Dr. Cato in his excellent essay several months ago, suggested
that Christians should take a position on the morally appropriate
allocation of medical resources in the event of a flu pandemic.
I believe that the likely allocation pattern can be easily
deduced from current public policy on health care: most resources
will go to the elderly through the Medicare program and the
children will be left out. This is misguided and immoral:
children and the parents who provided for them should receive the
highest priority. Medicare recipients like myself (age 69) are
grateful for the Medicare benefit, but the future of our society
does not depend much on 69 year-olds. It depends very much on
those who are now children. Even in the "best of times" (i.e. no
flu pandemic) millions of children go without routine
immunizations because their parents are poor, but too "rich" for
Medicaid. I propose that the children, rich and poor alike, have
what Dr. Cato calls ".the most value to (society)." I am a member
of a small Episcopal parish in Kansas and I have already written
my Congressional delegation about my views. You seem to suggest
that we should do more to influence (i.e. change) public policy.
But how?


I hope your letter in this column helps. Thank you
for your response. We do spend as a nation more than 90 cents out
of every healthcare dollar on the last year of a person's life.
Most of this is spent on the elderly, but children who are born
with defects and cannot be saved despite numerous procedures are
also in that number as well as accident victims but who die in a
year from complications. In our free society, we must decide how
to allocate the money raised through taxes to allow for the
greatest good. If we choose to do so, I suspect that we, as a
nation, have enough resources to provide health care for all
people unless we face a cataclysmic disaster. There is a
political question as to whether we will or not. If the world's
population continues to expand at the present rates, all social
systems will be overrun and a disaster is guaranteed.

John Shelby Spong




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