I am a constituent of New Orleans. I work in nonprofit and my husband works in the film industry. We are taxpayers and voters. We are also foster parents of an active 6-year-old boy. We are teaching him how to read, what foods are healthy, showing him how to play soccer, and be a good friend. He has ADHD, on medication, and sees a psychiatrist monthly. Due to his speech delays, he also has a speech therapist. He wears glasses because he has a weak eye. Will all of these issues he is being cared for be considered a preexisting condition in his future?
I asked him yesterday if he understood why he had to leave his parents’ home to live with us (strangers). He said “because my parents are sick.” I asked him how he knew that and he said “my brain told me.” This is how he makes sense of his world.
In truth, they are “sick.” They are fighting a disease of addiction that has affected their entire family. Both birth parents are fighting for their health and for him. They are in treatment and are working their plan set up by the state in order to put the pieces back together of their family. It is clear to us that they love him. They call and visit weekly. However, they are also fragile and need the community to come together to fight this epidemic with them and for them.
I often wonder, what would they do if they did not have access to healthcare and treatment? When this little 6-year-old grows up, am I going to be the one to tell him that his parents tried very hard to get him back but failed because they didn’t have access to the medical care they so desperately need? Their recovery has only just begun. They will forever have a pre-existing condition. They will forever need access to quality healthcare.
We have a duty as humans to care for the sick! It’s not even a new concept and we are late to the game. Why can’t we look at what is working in other countries and replicate (or improve it) for the United States? For example, I lived in Israel for 3 years (2004-2007) as a foreigner; I had access to their universal health care plan. If we are the “greatest” country, then let’s be great at healthcare!
“My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?” James 2:1
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-40