Well, the deed is done. President Obama’s progressive health care plan is passed.
There are many givens in all of this. The plan is incredibly expensive, and among those things that are theoretically going to reduce its cost is a previously imaginary beast: government efficiency. It isn’t partisan to say that the idea that our government will actually be able to add efficiency and reduce waste is a dubious one at best. The most honest of minds that I have read recognize that the plan is going to be terribly, terribly expensive — and at a time when we our debt is reaching truly frightening levels. Those nations to whom we owe money will certainly be paying attention.
There are also a number of questions. While individual positions differed (as they always will), much more of the American people felt the health care bill was a bad idea than a good one. Even many of those who wanted to change the status quo didn’t like this bill. Many were disgusted with the legislative bribes in the bill and with the catering to those with political connection in opposition to the will of the “unconnected” populous. Many were also frustrated with the lack of transparency of the process. For many others, the fact that this is the way government generally works made it nothing new, but they were awakened to interest and action by the sheer size of this particular act of political will.
Also, the constitutionality of some of the provisions is surely going to be attacked. For instance, the Constitution of the United States — which defines the powers of federal authority — nowhere gives Congress the authority to require Americans to purchase a product, such as, in this case, insurance. The States have long enjoyed that authority — for instance, requiring drivers to purchase auto insurance — but the Federal government does not have that right (not enumerated in the Constitution, it is reserved to the States). Congress has the power to tax, but it cannot use that power to “create” ad hoc new powers for itself through punitive taxation. However, the Constitution is always at the mercy of how it is interpreted by the current U.S. Supreme Court (since the vows to uphold the Constitution has long become a trivial consideration), so the final shape of all of this remains to be seen.
For anyone who would like a blow-by-blow account of how nauseating the final moments of approval process actually was, feel free to read the Wall Street Journal’s opinion piece “Inside the Pelosi Sausage Factory” by Kimberley A. Strassel. If you can hold your lunch down long enough to read through it and realize that this represents how the leadership of our nation conducts its business, perhaps you will pray all the more passionately that God’s Kingdom will come soon! (And I do not pretend that those politicians on the other side of the aisle are somehow blessed with more godliness and nobility. Switch out the names and issues with other names whose D’s and R’s are reversed and change the issues appropriately and I would find the process equally nauseating and ungodly.)
However, what really interests me is what all of this may mean prophetically and spiritually.
For instance, the heart-stopping levels of debt the United States government is racking up and the increasing dependence on loans from other nations has serious prophetic connection. God says that a disobedient Israel (including the United States and Great Britain) will suffer from indebtedness to foreign powers: “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43–44).
Even those who don’t agree with the identity of modern Israel must at least be able to look at history, review the fall of great powers of the past, and agree with the truth of Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” And even though the biblical indications are that Habakkuk 2 is not a direct prophecy of the United States and Great Britain (since the people under discussion are the Chaldeans, not Israel), as Mr. Ames and Mr. Weston kindly pointed out to me, all can see that the pattern God prophesied to come at His appointed time upon the Chaldeans who would become Judah’s oppressors is a pattern that can befall any heavily indebted power: “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, and a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases what is not his–how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’? Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty” (Hab. 2:6-7).
Those interested in a recent Tomorrow’s World article on the economic circumstance of the U.S. and what the Bible has to say about it might read this: “Heading for Economic Catastrophe?” All I will add before moving on is that the decision made this weekend to spend even more money that we don’t have only adds to the insanity and the apparent inevitability of where this nation is headed.
Economics aside, I find it interesting, as well, that the final vote on health care, the final pivot point, was the subject of federal (that is, paid by you and me) funding of the murder of children that is generally called “abortion.”
(The mentality behind the fight to allow, however subtly, abortions to be supported by the health care plan has some nasty overtones, as James Taranto brought out very solidly in a Best of the Web Today several days ago. A topic for another time, perhaps.)
Those in the know in Congress (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) realize that there was no real protection with teeth in the health care law to prevent Federal (public, tax funded) money from being used to enable abortions. For those that think there is and don’t understand how such things can be gotten around, let me use the United Way as an example (nothing against the United Way, mind you — just giving an example). Sometimes, people donate to the United Way without condition, not caring where their money goes. The United Way then takes that money and divvies it up to various charities according to its predetermined allotments. Other times, people want to give money to specific causes through United Way or to avoid some of the charities that United Way supports. Say, for instance, you specifically want to support the Boy Scouts, so you specify that in your United Way donation. Does this mean that the Boy Scouts get your money, in the Pharisaical sense? Yes. But in reality? No. Because money specifically donated as going to the Boy Scouts means that the United Way will simply give the Scouts less money from their general, unspecified funds so that, again, the predetermined allotments are maintained.
Too confusing? Sorry about that. Let me give a better example: Let’s say that the United Way determines that 50% of their money goes to Boy Scouts and 50% goes to the Kick the Cat Foundation. If you and your three buddies each donate $2, that becomes $4 to Boy Scouts and $4 to Cat Kickers. However, let’s say that you don’t like the idea of half of your money supporting the kicking of cats and you specify that ALL of your money is to go to the Boy Scouts. What that will mean is that your $2 goes to the Boy Scouts, but the unspecified money from your friends (the other $6) will now be divvied up unevenly to make up the difference: $2 to the Boy Scouts and $4 to the Cat Kickers. Thus, in the end, $4 still goes to the Boy Scouts and $4 still goes to the Kick the Cat Foundation, just as before. Your specification made no real difference at all.
Now, I use this not to beat up on United Way (in fact, if my description of their system is inaccurate and someone knows this with certainty, please feel free to let me know, as well), but to illustrate how easy it is to get around some “conditions” or “restrictions” with a little accounting maneuvering. (Reminds me of “renting out” a closet of your home during the Days of Unleavened Bread, but that’s, again, a discussion for another day.)
That the “hold out” representatives were willing to be “satisfied” with a toothless Executive Order saying, essentially, that the status quo is the status quo shows that their “holding out” was, apparently, simply a show. That the Executive Order is toothless–indeed, meaningless–should be clear to even the most casual observer; today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes an abortion “rights” supporter in the House of Representatives as saying the President’s order “doesn’t change anything.” And, truly, it doesn’t. The Wall Street Journal notes that pro-abortion supporters of the health care bill celebrated after the so-called pro-life representatives caved because they knew that the Executive Order was a non-concession that would have no impact, whatsoever.
So, in the end, after all the political bribes and the quid pro quo vote buying, the health care bill was being blocked by a single, solitary, moral issue: abortion. And rather than being a steady rock against which the health care bill would crack, that issue ended up being merely a political inconvenience that could be ignored when a means of political cover could be figured out.
But God has not ignored the issue. And its indifferent attitude toward ending the life of its most innocent of children will cost this nation greatly. I’ve written about the repugnant moral stances of some in national leadership before on this topic (see “Death penalty for children” which will also take you to the full Tomorrow’s World commentary), so I won’t go into it again here. But the manner in which it was treated in this bill’s passage — as a political obstacle to maneuver around as opposed to a matter or right or wrong in the eyes of God — is telling.
For those interested, the Tomorrow’s World magazine and website has published a number of articles explaining the biblical stance on abortion and the prophetic implications of this nation’s vile vice. Just typing “abortion” in the search box on the Tomorrow’s World home page will take you to them — there’s a lot. (I did it for you! Just click here).
There’s more that can be said, to be sure, but I’ve gone on more than enough. (My apologies for rambling.) The news over the next few days or weeks will discuss the political and economic ramifications of all of this (at least as the various talking heads understand them) but what will go unchanged is this: We are a nation that refuses to humble itself and go to its God, its Maker and Benefactor, and seek His healing and His blessings once again — blessings available through humble obedience (2 Chr. 7:14). And whether the new health care bill sticks, changes, or is repealed, THAT FACT is the only one that truly matters.