Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Need for Health Care Reform

A pastor writes to Andrew Sullivan's blog about his dilemma with health insurance:

I am a 37 year old clergyman serving a Protestant Mainline church, who is
of Euro-American descent with a wife and two sons under 4. I have watched my
healthcare costs skyrocket in the last 10 years. When I began work post
seminary, the cost of the standard plan offered by my denomination for two of us
was $4000. It seemed reasonable in 1999 and was a whopping 8% of my salary. Well
since then costs have gone up each year by 20% or more. We have added our two
children to our family since I began working, and the cost of my family's
healthcare plan is now $22000 this year. This currently represents 1/3 of my
salary, and the cost has increased $7000 in the last three years alone.

I look at these numbers and wonder, "Will insurance for my family be
$100,000 in ten more years? $500,000 in 20?" I already know some clergy who work
for health insurance only, and churches are already having difficulties in this
depressed economy.

I wonder how in the world it is that people cannot see the
present danger in this situation. How many churches will be unable to provide
health insurance for clergy if serious health care reform is not undertaken? How
many businesses will be unable to offer insurance because they can't afford

I find myself angry seeing staged demonstrations at town hall meetings,
and boggles my mind that the demonstrators I see on television are older white
men and women, many of whom are on Medicare.

I feel really sorry for younger clergy with families right now. They are facing these huge health insurance costs, increased costs for college, the need to provide for their pensions, and now, more and more church budgets in the red.

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