A young couple in a church I attended in the US, claimed they did not need health insurance. “God would provide for their needs”, they firmly believed. When they had a significant car accident and incurred hefty medical bills, the church asked its parishioners (who had been regularly paying their own insurance) to take special offerings to cover the costs of this couples medical bills. This situation caused a fairly vigorous debate on “responsibility” vs. “faith”
In Australia, we are blessed to have a public health care system to fall back on. But for how long is that sustainable? As the baby boomers age, the percentage of our population who require expensive health services and aged care will dramatically increase. This demographic change will provide fundamental challenges for our societies – particularly from a financial standpoint.
In previous generations, aging parents would have moved into their children’s homes to be supported. However, with our increasingly busy, two-income family lives, along with advances in medical technology, we have shifted old people into clinical, but expensive aged care centres. As a generation, the baby boomers did not have enough kids to support their population in old age. So this issue will explode onto the scene in a few years.
50% of health care costs are incurred in the last 12 months of a person’s life. All those costs achieve is delaying inevitable death. The quality of life in those final 12 months is generally not good. While I am not advocating euthanasia, I do wonder if it is responsible to be supporting an industry that is not sustainable. There are also many other issues with locking away an entire generation in old peoples homes and villages.
Personally I think I would rather die at 80 with my bodily functions still operating, rather than at 85 in a machine-supported state. I say that because I am confident in life beyond the grave. For those who don’t know Jesus, it is understandable as to why they would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to push death back by a few months.
How should we as Christians approach these growing issues?