Health Care Coverage

On quite possibly the slowest news day in Tulsa’s history (Nov 20, 2006), the Tulsa World ran my picture with a front page article on my health coverage plan. There were bigger pictures of Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood telling about their part, the previous night, in Tulsa’s celebration of Oklahoma’s Centennial. The health care reform legislation that is making its way through congress is better described, from my perspective, as an attempt at health insurance reform.

I believe sick people should have full access to qualified health coverage options. I do not have health insurance. I am part of a Christian medical cooperative that takes Galatians 6:2 literally. I have been a part of this program for over ten years. We switched to this plan when my traditional health insurance company raised rates to a level unaffordable by a church of our size. The reason for the newspaper article became apparent in 2007, when the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner launched a “fact finding” effort about my coverage. Soon the commissioner ruled that my cooperative could not enroll anyone else in Oklahoma, but would allow those already in the program to continue. Then the commissioner stopped the program altogether. This forced us to go with a major health insurance company at more than double the rates. (I was not eligible for Oklahoma’s public option plan, Insure Oklahoma.)

Changing to traditional insurance not only caused the premiums to more than double, but the deductible went from $250 to $2,500. At one point that company tried to deny coverage because they claimed that my annual physical was a pre-existing condition! But after a year long, almost miraculous effort, with help from Governor Henry and local state representatives and senators, legislation was passed to reinstate the medical cooperative program. Even after it was signed into law, it took some months for the insurance commissioner to re-authorize our program.

I wonder, sometimes, if maybe we ought to be looking deeper—who did Jesus want healthy and whole?

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Share others’ burdens. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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