Saturday, August 23, 2008

Life Preservers May Be Hard to Find: Integrated Unit on Health Care Crisis (continued)

My job pays me a salary, but I value much higher the satisfying experience of watching light flood into minds and open up new ideas. 

The health-care unit bore good fruit yesterday.  We took a break from the unit on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning for regular classes, but even then you could see the ideas churning.  Health insurance, hospital expenses, and disease management scare even savvy adults away from delving into the complex issues driving the current health care crisis. The simulation seeped into the morning's discussions.

After lunch, the students met for a bit to finalize their thoughts about the issues and research new topics suggested by friends or teachers. At 1pm, we invited the 7th and 8th grades to listen to the different "families" explain their medical/financial situations and discuss whether the politicians' health care plans (or Canada's system) would actually help them. 

No surprise that the two presidential candidates offered little hard data on how they would actually change the health care situation in America.  McCain seems to promise more affordable insurance for the poor and uninsured, and a gap insurance for the underinsured, but some of our "middle-class" families were still left in a financial crisis. Obama promises government-sponsored health care for ALL uninsured and all children (mandatory), which he claims will cost $65 billion a year, drawn from the money we were spending on Iraq.  Wait... aren't weborrowing money to finance the Iraq War? *coughs*  And the Canadian system, though it did offer help for nearly all of the families in our scenario, already costs the Canadians $160 billion a year.  A year.  For only 25 million people (the USA has 300 million). 

Dr Steve Kaufmann at Covenant College taught us that students must first mourn before they will be moved to act.   All of us need to do much more thinking at this point.  

But the big question on the table is this:
Now what? 

We're all happy to say the Church ought to share in the burdens of the poor and sick.
But what does that mean for 20 kids and their teachers at a small private school in the Southeast?

... time to think for a while. 

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE Oct 2008:
    Two of us on faculty plus a parent who's an OB/GYN with a heart for international medical care led a medical mission trip for the 10th-12th graders to the Dominican Republic as a result of this trip. We'd already been planning to work out something like this, but the students were much better prepared to consider meaningful ways to serve others and the effects of poverty on the world.