The current health care system does not make life easy for lots of people and organizations.
Churches, for example.
The current issue of The Lutheran discusses the prospects for matching new pastors with congregations. They do not specifically mention health care. They should. The Lutherans are not unique. They face the same challenges as other Protestant churches.
Congregations face declining worship attendance and, with that, declining offerings in the collection plate. Senior pastors who saw their retirement savings seriously diminished during the recent recession, are staying on the job longer, reducing the number of vacancies.
Graduating seminarians, on the other hand, are graduating with larger debts. They want and need more in a market of shrinking opportunites.
What does this have to do with health care?
How can a congregation save money? Hire a minister who is married to a spouse with health insurance for the family.
Is that fair?
No. Emphatically, no.
It limits the candidate pool for churches and it limits the opportunities for aspiring ministers.
Eleven faith organizations have endorsed a single payer solution to the health care crisis. Most all offer theological reasons for their positions. But churches should not shrink from their economic motives.
After all, they are in the exact same position as many small businesses and other non-profits. Only 49% of private sector employees get their health care coverage from their employees. Another 20%, of private sector employees get their coverage from their spouse.
The inability of too many employers to offer both competitive benefits and competitive salaries limits their candidate pool and restricts the opportunities of people who might otherwise be willing to work for those employers.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should join with the other eleven faith organizations to support single payer. It is not just the right thing to do theologically. It is not just a social justice issue. It is an economic issue that they share along with many other smaller organizations fighting for survival.
Photo credit Truus, Bob & Jan, too