A little over 2000 years ago, a girl named Mary believed a Messianic prophecy, and an angel who told her that she was about to play a pivotal role in it. And because she believed, and acted on that belief, the world was forever changed.
A little over 60 years ago, a man named Adolph believed that he was chosen to begin a new World Empire. And because he believed, and acted on that belief, the world was forever changed.
In both cases, others came into contact with our two "believers". Some chose to act with them, some chose to act against them, and some chose to pretend that there was no struggle.
In today’s America, the war for the belief structure of our nation is in full swing. There are those who desire to preserve the value system that built America. There are those who desire to remake the United States into a new image. And there are those who really don’t want to acknowledge that there is a values-based struggle at all.
For example, in the current debate over health care, the "remakers" believe that one of the best ways to address the issue of the increasing cost of senior care is to lower reimbursements to Medicare for many medical procedures and devices, and to begin taxing new medical devices entering the market place. They have already implemented the first half of their solution, and the second half is included in the House’s health care bill.
One of the more expensive procedures caught in this discussion is kidney dialysis. The "remakers" cut reimbursement rates to dialysis clinics, with the result that those clinics need to see more patients per week, which results in each patient receiving less time in dialysis. This causes a lower standard in the dialysis results, so patients have a lesser quality of life for a shorter life span. And if the tax on medical devices becomes law, there will be no research or advancement in the field of kidney dialysis, so we will have removed the problem of high-cost dialysis by ending the lives of the patients who need it.
But if we operated from the premise of the "preservers", a belief that every life is sacred, we would be looking for ways to cut costs without ending lives. Such ways exist. There are companies that have developed portable dialysis equipment. They require a fraction of the cost of clinic-based treatments, they can be used by patients at home in overnight treatment procedures that enhance the result of each dialysis treatment, and they have been shown in field tests with thousands of participants to increase a patient’s quality of life over a longer life span and at a lower cost.
The medical device tax in the health care bill would put the companies developing this technology out of business.
So why would anyone fight for a policy that stops the development of such life-affirming equipment?
The answer lies in the belief system of the "remakers". They do not believe that every life is sacred, so they are not at all interested in life-affirming solutions. And they are acting on their beliefs.
The two questions for each of us are simple. Do we believe in remaking our nation into a new and different America, or preserving the values and structure that built her in the first place? And are we willing to turn our beliefs into actions?