A young couple in a church I attended in the USA 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.

Fifty percent of health care costs are incurred in the last twelve months of a person’s life. All those costs achieve is delaying inevitable death. The quality of life in those final twelve 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 eighty with my bodily functions still operating, rather than at eighty-five 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.

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About Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at jeremy@jasonharris.com.au.


  1. PJ 18 November, 2011 at 9:09 am - Reply

    @Jeremy – in my view the problem boils down to this, in our country everyone wants access to world-class health care, but few like the idea of paying for it.

    Medicare is one of the truly great things about our society – call it ‘pseudo-socialism’ or whatever you like, but Medicare is just about the best thing we have. When my kids were born we enjoyed thousands of dollars worth of high-class care in a public hospital. I know if I had some serious disease I could get world-class treatment in a public hospital without having to pay for the service. Its unbelievable how good we get it!

    But, if we want to continue to enjoy our high standard of healthcare, then we’re just going to have to pay a little bit more in tax. I’ve got no problem with that – that’s not socialism, that’s just the key to a decent society.

    Or we can go down the path of the US and have more of a user-pay system and what we’ll get is an increasingly class-based health care system – where the wealthy get health care and the poor suffer and die or else go bankrupt with medical bills. It a no-brainer really.

  2. Jeremy 18 November, 2011 at 10:15 am - Reply

    PJ – I agree 100%.

  3. Steve 18 November, 2011 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Good post.

    Perhaps the people in the church the couple was attending should have been more sympathetic, and gladly helped them out, rather than debating the issue.

    As for the rest of your post, it is a very complex issue. Yes, we have an aging population that will need more healthcare, especially the baby boomers who will live into their nineties, yet advances in medical science and technology will absorb some of that burden, and healthcare is increasingly community based rather than hospital and institution based.

    As for us Christians, I agree that delaying the inevitable seems pointless, but I can say that quite happily since I am young and healthy. When I am old and frail, staring death sqaurely in the eye, I will tell you how I feel.

    Also, as a healthcare professional, I think of it this way. If I can help delay death in someone for a few months, perhaps that person will get an opportunity to hear the gospel (or witness to others) for one last time.

  4. Jeremy 18 November, 2011 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your contribution Steve

    I dot want to give the church a bad rap. The debate centered around providing for ones own needs when one has means.

    Like you, I wonder if I will feel differently when I am old. I just hope that I can face aging with a sharp focus that dying is gain.

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