This is one of the sort of posts that I have to write, not that I want to write. I am about to demonstrate my own horribleness in fairly clear terms.
Because I don't have employer-provided health insurance and because I'd like to go see a doctor in the near future, I've been looking for information about possible health plans.
I haven't been keeping up with news about health care in the US, other than knowing in the most general of terms that things are going to change in the near future. Searching for insurance information led me to looking more deeply into those changes, the coming health care exchanges and expanded availability of coverage for a lot of people, starting next January.
I kept on looking for private insurance options, because I'd rather not wait until January if I don't have to. But that reason isn't the only reason why I kept looking. That isn't the terrible reason.
You see, I played around with some estimators to show what my eligibility will probably be under the new rules. Based on my current (very small) income, it said I will probably fit in under Medicaid. I only then realized that I might be eligible for Medicaid or some other public health care assistance program right now.
And then I decided to keep looking for private insurance. Because Medicaid is for poor people.
I didn't tell myself that in so many words, but that was my emotional response. I instantly separated myself from people who rely on public services, because I'm not that badly off. Am I? Heaven forbid I admit I'm poor. That I'm one of them.
You know what? I AM poor now. I'm also well aware that it took a serious personal crisis to bring me nose to nose with my contempt for people who lack resources, many of them through no fault of their own. There is no other description for my visceral reaction to the idea of needing to use Medicaid or other public health services. Contempt and fear, that I be identified with the ones at the bottom of our money and power structures.
I'm not about to try to sugar-coat that or excuse myself in any respect. On this point I am a terrible human being, and the only honest thing I can do is own it. I'm ashamed of myself, and I'm praying humbly for a deep heart-change. Jesus dearly loved the "least of these," he went SO far out of his way to serve them. I can't think of a single instance in which he was harsh with someone who was poor, disabled, or in any other way disadvantaged. He could be very blunt towards those in power, blunt and critical. But not the poor. To them he gave love, respect, and help.
I'm not like him yet. Not by a long stretch.