The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about
Few Bible Belt pastors mention what's in their backyard, millions of poor people trapped in the Obamacare “coverage gap.”
November 8th, 2013
10:01 AM ET

The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The Rev. Timothy McDonald gripped the pulpit with both hands, locked eyes with the shouting worshippers, and decided to speak the unspeakable.

The bespectacled Baptist minister was not confessing to a scandalous love affair or the theft of church funds. He brought up another taboo: the millions of poor Americans who won’t get health insurance beginning in January because their states refused to accept Obamacare.

McDonald cited a New Testament passage in which Jesus gathered the 5,000 and fed them with five loaves and two fishes. Members of his congregation bolted to their feet and yelled, “C’mon preacher” and “Yessir” as his voice rose in righteous anger.

“What I like about our God is that he doesn’t throw people away,” McDonald told First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta during a recent Sunday service. “There will be health care for every American. Don’t you worry when they try to cast you aside.  Just say I’m a leftover for God and leftovers just taste better the next day!”

McDonald’s congregation cheered, but his is a voice crying in the wilderness. He’s willing to condemn state leaders whose refusal to accept Obamacare has left nearly 5 million poor Americans without health coverage. But few of the most famous pastors in the Bible Belt will join him.

Joel Osteen? Bishop T.D. Jakes, and other prominent pastors throughout the South?

Like McDonald, they preach in states where crosses and church steeples dot the skyline yet the poor can’t get the health insurance they would receive if they lived elsewhere. All declined to comment.

When people talk about the Affordable Care Act, most focus on the troubled launch of its website. But another complication of the law has received less attention: a “coverage gap” that will leave nearly 5 million poor Americans without health care, according to a Kaiser Health Foundation study.

Learn more from Kaiser about the coverage gap in states that refused Obamacare

The coverage gap was created when 25 states refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. The people who fall into this gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies in their state insurance exchanges. If they lived elsewhere, they would probably get insurance. But because they live in a state that refused the new health care law, they likely will remain among the nation’s uninsured poor after Obamacare coverage kicks in come January.

The coverage gap has been treated as a political issue, but there is a religious irony to the gap that has been ignored.

Most of the people who fall into the coverage gap live in the Bible Belt, a 14-state region in the South stretching from North Carolina to Texas and Florida. The Bible Belt is the most overtly Christian region in the country, filled with megachurches and pastors who are treated like celebrities.  All but two Bible Belt states have refused to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Should Bible Belt pastors say anything publicly about the millions of poor people in their communities stranded by the coverage gap? Is it anti-Christian for state leaders to turn down help for the people Jesus called “the least of these"? Or should pastors say nothing publicly about such issues because they are strictly political?

CNN's Sanjay Gupta explains who falls into the coverage gap

Who speaks for the poor in the coverage gap?

When these questions were sent to many of the most popular pastors in the Bible Belt, they hit a wall of silence. Virtually no prominent pastor wanted to talk about the uninsured poor in their midst.

Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in the nation, declined to be interviewed about the subject. So did Bishop T.D. Jakes. Their megachurches are both in Texas, the state with the nation’s highest number of people without health insurance.

Max Lucado, the best-selling Christian author who is a minister at a church in Texas, declined to speak; Charles Stanley, the Southern Baptist pastor in Georgia whose In Touch Ministries reaches millions around the globe, declined to speak; Ed Young Sr. and Ed Young Jr., a father and son in Texas who pastor two of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, also declined to speak. 

Bishop T.D. Jakes declined to talk about the millions of poor people stranded in the “coverage gap."

The list goes on.

The silence is not hard to understand. Obamacare is a polarizing political issue in the Bible Belt. A pastor who publicly weighs in on the subject could divide his or her congregation or risk their job. And some prominent pastors like Osteen are popular in part because they  do not alienate fans by taking political stands.

The Rev. Phil Wages, senior pastor Winterville First Baptist Church in Georgia and a blogger, was one of the few Bible Belt ministers willing to speak on the subject.

He says he won’t preach about the coverage gap created by the state’s rejection of the Medicaid expansion because he has what he calls theological differences with the thrust of the new health care law.

Wages says the Bible teaches that the care of orphans, widows and the sick are given to the church, not to the government. Early Christians were the first to create hospitals, orphanages and hospices.

“I have an issue with the government coming in to get money through me - through taxes - to take care of people, when my argument is that I should be free to give to charities or to my church in order to take care of the sick and destitute,” he says.

Wages says he has no doubt that lack of health insurance is a monumental problem, and that many people are poor because of circumstances beyond their control. Yet there is no New Testament example of Jesus trying to shape public policy on behalf of the poor.

“I do not see any biblical precedent where Jesus ever went to Herod or Pilate and said you should be taking care of the poor,” Wages says. “Jesus told his disciples to take care of the poor and the apostles said the same thing to the early church.”

Wages’ position is impractical and unbiblical, says Ronald Sider, a longtime advocate for the poor and author of “The Scandal of Evangelical Politics."

Churches and charities don’t have enough resources to take care of an estimated 48 million Americans who don’t have health care. The Bible is filled with examples of God's fury over economic oppression of the poor, which Christians should regard as scandalous, he says.

“If you are not sharing God’s concern for the poor, it raises huge questions about whether you are a Christian at all,” he says about pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor.

“As God’s spokespersons, you ought to be talking about God’s concern for the poor as much as God. In the richest nation in world history, it’s contradictory to have millions without health insurance.”

“It absolutely stinks”

The coverage gap may inspire a religious debate, but for its victims the issue is raw and personal.

A recent New York Times article about the coverage gap revealed that many of its victims are the working poor: cooks, cashiers, sales clerks and waitresses.

“These are people who are working people but they haven’t been able to afford health insurance or their employers don’t offer it and they’re stuck,” says Andy Miller, editor of Georgia Health News, a nonprofit news organization that covers health news in the state. “A lot of these folks have chronic health conditions.”

They are people like Shelley “Myra” Mitchell, a single mom with four children who makes $9 an hour working at a Chick-fil-A in Georgia. She makes $18,000 a year – too much for Georgia’s existing Medicaid program, but not enough to qualify for subsidies to sign up for Obamacare’s insurance marketplace in Georgia.

Mitchell’s voice grew edgy with frustration when asked to describe her health needs. She rang up about $20,000 in emergency room bills because she has no health insurance. She can’t afford to get pap smears, go to the dentist or get surgery for a two-year-old hernia. She can’t take medication for her depression and anxiety because she can’t afford it.

She thought she could get help under Obamacare but recently learned she can’t because Georgia did not accept the law’s Medicaid expansion.

“It stinks,” she says. “I’ve been dealing with this hernia for two years now, and I can’t get anyone to help me because I don’t have health insurance. It absolutely stinks.”

Why pastors should stay silent about the coverage gap

Mitchell’s plight may stink. But at what point should a pastor go public on such a complex issue, and what could he or she actually say?

Two prominent evangelical pastors openly wrestled with those questions.

Andy Stanley is one of the most popular evangelical pastors in the nation. He is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, a megachurch with at least 33,000 members. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “How to be Rich,” which urges Christians to be "rich in good deeds" instead of wealth. His church recently announced that it donated $5.2 million to Atlanta charities and provided another 34,000 volunteer hours.

Joel Osteen has the largest church in America. He also declined to speak about the coverage gap.

Stanley says the coverage gap disturbs him. The church cannot handle the needs of millions of uninsured people alone and should quit taking shots at government involvement, he says. But he adds that it’s not anti-Christian for political leaders in states like Georgia to turn down the Medicaid expansion for the poor.

“If you really want to know how concerned someone is for the poor ask them what percentage of their personal money they give to organizations that help the poor,” he says. “Ask them how much time they give to organizations that help the poor.”

Stanley says it would be difficult for any pastor to talk about the Medicaid expansion without addressing the entire law.

“I tried to imagine a scenario where I urged people to write our governor encouraging him to reconsider his decision regarding the expansion of Medicaid for the poor,” he says. “As I imagined that, I got the feeling that by the time I finished explaining the issue, people’s eyes would be glazed over.”

Pastors who don't preach one way or the other on Medicaid expansion aren't callous or apathetic, says Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. They may be suspicious of a bigger government and skeptical of whether this move will solve the problem.

“The Bible calls on Christians to answer the cries of the poor,” he says. “All Christians must do that. The question of the Medicaid expansion is a question of how we do that. I don’t hear many people arguing that we shouldn’t care about the plight of the poor when it comes to medical care. The question is a genuine debate about the role of the state.”

Moore says some people have a “utopian view” of what state power can accomplish.

“Government programs sometimes encourage dependency, unintentionally break down family structures, and become unsustainable financially,” Moore says.

Bob Coy, pastor of Calvary Chapel megachurch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wondered aloud about what he could, and should, say.

Florida, which has the second highest number of people without health insurance behind Texas, has not accepted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Coy says he hasn’t spoken publicly about poor people missing health coverage in Florida. But he has called the governor to get more information.

“I’m not an activist guy. I don’t tell the government what to do. I am a church guy. I teach the Bible.”

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for the poor, though, Coy says. He grew up in a poor family that couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. His church also spends a large percentage of its budget on serving the poor.

Coy says he is suspicious of large-scale programs that are publicly funded because they are often abused.

“One side of our society is saying, 'We need this,' while on the other side is saying, 'This isn’t fair and isn’t going to work.’ So how should a pastor, who has a heart to help people, respond?”

Why pastors should speak out

The Rev. Shane Stanford’s answer to Coy is simple: Talk about justice for the poor like Jesus did.

Stanford is the senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis and author of “Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants.”

He is also HIV-positive. He was born a hemophiliac and contracted the virus when he was 16 during treatment for his illness.

Stanford says he publicly speaks out about the millions of Americans stranded without health coverage because he knows how it feels. Once, after heart surgery, he was getting a transfusion when a nurse came into the room and pulled the needle out of his arm because she said he had maxed out his health insurance coverage.

He says standing up for people in the coverage gap is a matter of justice.

“Sometimes pastors have to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”

Stanford ignores fellow pastors who counsel him to be silent about his state and others that refused to accept the Medicaid expansion.

“They say you have to be careful talking about political issues,” he says. “When I look at their lives, part of me thinks they never had that needle yanked out of their arm.”

Conservative pastors who urge their colleagues to avoid politics are hypocrites, says James Cone, a prominent theologian who has spent much of his career writing books condemning white churches for what he says is their indifference to social justice.

“When their own interests are involved, they are very much involved in politics,” Cone says. “Same-sex marriage and abortion – they have no trouble politically opposing them.”

Cone, a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, says a nation is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable members. But there is an entrenched hostility to poor people in America that goes unchallenged by some white, conservative Christians, he says.

“When poor people get food stamps, they get mad,” Cone says. “When the rich and corporations get tax breaks and pay no taxes, they don’t say anything.”

McDonald, the pastor who spoke out on behalf of poor people from his Atlanta church, says Jesus provided universal health care. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus healing marginalized people.

“He did it for free,” McDonald says of Jesus’ healing. “The reason the crowds gathered around Jesus primarily was for healing. People want wholeness.”

Perhaps the gap between Bible Belt pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor and those who do is also rooted in history. 

Conservative Christians have traditionally emphasized providing charity to the poor - soup kitchens, donations to impoverished people in undeveloped countries - while progressive Christians have blended charity with calls for public policy changes that help the poor.

The distinction between both approaches was distilled by a memorable quote from the late Brazilian Roman Catholic Bishop Dom Helder Camara, who said: "When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist."

That may be changing as a new generation of evangelicals rise in the Bible Belt and elsewhere. One minister who speaks to them is the Rev. Timothy Keller, a conservative Christian author who pastors a megachurch in New York.

Keller is the author of “Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just,” a popular book that argues that evangelicals should do more than preach personal salvation; they must “speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.” He is a role model for many younger evangelicals.

“God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to ‘do justice.’ ’’

CNN.com recently contacted Keller to see if he would talk about "Generous Justice" and how it might apply to health care and the poor. Did he think pastors in Bible Belt states should say anything publicly on behalf of poor people being denied basic medical insurance? His publicist said she would contact Keller with the request.

Several days later, she returned with Keller’s answer.

He had no comment. 

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • Ethics • evangelicals • Fundamentalism • Politics • Poverty

soundoff (3,619 Responses)
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    December 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
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    December 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
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    December 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  4. Rich Bucci

    I have been reading some of the most ridiculous comments ever. Imagine blaming the church for healthcare.maybe we should blame Muslims for healthcare, oops sorry we can only blame Christians since the Oval Office is Muslim. That would be racist but let's blame conservatives only. Get real, waste caused all this, Obama care is a means to tax us plan and simple, thanks to the Supreme Court. Obama will slow take take and take some more to fund this disaster. It called tax and spend, usually that was a republican theme but you democrats are taking the ball and running with it.

    December 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • John S.

      Rich, should I call you an idiot or what? You are so misled that it is a shame. God help you! I pray you don't lose your soul because you are on you way, dude.

      December 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • Rich Bucci

        Who is the idiot, me , I think not. Oh your probably one of those MSNBC viewers that think every word Obama says is gospel. Or are you one of those hard working people at Arby's and mcdonalds that think they should get $15 an hour without earning an education. No don't tell me one of those democrats that blame everyone and don't except responsibility, they have a good teacher. You really think the church is responsible for the healthcare problems.

        December 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  5. Erik

    Baptist ministers are guardians of the status quo in the South. They are not going to jeopardize their revenue sources, conservative evangelicals and Republicans, by taking a position in favor of Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act. Southerners have the shortest life expectancy in the country and it will continue with the reactionary politics of the religious right. Their convoluted defense in defense of the health policy status quo, which entails no health insurance for millions, is appalling, hyprocritical, and frankly, revolting.

    December 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  6. Terry G

    Big time preachers are interested in one thing and it sure ain't the poor. $$$$$$$

    December 21, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  7. Paula

    Churches are part of the reason (not all) our healthcare is in this mess. Healthcare has turned from an outreach (non-profit) event to a profit event over the last few decades. Instead of taking care of the needy at home, the churches are busy building bigger buildings, buying private jets for pastors, sending money overseas (at least this latter may be somewhat charitable–but charity begins at home). Now our hospitals are run by corporations that charge $200 for a pregnancy test that you can get at a $1 store before giving a $7K CAT scan to rule out appendicitis instead of the cheaper alternatives.

    Insurance companies are another problem. Instead of pooling money together for future losses like insurance was originally designed to do, the insurance companies are out to make money and limit coverage for anyone that might pose a risk. (This is one thing I do like about Obamacare - if not the only thing.)

    Also, are the US citizens funding all research for the world? Just wondering why pharmaceuticals in this country are so much higher than other countries. Also, what happens to all of the Race for Life and other charitable contributions for research? Seems like little to no progress occurs with those funds. However, when a break-through finally emerges, the people that provide charitable contributions in this country then get to pay an arm and a leg to actually use the new medicine or device. So we fund the research for corporations and then get to pay for the results, again, with a profit margin? Big scam.

    Oh, and let's not forget about the fraud. The gov't has already proven it is not a good steward of our tax dollars with multi-million dollar fraud cases popping up around the country. Let's not even mention the fact that most of these cases should have been easily determinable if ANY internal controls were in place like most companies would have if they were shelling out trillions to service providers.

    Until we get controls around the supply side, throwing money won't help. That's my problem with Obamacare.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  8. Ivar

    ok. By all accounts, Jesus preached in the open, didn't own a house, much less a huge, money guzzling, high tech mega church, If the message is the important, why all this money stuff? Wouldn't all that help so many who need it?

    December 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  9. chosenbygrace

    "The bespectacled Baptist minister was not confessing to a scandalous love affair or the theft of church funds."

    There all "fundies" are bad and racist... dur.

    "He brought up another taboo: the millions of poor Americans who won’t get health insurance beginning in January because their states refused to accept Obamacare."

    So first bash all pastors, as if Catholics who admit to being chronic sinners don't exist anymore, weird, crazy, insane, then claim he brought up something bad, that being that the leaders of their states, and who knows how many under them, rejected retardcare? And yes, it is retarded, see that word, RETARED. 1. You have to complete a PHYSICAL form after signing up online, RETARDED THINK PEOPLE, WHY ARE WE STILL USING PAPER? WHAT YEAR IS THIS, MEANING WHAT IS OUR LEVEL OF TECH? AND THE GOV STILL WANTS US TO USE PAPER, MEANWHILE WANTS TO BASH OUR WALLETS WITH CARBON CRAP? SHUT UP LIBERALS! 2. The stupid obamacare site recognizes some are homeless, make that a million or more, BUT STILL TELLS THEM TO WAIT FOR A FORM IN THE MAIL! 3. WHY DIDN'T OBAMA REPEAL THE 5 YEAR "PROVE YOUR STILL DISABLED OR HAVE YOUR INCOME CUT IN HALF" RULE? OR WHY NOT IMPROVE IT? Why didn't he or his staff recognize that some people are probably going to be disabled for much longer, and that those struggling with chronic homelessness and depression and fatigue will stay that way especially in this economy? COMMON SENSE. But no: instead keep the same old same old dumbness while making it worse. 4. Why is there a less than one year limit on how long you can recover withheld disability pay (and why is there a time limit on child abuse, but not murder?), what an arbitrary bunch of evil people we have for a government.

    As for the world, liberals, atheists, non-Christians, anti-Christians bashing pastors like all are the same, the typical baby brained, "you Christians" babble like from Gandhi's feces and urine obsessed mouth: how about remember what Jesus said, "YOU HYPOCRITE, FIRST GET THE LOG OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE, THEN YOU CAN JUDGE". So much for that verse you all love to pull out, "Do not judge" you hypocrites.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  10. Richard Bucci

    Obama care is going to tax us hard working people, middle class to death so we can pay for the poor, so they can have free abortions and free Heath care. Get a job like the rest of us, get an education and maybe good things might happen. I'm sorry you poor want free handouts from the govt and think this world owes you something. It doesn't stop the poor from 55 inch flat screen tv's or tattoos or cigaretts, those cost money. No you don't deserve getting 15$ an hour to work at Arby's or mcdonalds. The crazy thing is it all doesn't matter, you can't afford health insurance, you can still go to a hospital and you won't get turned away, not like your going to pay for it anyway. Illegals can do the same thing. It just doesn't make sense, pay 200 to 300 per month of health insurance you don't need or want, or pay a 95$ fine at the end of the year. Let's sum that up... $3600 or $95 wow no brainer here and if your illegal you get free insurance anyway. Omg but you want me and millions of Americans to pay so they don't have too. Pardon the expression " BITE ME"

    December 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  11. Sue

    The problem with this is that one has to forcefully take other people's money to make it work. That is unbiblical. Jesus did not stop the rich young ruler and force him to give away his goods. We should, help each other, willingly, not by force,

    December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  12. Don

    If Andy Stanley, and other influential pastors, would put their voice and time behind church sponsored low cost clinics and hospitals, then I could accept them being against government involvement. The social Gospel came about due to all the "Christians" who don't care about social justice. The government is not stealing this responsibility from the church; it is filling a vacuum left by the church abdicating it's responsibility.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  13. hfranqui

    Oh, so churches have the resources to pay for all of those who can't afford healthcare? Really? Is that why since the cuts on social services started under Bush churches from all denominations (those that care about the poor like Jesus- and not in making money) have been denouncing that they can't foot the bill? The role of the church is to take care of the soul not the body- check your bible if you ever red it.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  14. rl

    Who does this surprise? In all of my years on earth, I have yet to see too, and especially southern pastors, who really cared about their flock. They are way too busy trying to save the rest of us and thump the Bible about gays, helping the wealthy, and waging the war on women, among other things.

    December 20, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Colorado

      Prime example of why we should start taxing churches

      December 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  15. Oakspar77777

    Caring for the poor and the sick is the business of the Church. Any pastor who is arguing that the Church should support the government usurping their work is a fraud. Will they advocate for the government witnessing to the lost, distributing communion, or doing the other tasks of the Church next?

    December 20, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Tracy Marshall

      Agreed. The problem I saw since this article came out was that is author is basically saying, "the church is not saying anything about health insurance and therefore it's a scandal" while at the same time churches are feeding the poor and sick directly. Then, he puts a bunch of pictures of prosperity-oriented preachers. Wow. Slick. Now let me now bring some clarity to this: The people within groups like Democrats, Republicans and all religions each have no monopoly on stupidity and greed. But the author pulls himself into that category by inventing a straw-man issue that does't really exist all for the sake of driving traffic to CNN. You know this to true.

      December 20, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • hfranqui

      Oh, so churches have the resources to pay for all of those who can't afford healthcare? Really? Is that why since the cuts on social services started under Bush churches from all denominations (those that care about the poor like Jesus- and not in making money) have been denouncing that they can't foot the bill? The role of the church is to take care of the soul not the body- check your bible if you ever red it.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  16. Pastor

    Right of wrong? That's all that matters. Not practical or impractical according to our puny eyed perceptions. Not pragmatism. Righteousness or wrong.

    Wages is biblically right. “I do not see any biblical precedent where Jesus ever went to Herod or Pilate and said you should be taking care of the poor,” Wages says. “Jesus told his disciples to take care of the poor and the apostles said the same thing to the early church.” I am a pastor, a theologian. I've studied the Bible, God's Word for over 30+ yrs. As a counselor at a women's half way house who contracted for the DOC in AZ my secular boss told me very truly, "Scott, this place shouldn't need to exist. If the church did it's job we wouldn't have to be here." She was right! So is Wages.

    You can round up all the liberal, religious liberals are still liberals and more liberal than religious and they can all cry 'Foul!' But they are wrong. "Wages’ position is impractical and unbiblical, says Ronald Sider, a longtime advocate for the poor and author of “The Scandal of Evangelical Politics.""

    Well la de dah. A liberal grinding his ax. Grind away Sider. Wages knows all too well the truth isn't popular. You all DO know it was for the truth that Jesus was crucified right? Right or wrong? Wages is right. Sider can grab an apple while he grinds his liberal ax. I'll take my 'wages' over apple 'sider.'

    December 20, 2013 at 12:15 am |
  17. RandyC

    This is a lot of words to say nothing. Every State has been stained by this unaffordable law, and every individual has been made poorer because of it.

    December 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  18. lol??

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The educratists are gonna do all they can to encourage divorce so as to maintain their lifestyle. Judges say they can't make a married man pay for college for the kids but Katy bar the door for the divorced men. This is a new-found power for the women to bully their hubbies and is antichrist. Did Hagar get half of Abe's castle??

    December 19, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  19. Sternberg

    Religious people should not lie. No state has refused Obamacare. Most states have refuse the new Medicare provisions because they literally cannot afford what it will begin to cost them in 3 years. What other government program ever came with a teaser introductory rate?
    Those who could not afford Obamacare before, still cannot afford Obamacare, just now they will be fined for it. Those who could afford Obamacare now have to pay more , for a much higher deductible. How does that make anything more affordable for them?

    December 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.