Matthew 22:21 says to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s.” What does this mean in regards to our hard earned dollars being misused? Is Medicaid misusing our generosity and hard work? Should we be demanding reform?
Taxes are one of those realities we cannot escape. They’ve always been there and always will be. They pay for our roads, our schools, salaries, bettering our communities and care for the less fortunate in our society.
When it comes to how the government uses this hard-earned money we are very vocal, as we should be, in holding them accountable. But are we vocal enough? We protest for or against the building of new stadiums, the tearing down of statues, which schools need more oversight, and the annoying pot hole we hit on our daily commute to work.
We also have a lot to say about who benefits from government assistance when it comes to shelter, food, and medical care.
(stay with me as I have actual steps you and I can take to make BIG changes)
Have you had these thoughts too? Or at least heard them in conversations you were a part of?
We aren’t affecting change by holding these stereotypes. We aren’t holding the correct people responsible. (Read: 8 Facts Debunking Poverty Myths and Racial Stereotypes)
Instead of continuing these myths about those who are struggling I want to ask you if you know someone on Medicaid. Chances are you do, whether you are aware of it or not. Chances are you might think you know someone who is living it up when if you saw behind the closed doors you would witness their actual need.
A few years back I came across this article, This is what happened to me when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps. Often times what we see, the vehicle someone drives, the clothes they wear, are of a past where things were better or perhaps of a present where someone has shown generosity. Why do we insist that the poor among us live in squabble to justify government assistance when we would want better for ourselves?
The fact of the matter is the mismanagement of funds is not on the individual recipient level. It is much higher up. Let me give you an everyday example that I witness.
My friend is a single mother of a pre-teen with cerebral palsy. (I share all of this and the following with her permission)
Her son cannot use the restroom on his own and has to wear diapers. The diapers Medicaid sends cost them $0.56 per diaper. The diapers that actually work, more on that in a second, cost $1.25 each. When my friend tried to explain that the diapers were useless and request that the others be sent (both set of diapers are from the same company) Medicaid’s response was to send a diaper insert which cost $0.39 per liner. She goes through 8 of the cheap diapers with liners every day and still has to change her child’s clothes 3 to 4 times a day. When she uses the more expensive diapers she only needs 4 a day with no need to change clothes.
Let’s do the math.
Defect diapers are $0.56 each x 8 used in a day = $4.48
Diaper inserts are $0.39 each x 8 used in a day = $3.12
Her daily use of the defective diapers with inserts cost $7.60 a day, $53.2 a week, $228 a month, and $2,774 a year.
Diapers that work are $1.25 each x 4 used in a day = $5
Her daily use of the diapers that work cost $5 a day, $35 a week, $150 a month, and $1,825 a year.
If Medicaid sent her the diapers that worked they would save $949 on just her household. Imagine if they demanded quality products from vendors for every household like hers.
The real mind puzzler is that the defective diapers with the inserts still do not work. The diapers are made by the same manufacturer. Medicaid would save money, and her child would have a higher quality of life.
Medicaid is now spending more of your tax dollars on a product that doesn’t even work.
Take a moment and think of the pre-teen in your life. Perhaps a son, a neighbor kid, or a friend’s grandchild.
Picture yourself having to change him/her multiple times a day. You’re out in public and there are no restrooms (that’s a whole different conversation for a later date). You have to change him/her under a blanket or in the backseat of your car. However, his/her diaper has leaked so the entire outfit needs to be changed. Now imagine having to do this multiple times a day because every single diaper is defective. Not to mention the smell of pee begins to linger on their clothes.
Is this dignified? Does this pre-teen deserve any less privacy or dignity because he/she is confined to a wheelchair?
What if it was you?
If our tax dollars are being wasted what are we supposed to do?
There is an immediate way to help my friend that is simple with a click of a button, and another way to help her, and others, that requires a few more moments of your time.
Help fill the gap. She would love to purchase these diapers herself but with the decrease of other government assistance (lack of approvals combined with a decrease in financial help for medical care, medical trips, medical equipment, etc.) she cannot spend the $150 a month it would take to use these diapers. Her money is going to gas for out of town trips, food to put on their table, and a laundry bill.
Grace Presbyterian Church in El Paso, TX has agreed to be a drop off location if you are interested in sending her a package. One package, $21.75, makes all the difference in giving her child dignity and a better quality of life.
Have them sent to Grace Presbyterian Church c/o Hope Griffin, 8001 Magnetic St, El Paso, TX 79904
Let our state legislators know that those that are under our care should be treated with dignity and respect. And then vote for those who value life. Speak up for those who do not have a voice to speak for themselves. Follow Protect TX Fragile Kids and follow their steps on how to help. They have a list of important phone numbers needed to make your voice heard. They also have up to date information about the care of our Texas kids.
If you are not in Texas find out what your state does and does not provide for these families in need. Become vocal in demanding accountability and better treatment. Fill in the gaps wherever you are able.
Will demanding accountability and better care help?
I do not know if it will affect change. I do know that not enough people are standing up for this community in need of our help. We push them to the side believing that it could never be us.
Let me tell you from experience. Tragedy, illness, and pain hit everyone. Cancer hit my 6-month-old, we were oblivious and unprepared. Difficulties find us all, use your voice now to make a difference. Don’t hide from it. Stand and make a difference.
Speaking up will make a difference in that these families will know that they are not fighting this alone. They will know that they are valued and not shoved to the side to be forgotten.
As Christians, it is our responsibility to act
We “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and while we can fight for better accountability we cannot withhold our taxes to have the government hold to our convictions.
The second part of the verse says to give to God what is God. Throughout scripture we are told to give generously, to care for the widow and the orphan, to meet the needs of the poor.
What does the Bible say about what our role should be in the lives of those in need?
Following are just a few of the verses that show us how to interact and serve those less fortunate.
for the legal rights of all the dying. 20
31:9 Open your mouth, judge in righteousness, 21
and plead the cause 22 of the poor and needy.
but whoever shows favor 88 to the needy honors him.
10:1 Those who enact unjust policies are as good as dead, 1
those who are always instituting unfair regulations, 2
10:2 to keep the poor from getting fair treatment,
and to deprive 3 the oppressed among my people of justice,
so they can steal what widows own,
and loot what belongs to orphans. 4
10:3 What will you do on judgment day, 5
when destruction arrives from a distant place?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your wealth?
If that’s not enough, here are more verse for further study;
- Deuteronomy 15:4-5, 7-8, 10-11
- Proverbs 3:27-28, 11:25, 14:21, 19:17, 22:9, 22-23, 28:27
- Psalm 9:9, 17-18, 12:5, 35:10, 72:3-4, 12-14, 109:30-31, 113:5-8, 140:12, 146:5-9,
- Isaiah 1:17, 25:4, 58:6-11
- Zechariah 7:8-10,
- Mathew 26:6-13
- Luke 14:14, 6:20-21
- 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
Stop the conversations that stereotype those in need. Write a letter requiring accountability of your tax dollars, speak up for those who do not have a voice, and buy a pack of diapers to help my friend.
Don’t let the government do all the hard work of generosity. Step in to fill the gap.
Don’t believe for a second that you are immune to tragedy in this life. Who will speak up for you when the time comes?