A note from Joel….

Seldom in my life have I seen such a drastic immediate harmful affect from legislation as in the
Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The law was far too complicated and intimidating to cipher through early
on so here at Polyface, we decided to just hang with our Anthem policy and see what happened.

While some people enjoy combing through piles of paperwork and making sense of bureaucratic
mumbo jumbo, we Salatins tend to prefer doing something productive like moving cows and gathering
eggs.  We had the insurance we wanted; it was expensive but doable and we frankly did not want to
change unless forced to.  Remember that word:  force–as in violent, involuntary, thug-type extortion.

We felt good when we didn’t get a termination notice like millions of others.  Perhaps all this hype
about big changes and the hysteria at Fox News were overblown.  Perhaps it was indeed all coming
out fine in the end.  Perhaps we could continue as usual.  Perhaps we could keep our plan since we
liked it, and had voluntarily chosen it, among consenting adults.

Last week we received our first 2014 premium bill.  We’d been paying $1,900 per month for both
of our families.  The new bill, without any notice whatsoever:  $2,900 per month.  In case you’re a bit
slow at the math, that’s an additional $12,000 per year, or $35,000 for 7 souls.  Obviously we will have
to do something else.  So now instead of keeping costs low for our customers, investing in more chickens
or better watering systems or helping launch aspiring young farmers, we must give over our money
to tyrants and elitists.

Lest anyone think this posting will turn partisan, read on.  This has nothing to do with Democrats
or Republicans.  While it’s true that Democratic friends tell me I should be thankful and feel privileged
that we’ve been successful enough to pay more so others can have insurance (can you imagine them
defending anything else extorted by force at the end of a gun to be given to someone else?) the Republicans
are just as culpable in this whole fiasco.  They think the government should take money by violence
from one segment of the population to give it to others too–just not as much.  So the difference is not
in philosophy;  only in degree.  Therein lies the nub.

Where is the elected official who will stand and declare that individuals are not wards of the state?
Where is the innovator who dares to suggest that societal problems may be creatively solved by something
other than more meddlesome government?  Why have we allowed ourselves to be this disempowered?
And why do some believe it is ultimately fair to take by force from people who have to give to those who
have not?

While Jesus taught charity, He never suggested that the vehicle for that charity was through the
government.  He didn’t say:  “Give to widows by creating higher taxes so the bureaucrats can dole your
money out to the folks who need it.”  No, He said to give directly, to give to neighbors and even people
far away.  He never brought the government into the issue; it was a personal and cooperative, voluntary
charity.  To equate a voluntary charity fundraiser or church collection plate with a state-mandated tax is
preposterous and offensive to philanthropy.

The pressing issue of our day is not how much entitlement to offer, but whether any entitlement is
either beneficial or ultimately the best way to handle disparities.  Let’s back up a bit.  Where did the health
care problem originate?  Its roots are back in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s day, when he decided to clamp on
wage controls–meddling in private contracts.  Desperate to reward and incentivize better workers, businesses
decided to begin offering health insurance as a way around the regulations.

Government meddling in the affairs of private individuals created the assumption that health care was
a basic human right the same as the right to worship, speak, or assemble.  Jesus preached that I was to
help my neighbor;  He did not preach that the government, or society, was to demand that I help someone
I didn’t want to.  That wouldn’t be very neighborly, you see.

The next thing that occurred was medical and hospital regulations.  I remember very well 35 years
ago during my short stint reporting for the Staunton Daily News Leader attending a hearing for a “Certificate
of Need” from a group of doctors who wanted to start a health care facility in Augusta County.  Their project
was denied because some beds at King’s Daughter’s Hospital and Waynesboro Community Hospital were empty.
Now what possibly could have been wrong with a group of health care professionals offering an alternative

The trade-off for this heavy-handed bureaucracy, of course, was the mandate that anyone who walked
into an emergency room had to receive treatment.  Nobody could be denied.  I’m not sure anybody ever was
denied because hospitals–at least at that time–were as interested in helping people as they were in making
money.  But this official state-mandated guarantee, and the boatloads of paperwork and litigation that ensued,
coupled with the “Certificates of Need” created a monopoly health care system.

Finally, outrageous settlements in medical malpractice suits raised the price of doctor visits to exorbitant
rates.  What if a totally alternative group of health practitioners had decided to treat only members who signed
a waiver of liability?  And what if doctors could practice without government licenses?  In such a system, everyone
bears responsibility for making it work.  Imagine an Angie’s List for the best health care facility–with NO state
oversight.  Most people today, educated in state schools, can’t imagine a system functioning without meddlesome
state oversight.

They think this would put us back in the dark ages, a time before Angie’s List, facebook, and
tribal accountability through electronic media.  Before microscopes, indoor plumbing, and sewer systems.
Have we lost so much faith in ourselves and in the power of enlightened individuals to act responsibly when
they have freedom that we must shackle ourselves with the notion that our neighbors own us?  That we are
simply assets or liabilities to the state?

If the state is responsible for my health, or if I’m entitled to receive health care from the state, then I am a
ward of the state.  The state therefore has an economic interest in making sure that I remain an asset and not
a liability.  Remember, the state in modern times has told us to use DDT in our homes and children’s hair, to
plant genetically modified organisms, to eat hydrogenated oils, to replace butter with margarine, to feet dead
cows to cows, to drink pasteurized milk, to double our intake of carbohydrates, to meddle in the Middle East, to
meddle in Afghanistan, to give free college educations to young people from terrorist states–why would anyone
trust the state with their health?  Why?  The state’s track record on decision making is dismal.

Why should any of us desire to put the state in charge of our 3 trillion member internal community of
bacteria?  The ultimate human right is the right to own myself.  If the state owns me, then the state can determine
the boundaries of risky behavior, whether that’s how I medicate, educate, recreate, eat, invest, supplement or
care for my health.  While offering entitlements like health care to people sounds kind in the first mention, a
bit of examination shows it to be enslavement of the worst order.  It is ultimately demeaning to the human-ness
of the human.  Choice is the ultimate freedom;  without it, we are simply pawns of the state.

That is why the Republicans do NOT have the high road in this debate.  They can’t find the high road because
they refuse to engage in the basic debate about whether a person is a ward of the state or not.  Once you assume
that the state has the right to take anyone’s possessions, at gunpoint, and give them to another person, regardless
of circumstances, you have created an ogre out of the state.  I agree with Thomas Jefferson who said that in his
experience most government harm came from too much government, not too little government.  Trust me, he
would not find a home in either mainline party today.

Interestingly, when you travel in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain–anyplace with state health
care–you see private clinics everywhere.  Why?  Because if you really need care and you want good care, you
don’t go to the government facilities.  They do indeed have a definite priority.  England is planning to eliminate
nearly 20 out of 30 brain cancer clinics.  Just like that.  Why?  The state deems it appropriate.  The patients are
desperate.  Indeed.

The unaffordable ACA is not about giving health care to the working poor.  It thrives or dies on the question:
who owns me?  When slavery was abolished, our country determined that one person could not own another.
That was a good thing.  Today, however, we’ve traded that hard-won freedom to a tyrannous corporate ownership
and decided that if enough people decide that society should own you by pooling their votes, then that’s okay.
That’s a heinous perspective on “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

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About Joel Salatin

Every once in a while, Joel will interrupt our normally scheduled blog posts with a special article. We hope you enjoy these posts as much as we do.

52 Responses to A note from Joel….

  1. Ruth says:

    I love this commentary. How right you are and thank you for writing. Continue, please.

  2. Brad Phillips says:

    Awesome…. just awesome.

  3. Diana says:

    Samaritan Ministries. Check it out.
    It’s the very affordable Christian ministry where people are meeting each others needs. Exempt from Obamacare, and very affordable.

  4. Paul Thomas says:

    I wished I had shopped on the exchange for my business. My friends that did are paying half what I am. I think the problem was not shopping around. You have until the end of March. I have another friend that called their carrier saying they were going to change plans, and they dropped their rates.
    Why don’t they just provide Medicare for all?

  5. tspllc says:

    I am surprised you folks even have traditional insurance and are not part of Samaritan’s Ministries. They are Christian based and much more affordable. As a licensed insurance agent, I do sell traditional insurance, but as for me and my family we use Samaritan’s Ministries and I recommend it to my traditional healthcare or Medicare clients if they are followers of Christ.


  6. Victoria West says:

    Thank you Joel for this article. It amazes me constantly why people can’t see that they are giving away their freedom in order to obtain a benefit that isn’t even beneficial.

    Have you looked into something like medishare for your family?

  7. Leslie says:

    Some of us do need help and can’t get it from our families. That is just a fact. I also agree that “insurance IS the problem.” And I don’t think we can fix that problem with “more insurance.”

    • Samaritan Ministries may be a great alternative for you for your healthcare needs. We made the switch from insurance to Samaritan this year and are very thankful for the truly affordable, legal, Christian alternative to Obamacare.

    • There are many places in this area that offer no or low cost medical and dental care. You don’t seem to understand that you or the government does not have the right to steal my money for redistribution to others. The government puts people in prison for PONZIE SCHEMES yet the government is the biggest violator, Just like they have done with Social Security, now they can’t pay the ones who paid in what is owed.

  8. Tamara Fehr says:

    I agree 100 %. We dropped insurance several years ago and are members of Samaritan Ministries. It is a wonderful organization and we are blessed to be a part of it. Funny thing is when doctors here you are self pay they are delighted. We get a tremendous discount, they print off one invoice and you pay in 30 days. No paper work and they know they are going to get paid. Works great for us.

  9. Patty says:

    Have you checked out Medi-share or Smaritan (pool sharing insurance programs) ?

  10. Jon Berry says:

    please take a look at Samaritan ministries based out of Peoria Illinois. They are an incredible cost share program that has allowed a self employed family like ours to stay self employed. We pay 370 dollars a month for family medical coverage. It is approved by the government under the Affordable Care Act but it’s still a great way of beating the system.

  11. Rose says:

    **standing ovation**

  12. Bob McGavock says:

    Mr. Salatin, I would love to shake your hand. Change may begin when a single voice sends a message that lights a fire in others, as your message has. Thank you and God bless you and your family. I am a former swoope area resident, by the way.

  13. Earth's Internet says:

    Well, let me provide a number of scriptural texts which help people to understand that putting trust in ANY human government is not the wise course and will always lead to disappointment. This has nothing to do with changing government for the better which is impossible.

    Jeremiah 10:23 Living Bible (TLB)

    23 “O Lord, I know it is not within the power of man to map his life and plan his course.”

    Ecclesiastes 8:9 – Good News Translation (GNT)

    9 “I saw all this when I thought about the things that are done in this world, a world where some people have power and others have to suffer under them.”

    The problem is Jesus never came to earth to change or improve any government. The Jews were looking for a triumphant military leader to destroy the Roman occupation and the fact he was not here for that was a huge disappointment to them. When Satan tempted Jesus, this is what he said about the governments around the globe.

    Luke 4
    Good News Translation (GNT)

    5 Then the Devil took him up and showed him in a second all the kingdoms of the world. 6 “I will give you all this power and all this wealth,” the Devil told him. “It has all been handed over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. 7 All this will be yours, then, if you worship me.”

    Interesting, how could Satan give Jesus something he had no power to control nor influence ? The Bible always has been clear that governments while they do provide a measure of order and do rightly demand our respect are also not to be totally trusted and hoped in because Satan after all is the “Ruler of the World”.

    For the most part families sticking together and close honorable friends will get one through this world. I live in Europe and most of the traditional family structure has for the most part been redefined and removed. Immigrants from the poorer countries are the few who know and understand the importance of close families. Yes the National Healthcare of many governments here is a joke. The best thing a Christian can do in a highly Secularized and Atheistic world is stick together.

    The Bible also shows these governments have to be removed, but that is God’s choosing when the time comes. Religious leaders protesting and demanding change and encouraging their followers to do the same is like a Captain of the Titanic ordering his crew to swab the deck and clean up the ship just before is goes down. It would be more prudent to jump ship into one of the lifeboats and paddle as far away as possible before the ship makes that final plunge and sucking down everything within it’s vicinity.

  14. ilya says:

    Hi Joel! I don’t know you. A friend posted a quote from your article on Facebook, and, after reading the article, I felt compelled to respond – mostly out of confusion. Please take my response in the spirit of me attempting to understand what, exactly, you’re trying to say. Peace.

    Sorry, Joel. I can’t agree with anything you say here. Well, except the 3rd paragraph – I’m sure you felt good when you didn’t get the insurance cancellation notice, at least until you learned your premiums went up with the current company. And there’s some truth to the last paragraph, about the corporate tyranny, but i’ll get to that non-sequitur later.

    I’m probably misreading the tone of your writing style, because you seem to consider yourself naturally superior to them bureaucrats who, unlike you and the rest of the Salatins, don’t do anything productive since they don’t move cows or gather eggs. You seem to have some very specific guidelines on what’s productive and what isn’t. While it might not be as close-to-earth as your chosen occupation, looking down on someone because of what they happen to do to make a living says something about you. Again, i’m probably reading too much into it and the wording just rubbed me the wrong way.

    Next you go on to complain that your insurance premiums went up. Have they been the same previously? Every year? My guess is that they’ve been going up – same as mine – and that the premium jump is likely due to the fact that your previous policy didn’t cover jack squat, or maybe only covered jack squat. The ACA, as i’m sure you know, requires certain minimums of coverage. Arguably that’s an overreach: after all, a person should have the freedom to have insurance that won’t actually insure the important things, and the insurance company should have the freedom not to a person because of an old injury, so it’s a win-win (not really). In any case, an enlightened person such as yourself will undoubtedly spend the time needed to update your coverage to get the costs to where you need them to be – or switch to another company that won’t gouge you for all that they can.

    Also, I’m glad you brought Jesus into the discussion, too. What better way is there to ensure universal, non-discriminatory, long-term, reliable, resilient support network for millions of people across hugely diverse geography than to rely on voluntary donations by those of the Christian faith? I’m kidding of course. That sounds like a terrible idea, and I hope my question-in-jest pointed out everything that’s wrong with it. By the way, while Jesus didn’t say anything about charity-through-government, he did say a few things money. I’ve often wondered why so many devout Christians are so against taxes, considering the general message (rather than specific implementation) of charity, sharing, the inability of camels to travers the needle’s eye, and all that.

    While medical malpractice insurance is a cost, for sure – it doesn’t look as though it’s the single reason doctor costs are so expensive, unlike what you think. I’ve done some cursory search on the matter a few years back and recently again, and I suggest that perhaps you should update your knowledge on the subject. Here’s one link that could get you started – i’m sure you can search the web as well as I can, and distinguish fact from opinion when reading the results: http://truecostofhealthcare.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Malpractice_repeat.39104611.pdf.

    I love your suggestion of Angie’s List for Doctors instead of state licensing. I love it for its comedic value, primarily, but I love it nevertheless. Are you being disingenuous when suggesting that the right way to make sure your physician is at least competent to be a doctor by _reading reviews left by others_?! Is it a joke? Are you joking? Would you suggest Angie’s List for Pilots where you can pick your plane pilot by reading reviews left by relatives of crash victims? I guess that wouldn’t work, since the pilot’s likely to be dead as a result of their incompetence, but you get my meaning :).

    Your final leap of logic is also puzzling: the idea that because you get benefits from the state, you are therefore owned by the state (comparing this to slavery was a nice touch, btw. completely wrong, but creative – points for style). That’s a heck of a leap, and the logic of it seems to fail at the very basic level. The exact statement was: “While offering entitlements like health care to people sounds kind in the first mention, a bit of examination shows it to be enslavement of the worst order.” Let me rephrase it but keep the essential meaning intact: “When X provides Y to P, X enslaves P in the worst way”. Substituting “state” for X, “healthcare” for Y, and “you” for P: “When state provides healthcare to you, state enslaves you in the worst way.” Now let’s substitute “private company” for X, “healthcare” for Y, and “you” for P: “When private company provides healthcare to you, private company enslaves you in the worst way”.

    The latter is a pretty common practice, so I’m guessing you’re a fan of private enslavement? 😉 i’m joking, of course – you can’t be, which probably means you don’t really mean what you say?

    Finally, I got really confused by your last paragraph. The entire article was a cry against the state takeover of healthcare (non-existent, btw), the manifestation of Thomas Jefferson’s small government principles, the Libertarian self-determination and self-sufficiency affirmation. And then you go and throw in the notion that we’ve traded our hard-won freedom from slavery for a life under with ‘tyrannous corporate ownership’. What? Didn’t you just talk about how great private enterprise was? So private corporate enterprise is bad?

    I really don’t know what you were saying here, at all, other than venting that your insurance premium when up a lot. You don’t even have ads on the site so it’s not like you’re trolling for eyeballs for ad revenue (thanks for that, btw) 🙂

    well, that’s it. Take care – I hope the cows move smoothly, and the eggs are all extra large and without blemishes. Oh, and you’ll probably enjoy this: http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/12/30/258393176/make-it-so-sir-patrick-stewart-moos-in-udder-accents


    • paul moore says:

      Actually, the high cost of hospital services is due to freeloaders, many of them illegals, who strain resources at every turn. Having these people working in our country is a “false economy”, that does not benefit anyone in the long run (even if they become legal and pay into the system, their contribution to the tax base represents a fraction of what they suck out in services). One example of this – their children are put into public schools, at a cost of thousands of dollars per year for each kid – resulting in a net loss when calculating productivity, or any savings on a pound of tomatoes. Then, to add insult to injury, the MAJORITY of their offspring become criminals of some stripe, thinking their parents fools for working so hard picking tomatoes in the hot sun.
      The liberals want the votes of the poor and the poor want lots of services. This seems like a healthy, “symbiotic” relationship to some but is “colonialism” at the expense of the middle class. This is not sustainable, as In reality it is not the middle class or even the rich who are paying for all of the social services being dispensed. The U.S.A. is borrowing money to pay for it all! This is not sustainable!
      Americans, as a people, are the most charitable people in the world. This is a fact. Look it up. No other country comes close. By charitable I mean voluntary charity given from the heart, not through coercion (some European countries give more per capita to other countries through the government, but that is not charity from the heart, it is from the tax). This comes from our Judeo/Christian values. Yes, charity has worked for a long time in this country. The examples are too numerous to list here.
      I agree with you that you are confused, Ilya. You took the straightforward, expository writings of Joel and try to jumble it into a mess of contradictions. Shame of you for that!
      Joel is a hero of mine, although I have never met him.
      He doesn’t appear to hire cheap, incompetent labor (hooray!) like so may in our nation. He is also practicing a model that is sustainable (your bureaucratic utopia is absolutely not sustainable, sorry).
      If Joel’s “tone” is one that places himself above or superior to a bureaucrat then I say “great”! The fact is that his contribution to farming technology does place him in a position of importance. Let’s face it, most of us are mere consumers in the scheme of things, really parasites by comparison.


  15. Joel Salatin should be everyone’s hero. He’s mine-is he yours?

  16. Catharine says:

    AMEN, Joel!!! I believe yours is the only voice of reason & sanity I readily find in this crazy culture.

    Thank You for being you and for your sound & couragous mind & heart!!!

    Rose just summed up how I feel: “Standing Ovation”…. from my little world as well.

    • Darren H. says:

      Some thoughts on Joel’s post:
      1) Im glad he calls out both parties on this. Both parties seem to care little for the average Americans wallet or tax burden. One party may be worse than the ohter, but as he says…both suck. Both parties should be ashamed that they can not come up with a decent plan to help the citizens of the country in a way that wont put companies out of business or is beyond the reach of individuals.

      2) I am a liberal/progressive, and even I must admit with Joel that Obamacare is a disaster. It was crafted in secret, behind closed doors, and mostly helps the drug & insurance companies. It’s intentions may have been good, (the overall idea anyhow, not anything the politicians actually crafted) but implementation and design was awful. Destined to fail, and very expensive. The amount that Joels monthly bill rose by is ridiculous…BUT , I would have liked to see the stats. What was the deductible of his previous plan? What is it with current plan? The “devil is in the details”. I frequently see people talking about how their monthly bills raised with their new plans, by they never give a full side by side comparison of what the health insurance was before and after. I suspect in most cases, the original insurance was pretty awful.

      3) On a personal note, my brother recently broke his leg very badly in a late night icy slip in a parking lot. He had to go to Emergency room by ambulance, spent 2 days at hospital and had some surgery done. He has NO insurance. He is a carpenter/handyman type so had no company coverage, and did not pay for self insurance. He worked sporadically, did not have a lot of money to put into monthly premiums so he risked it. He is now SCREWED. He will find out when the bills show up how finacially devasted he will be. I predict he will be on the run from bill collectors for the rest of his life. It’s no way to live. Instead of Obamacare, the govt should have come out with a “public option” type of thing that was not mandatory, that helped in case of real ACCIDENTS. Not lifestyle diseases. Weigh 400 lbs and have a heartattack? HIgh blood pressure? not covered. Smoke and get lung cancer? Not covered! Slip on ice. Covered. Fall of tractor and legs gets cut off by blade? Covered. You get the idea. Seems to me to be a highly doable plan that would not bankrupt the indivudual, like my brother will be. By the way, I checked the Obamacare website for my brother to see if he could sign up and afford it. I put in all his stats, and put hsi salary as $12,000 (lowball figure to see what it would come up with). The lowest level “Bronze” plans had monthly premiums of around $280-$350 a month, with a deductible of $4000-$6000. Ridiculous. No one actually making $12k a year could ever pay that, and then still pay $5000 out of pocket until insurance kicks in.

      4) Jesus never required that we give to govt for charity, but he always favored compassion. There is a valid Christian question of how compassionate it is to let people slip under the cracks, die or go bankrupt due to lack of insurance or health care. )See my brothers story in #3. There are much worse cases than his). In Jesus day, giving charity to neighbors and such was more about helping them out, or not go hungry. There were no expensive MRIs and Cat scans to pay for. A bill from a doctor/healer wouuld not bankrupt you. Its not practical now to expect persnoal charity to help out in most health cases now. A staffer on the Ron Paul campaign by the name of Kent snyder got very sick with Viral pneumonia, and died after 2 months in the hospital (story linked below). His family got stuck with a $400,000 bill. They set up a website to help pay off that bill. Friends and neighbors chipped in. Months later, they had raised only $32,000. That is a horrible spot to be put into as his remaining family. Christian charity does not do it these days. It may have worked in Jesus day, but not for todays medical bills.

      • Behany says:

        If there were competition in healthcare, a free market, it wouldn’t be so expensive. Doctors under government compensated programs charge the maximum they can charge. In free markets there are price leaders, who charge the minimum, and lead costs down. Christian charity can’t overcome the government.

        • Some of what you posted is correct such as a free market. When the government gets involved they dictate what they will pay the doctors which is far less than the bill that the sends. Where the free market will work is creating competition between doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. In the case of doctors, if you have one doctor charging $50 for an office visit and another charging $30 who would you go to if it had to be paid out of your pocket? Another factor on that point all the patients would begin going to the doctor that is only charging $30, thus the doctor charging $50 would have to lower his pricing in order to stay in business. Same with insurance companies if the companies were allowed to sell across state lines (stupid government regulations) it would create a larger competitive market which would drive down the costs due to the fact that that the consumer would shop for the lowest cost. Simple supply and demand at the best price. There are doctors that supply free services to those in need but the lazy leaches of society that are irresponsible and refuse to take care of themselves abuse the free services that takes away from those that really need it.

  17. D says:

    What are you going to do about health insurance now, Joel? I don’t even make 1/2 of $35,000 a year. I can’t imagine earning $2,900 a month, let alone trying to pay that bill. I know it’s for 7 people – but gadzooks!

  18. sue ward says:

    No one has said it better, Joel. This healthcare boondoggle is about taking another bite out of our freedoms. I fear for our country!

  19. Helen says:

    Well said, Thank You!!!!

  20. Paula Brown{ says:

    Dear Joel: Here is what I have seen, in addition to the points you made in your article. I work for a city government. The City Fathers, in their wisdom, forced our department to drop our part-time people from 32 hours a week to 29 hours week so that they did not have to make insurance available to them. So, these people, who only had part-time jobs in the first place, but were eligible to purchase insurance through the city, no longer have that option, AND they have had their hours cut. How does this benefit them? All so the city could avoid the choice of providing insurance or paying a fine to the federal government due to ACA regulation.

  21. Kelly Simmons says:

    Good gracious. Thanks for letting us see your small mindedness. So your policy that you like has gone up a lot. Bummer. The rest of us who could not GET health insurance, or who’s handicapped children were about to exceed lifetime limits, (as examples) should just buck up and hope for neighborliness? How downright Christian. Try braving the waters of that oh so bureaucratic website to see what you can get through the ACA, perhaps. You might find that you can get a better Anthem policy for less. (gasp). Oh the horrors of being “forced”.

    Give me a break, Joel.

  22. Joel,
    You speak volumes of truth in these few paragraphs. The state “ownership” issue is the primary reason my family and farm do not participate in government grant programs or the FSA and the primary reason we have no health insurance and will not participate in the federally mandated healthcare. We pray for real and meaningful change or fear the ultimate loss of freedom. I personally think it will take another revolution.
    Keep up the good work.
    Greg Hutchins
    Heritage Farm
    Tyus, Ga.

  23. Erin Herner says:

    So well said! Have you guys heard of Medishare? It’s a Christian medical expenses-sharing group that is exempt from the ACA. You have to agree to their statement of faith and their code of moral behavior. I think it’s an excellent idea, then you also know you’re not paying for things you find morally objectionable.

  24. Kateekat says:

    We weren’t hit as hard as y’all. We only have insurance on my hubby as i have something else (over which i have little choice). Still, we will be paying $1200 more a year for his very limited policy. It is not better coverage, it is worse, but you know what? He has full prenatal care and follow up visits. So as soon as he gets pregnant, we’ll really appreciate his policy.

    I have to listen to a friend go on and on and on about how great this is for her. She didn’t have coverage before, and i’m glad she’s now got coverage, but i can see where our extra money is going. I frequently here her say, “And it is free!” For her, i guess.

    I don’t really understand how we’ve gotten to this point as it is. I especially don’t understand Christians who say, ” . . . But the Doctor says . . . !” With the same intonation as “The Word of the Lord.” Sigh. I am around a lot of people heavily invested in this system instead of eating real food and taking responsibility for their choices.

  25. Kristin says:

    Slavery, yes. And I like what you said about Jesus’s directives on helping those who need it. Why can’t we just trust God and obey Him? He actually knows what He’s talking about. His ways work.

  26. Debra says:

    “Where is the elected official who will stand and declare that individuals are not wards of the state?
    Where is the innovator who dares to suggest that societal problems may be creatively solved by something
    other than more meddlesome government?”

    Perhaps you, Mr. Salatin.

  27. Julie says:

    So sorry your rates went up–I agree our health care system (and government for that matter) is a mess. Unfortunately, even Christians often do not follow the teachings of Jesus and find their own pocket and interests much more appealing when compared to helping a neighbor, especially if they don’t approve of said neighbor. This leaves many people without any options and in desperate need. I think the government is too large as well, but until the people start taking care of each other, I am glad our government is a least making an attempt.

    • Do you understand that the present government has overstepped its Constitutional authority? That includes the SCOTUS by changing the ACA penalty to a tax. Also every change that delays implementing the LAW by obamas pen is a treasonous act by disobeying the laws of the country. Do you also understand that everything he is doing is directed at the destruction of our country? The military will be smaller than before WWII. That is treason in its purest form because the #1 Constitutional priority is: “WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION, ESTABLISH JUSTICE, INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY, PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE, PROMOTER THE GENERAL WELFARE, AND SECURE THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY TO OURSELVES AND OUR POSTERITY, DO ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Common defense means against all enemies and depleting the military and refusing to secure our boarders is an act of treason in its highest degree. The ACA is not about health care, it is about power which enslaves the entire country. I already know of people that have been denied prescriptions and what will you do when you are denied operations because your quality of life won’t be improved or lengthened? Why do you think that Medicare has been attacked by the ACA? Simply put obama would rather see you die than pay for your medical care. I can go on for hours about what this is really intended to accomplish but if it makes you feel good then please pay more so I don’t have to.

      • Earth's Internet says:

        Interesting, for a Christian, wouldn’t they continue on despite the plans made by any government ? When Jesus was on Earth, he never protested and tried to change the Jewish governance or rules by means of politics. He wasn’t even a revolutionary trying to over throw the Roman occupation, which btw is the reason most Jews rejected him. They wanted a mighty military leader, so Jesus was a major disappointment. The last thing any Christian should be concerned with is how mighty a military power the land they reside in has. Should Christians in Russia dwell on how mighty and powerful their military is ? Now perhaps we can understand why the importance of Christian neutrality really is. Maybe this is why biblical influence is loosing because it hasn’t actually been practiced for centuries.setting an example for others

        • Teresita says:

          I know that this is not common knowledge but the ACA is an offshoot of a plan created by The Heritage Foundation as a response to the Universal Healthcare Act which Hillary Clinton proposed in 1993. There are good points to the ACA, like not having a monetary cap on treatment or getting thrown off your insurance plan because of a pre-existing condition. However, the ACA was written by insurance company and pharmaceutical company representatives, so they will protect their interest first, i.e. the bottom line. Personally, my rates have gone down from 463.00 a month to 236.00 a month. However, I know some people whose rates have gone up. However, it is a misnomer to say that everyone’s rates have gone up, or that everyone has lost their doctors, or to say that all of the sudden insurance rates have gone up , when in fact, they have been going up about 8% every year. I also think that Joel makes a mistake in lumping together all universal healthcare plans in other countries as “not good”. We spend over 3,000 dollars more per person per year in health care costs than other country in the world. The system we have now with doctors getting paid “fee for service” and not having set salaries is as much of a problem, as our country being the only industrialized country that allows pharmaceutical companies to set the price of medicine and not the other way around. So I think that having more people insured is great and having some protection is also good. Yet, they way doctors are paid, the way the system is run and the way we treat chronic illness in this country is a much bigger problem that contributes to monthly rates. Don’t be fooled by whether your Representative and Senator is a Republican or a Democrat, find out who donates to them and if they have huge donations from pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies then you know whose interests they will represent.

          • Everyone knows that the ACA is a continuation of the Democrats trying to shove universal care on a single-payer program down our throats. There are really no good points about the ACA and I’m afraid that the more it is implemented the more you’ll see exactly where it’s headed. Your rates. Having gone from $463 a month to $236 a month is great for you, but those of us who are supplementing your payments, it’s not such a great thing. You forgot to mention what your deductibles were at the $463 rate compared to what they are at the $236 rate. You will find that your out-of-pocket expenses are far greater and doesn’t equal the savings between your previous rate and your rate now. On the average, most families do not spend more than $4000 a year in medical expenses unless they have a catastrophic problem. You’ll find that your deductible is higher than what you would spend out-of-pocket normally. If you work the math and your deductible is $6000 or more, plus your $236 rate per month totals out to $8832. Originally, you would’ve paid $5556 per year plus office visit deductibles and maybe a one or $2000 deductible for a catastrophic occurrence. Your entire statement is full of holes and errors without much research in finding out exactly what the ACA is. Continue to support it, and take out of our pockets to make life easier for you, but it will all implode when the country can no longer afford to pay for those who don’t do for themselves.

  28. Ms. Daisy says:

    When logic stares you straight in the face and you reject it, I can only think to blame it on thimerisol-contaminated neurons, public education, and/or NPR. If Joel weren’t so busy changing the world in his own sphere, I’d say we should get him in for president (and by president, I do not mean “dictator” as we are so presently familiar). And the purposeful distortion and twisting of his words is a really adorable way to make a point, don’t you think?

  29. supertruth says:

    I like your point about “Thou Shall Not Steal”. God never said that it would be OK to ignore this commandment when enough people do it as a mob.

  30. Steven McGhee says:

    Can everyone hear that? It is the sound of an empire falling. Roman, British, American, who’s next? Will China be the next world power? The current administration is sending us down a path to destruction. Joel has some great creative ideas. Too bad everything he wants to do is illegal.

    • Which one are you calling doing things illegally? Obama and his minions are the ones doing things illegally. He has thwarted the Constitution so many times I have lost count. We the people will have to stop the insanity by whatever means are necessary from voting (insuring no fraud) up to and including armed insurrection if we seriously intend on saving our freedom.

      • Steven McGhee says:

        I was referring to his ideas about stimulating the local economy with regional food based systems. USDA prohibits most all of those great ideas. The violations of the constitution just on the health care act are enough to be impeachable.

        • Steven; Are not farm markets or church pantries the same thing as a regional based food based system? Why is it that milk produced by a local dairy and sold in local markets cost more than milk produced hundreds of miles away? Maybe we just need to clean all the rats out of DC starting at the WH all the way down to the regulatory pinhead bureaucrats.

  31. Debbie says:

    I personally am not a fan of big government. I think they stick their noses into private affairs way too much and end up making things worse most of the time. Having said that, I am a believer that medical care should be a given. My daughter was born with a genetic condition, which would suggest a bad gene in the family, but no, we couldn’t find a history of it anywhere, so doc says a spontaneous mutation of the chromosome. Under old laws, my daughter would have trouble finding an insurance that would cover this pre-existing condition and we did…I have medical bills to prove it. An MRI at that time was 1500 bucks a pop; who has that kind of money? Now the medical insurance through my husband’s work has to take care of her until she is 26 and any other insurance she gets at that time cannot turn her down because of the condition. His insurance premiums went up this year and the deductible is double from last year, but they have been going up for the past ten years anyway…our deductible started out at 250, went to 500, and is now 1000. Don’t care too much for the fact that I’ve also had to switch doctors three times in the last five or six years because the doctors quit accepting our insurance. Especially since the first doctor was the best! Seriously, this man would take an hour out of his day just to explain to me what was going on and when I started taking my daughter to him, we discussed the condition she has and he quite frankly told me he didn’t know anything about it, but he would be happy to refer us to someone who had experience with it or if I wanted to stick with him, he would do some research and figure out everything he could about it. His honesty impressed me so much that I stuck with him and I would still be with him today if it wasn’t for the insurance thing! Anyway, medical coverage in this country has been a huge broken issue for a long time. I may not agree with everything about it or everything Obama is doing, but I give him kudos for trying something! Obama inherited a broken country to begin with and honestly I think he is trying to do his best with the mess he was given and the opposition he is facing. As for society giving charity and taking care of it’s own, I really hate to say it, but I think it is a thing of the past. When I was a little girl, I lived in a rural area and you didn’t see homeless people there….maybe that’s because most of them were living with us! My mother’s door was always open and there was always enough to go around…not because we were rich, but because we were lucky enough to have a big old house and we were taught that you always help your neighbors (the impressive garden she had probably helped too). Today I am lucky in that I have found that kind of community again, but some of the places where I lived in between then and now your neighbors didn’t talk to you let alone help you out of a jam. And many people believe that if someone is poor or homeless then it’s because of something they did or something they are not doing. I have two problems with that, one I have been in situations myself where you try and try to succeed and yet you still fail, and I firmly believe that even though a person may make a decision that ends with them being homeless, it may not be because they are a drug addict or drunkard, it may be because they are a good person that made a bad decision- and that’s it. I don’t think it takes too much anymore to be poor or homeless. No, society on the whole today is too un-trusting and too much “out for number one” to be responsible for taking the initiative to help those less fortunate. It’s sad, it sucks, but it’s true! As for me, I will continue on with the lessons I learned from my mother and hopefully my children will learn those same lessons from me so they too can pass them on. Maybe someday the pendulum will swing the other way again and people won’t be so stingy or judgmental and will be willing to help those who cannot help themselves for whatever reason.

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  34. Matthew says:

    There are unfortunately several ‘gross overlooks’ or otherwise flaws in the arguments posted by Mr. Salatin here. Unfortunately, as someone who has formerly read (and appreciated) several of his publications (including ‘You Can Farm’) and is also working towards running a sustainable, community-enriching CSA, I find them to be a little too under-educated for the type of person I thought he was. I will not discuss several of the (apparently) interesting points made by commenters, as many of them are upon cursory examination actually utterly uninteresting or rather shallow (ex. – comments about what Jesus would have done). Anyways, let me share some ‘key’ points he made that I was disappointed with:

    #1 — ACA essentially had its teeth ripped out when drug development companies and healthcare providers met behind closed doors with our politicians and gutted the element of a government-managed plan option. As much as government-misspending naysayers would like to cry, the government could have established a ‘no-frills’ plan that could have both enrolled a great number of people (with a wider variety of background conditions, etc.) and provided no-frills benefits, both to the savings and unamnimous celebration of the populace. Unless you’re chosing to ignore valuable data on the subject, examine public opinion polls about healthcare in Germany, where there has been a low-cost ‘public’ plan in place for more than 20 years… the citizens there have some of the highest self-reported rates of satisfaction about their healthcare out of all the countries in the world.

    #2 — The true root of current exorbitant healthcare costs lies not in mid-20th century companies hoping to over-the-top incentivize the jobs they offered, nor in the ‘take one take all’ nature of emergency medical care — as Salatin’s post here would have us believe. Rather, the seemingly unsustainable expenses have their roots in the conversion of healthcare companies from non-profit, customer-shareholded entities (as Blue Cross / Blue Shield was, shocking to most, in its first few decades of its existence in the early 1900s) to for-profit, SHAREHOLDER-run companies in the decades that followed. BCBS has been a ‘non-for-profit’ company in name only for the past ten years, and all the other top market holders have been for-profit for much longer. You can guarantee that if BCBS was still cutting surplus income checks to its insurance holders instead of trying to drive up EPS for shareholders, then costs would be far lower than they are today.

    #3 — Joel I’ve read “You Can Farm” and am completely aware of the approach to cost-savings that you advocate there to young people trying to build a worthwhile (and possibly also community enriching) business. While you write that young people looking to start a farm should strongly consider forsaking health insurance altogether (in addition to comprehensive auto insurance) you here have contradicted this sentiment by lamenting at the practicality of the Brits eliminating a majority of their brain cancer tumor treatment facilities (fact check by me notwithstanding). What kind of reasonable care can be sustainably maintained? Would you expect to be able to afford treatment for a brain tumor if you had no insurance plan? I agree that the underlying pricing structure for medical care is a bit absurd (for a somewhat simplisitic background reading try the Times’ ‘Bitter Pill’), and I also concede that the medical care costs for ‘reactive’ instead of ‘proactive’ pursuits seem unnecessarily high for a developed country such as ours. But you have to concede that most people who go without insurance and then find out they have cancer (or Listeria; or walking pneumonia, or a broken leg as a previous poster mentioned, etc.) are not going to sit idly back and pray for things to get better. While it certainly disrupts our current expectations of what kind of cash we have in our pocket in the short term, it goes without saying that universal healthcare remains at its most basic a simple way to prevent otherwise catastrophic medical bills for the individual.

    Finally, although I don’t think it qualifies as information you may not have had at your fingertips at the onset of your post here — your idea that private philanthropy could somehow singlehandedly make up the difference in what we’d need to spend to provide basic care to those arguably unable to fund such for themselves is humorous at best. Such an achievement is unprecendented, not despite the assumed rationality of human beings but rather given the predictably irrational opposite. A government is by definition a social contract on how we agree to limit ourselves for the better of our fellow citizens lives, often times in spite of our urges or impulses to hoard, act destructively selfishly, irrationally, etc. It is completely within this thousands-of-years-old framework for me to accept (willingly) paying a slightly higher monthly premium (for me and my family, when the increase happened this year, to be a 15% increase) as a tradeoff for building a safer and healthier society overall.

    Now the sad truth is, if we spent even a fraction less on our worldwide military exploits as we did on domestic affairs, this whole argument of “Where o where do we take from to pay for this newly touted luxury-that-other-developed-nations-take-as-a-standard?” would actually be moot…

    It would sure be nice for Mr. Salatin himself to digest some of the opposing viewpoints presented here — stealing a minute or two from his cows and his chickens, of course, as any engaged and attempting-to-be-understanding citizen must do — and clarify where (if anywhere) he feels he might have been off-base in his rant about his/his employee’s premiums going up…

  35. Jamie Garcia says:

    I’d say “Joel for president”, but I like you too much to suggest you ruin your life for my benefit.

    Agree 100% with your view point on obamacare and our broken 2 party system.

  36. Suze says:

    Thug-type extortion? Sorry. No longer interested in this page. I was hopeful, but scanning the comments here turns my stomach.

  37. Earl Canfield says:

    Excellent comments Joel. Also many excellent responses here. There are obviously a few sensible people left in America, just none of them apparently in public office. I see many folks talking about options like Samaritan Ministries or Medi-Share. Another similar to that is CHM (Christian Healthcare Ministries), a predecessor actually to the other two. We have been with them since the first of the year and have been very thankful for the blessing of both helping and being helped by fellow believers all over the country. I would highly recommend this for any committed Bible-believing Christian. It’s way better than insurance and also much cheaper for our family. A win all the way around.