GOVERNMENT: DISCOURAGING COMPASSION AND CHARITY

Posted on June 19, 2014 in Public Policy by

doctor and patientOriginal article posted here.

When Dr. Ben Burris saw a need in his community to help those who cannot afford dental care, he decided to offer greatly reduced cleanings and another doctor, Dr. Elizabeth Gohl, offered free extractions for the less fortunate.  Having two highly trained professionals offering their services is what we need to encourage, but some do not like it.  Who would be opposed to these great acts of compassion?  The answer, the government!

Burris and Gohl are not the only ones being targeted.  Dentists and doctors in West Virginia, Idaho, Nevada, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oklahoma, are running afoul of regulations established by federal and state governments that are limiting these physicians’ charity work.

That is right, charity is a target of regulations.  These doctors have the possibility of losing their license if they continue to operate in their profession by offering free services.

The only people who are hurt by these charity services are other businesses who are losing money–money from people who can’t afford it.  Other than that, the Doctor is giving his/her personal time, money, staff, and supplies for no other reason than wanting to help others.

Only a government bureaucrat could see this as good.  In fact, let me be blunt, this is patently evil.  There are no safety concerns.  There are no health issues they are violating.  Nothing is patently different from the service paying customers would receive except that it is free or greatly reduced.

In fact, we should give these physicians a medal.  We should say, “physicians like these are what can cure our health care problem, not this monstrosity called Obamacare.”  We should ask these doctors to help other doctors replicate this charitable spirit… not threatening them with losing their license.  They should be on television and the radio, but instead they are being threatened.

This is not new.  About 10 years ago I talked to some physicians who volunteered their time in the 3rd world helping the less fortunate.  I wanted to see if we could replicate this in the United States.  One physician told me that due to the regulations and liability he faces in the states, it was easier and less problematic to work overseas.  For him, he spent thousands upon thousands of his own dollars, volunteered his time in horrible 3rd world conditions in an unstable and violent country where Americans are often targeted to take hostage, and worked long hours to help people who couldn’t pay a dime, but he felt it was too risky to do the same thing in the United States.

In reality, we have a culture and regulations that discourage charity work.  Regulations are sometimes good, but when they are used to squelch charity in order to maximize profits of business they are evil, wrong, and should be changed.

A culture that discourages charity work is a culture that will ultimately collapse on their own weight.

Derick DickensDerick Dickens has an MBA in Leadership, MDiv, and MA in Religion.  He speaks regularly on topics ranging from Christian Worldview issues to business leadership, and he is an Adjunct Professor of Business and Human Resources.  Derick is also an award winning public speaker, speech evaluator, and leader.  Married for 16 years to his wife Lacie, they have three children and live in Lynchburg Virginia.  You can follow Derick on Twitter at twitter.com/derickdickens.

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