The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Taking a risk

Small-time, self-appointed health-care activist does something big

I became somewhat of a small-time, self-appointed health-care activist after my own bad health-care experience seven years ago.

After writing to area newspapers and elected officials, I was invited to do a 90-minute question-and-answer on health care at the local radio station. I promoted the local community health center that was visited by President George W. Bush two years later. I also contributed “thought pieces” for a statewide health reform movement. I have a strong academic background and grew increasingly confident in my opinions.

Jack Labusch became a reviving Lutheran�
Jack Labusch became a “reviving Lutheran” while working at Youngstown [Ohio] State University.

My theme? Something was seriously wrong with our thinking about health care. Insurance wasn’t the only problem. Values were the problem—we had abandoned secular and religious notions of common sense, decency and charity in the distribution of health care.

In the midst of my mounting activism, a professor at our local university raised a fuss in the campus newspaper that her demand for health benefits for her lesbian partner had been rejected in the collective bargaining talks for a new faculty contract. I work in a support department of the same university. As a part-timer I’m medically uninsured, although I am a member of a union that represents nearly all support workers and bargains for health insurance benefits for them and their dependents.

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February issue


Embracing diversity