Christians and Healthcare

There’s a lot of talk about healthcare these days.  After the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Healthcare act, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is promising to repeal this act if elected to be the next President.

Americans either like or dislike the healthcare reform act.  Some do not believe this new act will solve the problems with healthcare while others believe this is a great first step towards providing adequate and affordable healthcare.

Deciding whether the healthcare act is a great first step or only creates further problems can be difficult.  Each side says what is necessary to bolster its view, while often misconstruing the other side of the argument in such a way that its own argument appears even better than it actually is.  So all the talk for and against President Obama’s healthcare reform act can become very nauseating fast.

So I would like to make a few suggestions about the way Christians engage in the ongoing conversation, should we choose to do so.

  1. Be honest and gentle.  Part of the problem with such discussions as these is the amount of dishonesty and vitriolic rhetoric involved.  There are plenty of alf-truths and caustic statements passed along which amount to nothing more than an ugly lies which do not help at all.  This should (and must) stop with every Christian.  We should set the example in assuming the best about both President Obama and Mitt Romney and their supporters.  Before we pass along slogans, arguments, and idioms (especially on Facebook), we should make sure they are honest and constructive rather than more of the same unnecessary noise.
  2. It’s not about “me”.  In the conversations I hear and read, I hear a lot of “me” language.  Just yesterday while standing in line at McDonald’s, I overheard one man telling another man, “I don’t want the government telling me…”  But for Christians, we have been baptized.  That means we have died to ourselves.  Our language now is gospel language, which is not “me” language.  Our concern should be for others rather than ourselves.  That also means that we must remember that what God wants is justice and mercy for all, not just comfort for “me”.
  3. Realism.  Regardless of who wins the next presidential election, whether the healthcare act stands, and if so, whether that turns out to be a good or bad thing.  We must remain realistic about our world.  No human initiative (and that is what all healthcare is) will be perfect.  There will always be someone who still suffers in a broken world.  If the healthcare act provides adequate and affordable healthcare to more people…great.  If Mitt Romney repeals the healthcare act and replaces it with different provisions that provides adequate and affordable healthcare to more people…great.  But until Jesus returns…  So as Christians, let us not speak and act as though either President Obama or Mitt Romney are a modern day messiah with a kingdom vision.
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5 responses to “Christians and Healthcare

  1. If Christians had been obedient in their call to serve the dispossessed, and opened health care clinics instead of basketball courts; and funded doctors instead of gospel cruises, the ‘necessity’ of the Obamacare might never have existed….But……Christian charity as in the giving of healthcare is not merely care of the body, but is sacrament; for it imparts the Blessing of Grace of God in the care given by the Christian, and charity, not entitlement, leads us to repentance.

  2. Thanks for keeping us looking in the right direction as we come so close to many heated, vicious discussions about an opinionated topic. The “me” language is a real challenge, not just when talking about healthcare, but about anything else- I need to eradicate “me” and “my” out of the life I’m living.

  3. @benmarston: Actually, current law prohibits churches from doing somethings to help in the area of health care. For example, churches are prohibited from forming a “group” (except for full-time employees) for the purpose of securing lower health care insurance premiums. If they could, perhaps, many uninsured might get insurance from such a group.

    By compelling hospitals to care for indigent patients, those costs are amortized into the fees paid by everyone else. If this was not the case, perhaps others would be motivated to contribute to health care for the poor. Have you noticed how very few hospitals raise money to care for the poor?

    So, in reality, government rules & regulations have contributed significantly to the scale of the health care problem. Had the government not interfered, none of really know what the current state of health care would be.

    The government even makes it difficult for a doctor to donate services to the poor. Not impossible, but very difficult.

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