Is Healthcare For All a Christian Principle?

healthcareBy now, you have heard that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that essentially repeals the Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare.” Among the impacts this law has are the rolling back of protections for people (such as myself) with pre-existing conditions. There is some speculation in the media that the Senate will not pass the bill (at least not as easily) but who really knows what will happen when the bribes campaign contributions from insurance companies start rolling in. I suppose we can only wait and see.

I can attest to the difficulty people with pre-existing conditions may encounter if “TrumpCare” becomes law. When I was a child I had ketotic hypoglycemia. Based on my memories, it seems that there was a constant battle with insurance companies over coverage of my care related to this disease. I no longer battle this disease but I do have some issues. Granted, some can be dealt with through weight loss but there is at least one condition that I will likely have for the rest of my life regardless of my weight.  To think that an insurance company may potentially be able to deny coverage to me simply because of a disorder that I can not control is quite concerning.

Unfortunately, this may potentially apply to millions of American citizens, all because some politicians chose what was best for their interests rather than what is in the best interest of the citizens they serve.

There is debate among some about whether or not the provision of healthcare for all people is in line with Christian teaching. I must be honest: I’m vexed that this is even a question. I believe that there is no question that the expectation of healthcare for all people is indeed a tenet of living out our discipleship. Throughout scripture, there are multiple examples of the people being healed and instruction for God’s people to take care of one another. Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (and I’m pretty sure we all want to be able to receive care when we need it), he taught of the Good Samaritan caring for an injured man whom he did not even know, he teaches about healing mercy in Matthew 25. There is simply no way that anyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus Christ can claim that anyone should be denied access to affordable, quality healthcare.

The prophet Ezekiel denounced the leaders of ancient Israel whose failure of responsible government included failure to provide health care: “you don’t strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, bring back the strays, or seek out the lost; but instead you use force to rule them with injustice” (Ezekiel 34:4). The United Methodist Church, therefore, affirms in our Social Principles (¶ 162V) healthcare as a basic human right and affirms the duty of government to assure health care for all.” (Taken from the UMC website). In the earliest days of the Methodist movement, John Wesley felt that part of our Christian duty was to provide care. He set up countless free clinics in England and when Methodism came to America, clinics continued to be established. To this day, there are numerous hospitals and other systems connected to Methodism.

I have no problem with doctors, hospitals, and other entities being paid for their work, just as we would expect to be paid for other work we undertake. But I also believe that healthcare should be affordable for all people and that all people should have equal access to quality care regardless of circumstances such as pre-existing conditions. To go against this is simply not right.

If we are to dare to call ourselves a Christian nation, one of the things we must provide for affordable healthcare for all people.

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