This blog is a slight detour from my usual ponderings on the Holy Spirit, His Person, His work and His gifts. It touches on another passion of mine - the National Health Service and the provision of free healthcare to those who need it. Article 1 of our NHS Constitution reads;
"1. The NHS provides a
comprehensive service, available
to all irrespective of gender, race,
disability, age, sexual orientation,
religion, belief, gender reassignment,
pregnancy and maternity or marital
or civil partnership status".
The key principle for NHS healthcare is Article 2;
"2. Access to NHS services is based
on clinical need, not an
individual’s ability to pay".
Article 2 is a principle which our Chief Executive of the NHS - Sir David Nicholson (a personal hero of mine) has defended vigorously. He said;
"The NHS was set up to provide high quality care for patients, free at the point of need".
So it is with that in mind (as my personal context) that I have followed with interest the introduction of "Obamacare" in the USA (a country very dear to my heart). It seems incredibly similar to our NHS and is something I applaud. The fact that individuals below the poverty line can access healthcare for themselves and their loved ones is great! Or is it? I have observed at times that for a reason I cannot understand - that Christians in the USA do not seem as delighted.
Here's why I wrote this blog today. President Obama was speaking about "Obamacare" and made some points that again, from my context, I would very much agree with. He said;
"Nobody should have to choose between putting food on their kids table or taking them to see a doctor".
It was Christian tweeter and renowned cessationist blogger Frank Turk who responded quite quickly and got my brain whirring. Turk said;
"But they better buy their health insurance before the groceries and from the government, right?".
Other bloggers responding to President Obama made various mentions to their pro-life beliefs as well - which also confused me as to it's relevance to healthcare for those who need it.
So here is my question to American friends and in particular American Christians;
What is the deal? What's the problem with free healthcare to those who need it? Can healthcare be so incompatible with Christian beliefs? After all didn't Jesus Christ heal the blind, beggars, needy - not the rich Pharisees? So is it so incompatible that Christianity should applaud a civil healthcare system that ensures that those who cannot afford expensive care, can still receive the treatment they need?
I'm just interested - teach me!