Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Obamacare and Christians

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!


Marshall R said...

If Obama Care was actually free healthcare to all who need it, I would not have a moral objection to it. I oppose it because it pays for abortion, which I believe is a form of murder, NOT "healthcare". If you had lived in Hitler's Germany where your government was paying for the murder of millions of people, would you have objected if they called it "healthcare"?

Dan Bowen said...

Thank you Marshall.

I hadn't seen that particular connection.

Paul said...

Dear Dan,

I so appreciate your sensitive spirit and your encouraging writing over the years. The problem with Obamacare is that it is not a system of "free" healthcare for the needy - or national health care. It is a government-forced requirement that everyone buy insurance.

The law itself comprises an over one-foot thick stack of paper that none of the members of Congress bothered to read before passing. The additional regulations added have made private medical care a nightmare with burdensome red-tape and bureaucracy - not to mention that healthcare costs and prescription drugs have skyrocketed as a result.

The people who are being impacted the most negatively are the poor, young people, and lower income workers who have lost their previous insurance coverage. I could write more, but I hope you get the jist of what I am saying. It is quite late. Good night.