Why I support Universal Health Care

The health plan that Obama is trying to get approved isn't perfect. I'll gladly admit that it is a flawed plan. But I am in favor of reform. What Obama wants is better than what we have.

I didn't always believe that Universal Health Care was the best option. The notion of cradle-to-the-grave was ingrained when I was growing up. And all I was taught was the downsides (real or exaggerated) of a State run program - long lines, sub-standard care, underpaid/overworked doctors, socialized medicine equals communism, etc.

What changed? I'm not among the ranks of uninsured Americans - I've got a great health plan through my employer. Yet, I now believe America needs a single payer health coverage for all Americans. Why?

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine asked for some biblical basis for my reasoning. Most Christians she knows are against Universal Care*. She doesn't fully understand their reasoning and wanted to see a different perspective. Here was (and is) my answer.

Sick people need doctors (Mark 2:17). Granted, HMOs and insurance companies didn't exist in biblical times, but there's no discrimination in Jesus's teachings about who qualifies for health care. The religious leaders of His time may have found certain people more worthy of healing than others, but Jesus made it clear - there's one group of people that need doctors: the sick. Age, race, economic and social status does not matter - and you can see that throughout Jesus' healing ministry - from lepers and lunatics to friends and family of his friends to the servant of a prominent military person and the daughter of a political leader. I don't think Jesus would approve of our current method of approving/denying care to people solely on their ability to pay, their medical history, or any of the number of reasons that modern American insurance companies use to deny claims.

We should not deny Justice to the poor (Exodus 23:6). One cannot read the Bible and miss the fact that God loves and demands justice. God is righteous and love justice (Psalm 11:7). Don't be evil and do good because God delights in justice (Psalm 37:27-28). God loves justice and hates all that is wrong (Isaiah 61:8). Do what is right, just, and fair (Proverbs 1:3). God requires you to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). Our current medical practices are far from just, fair, and merciful - and in some cases it does more harm than good. When people forgo necessary medication because they can't afford it (or the copay is too high), when emergency rooms send away sick children with the "bring them back if they start vomiting" instruction because the kid has out of state insurance, and when the injured receive the bare minimum care because they are uninsured, the concept of justice is lost in American medicine.

Furthermore, God has a special place in his heart for the fatherless and the widow (Deuteronomy 10:18 & James 1:27). We must take care of these, and unfortunately the kids missing a parent or the man/woman who has lost a spouse are forgotten/ignored in our society. It is a godless society that does not provide the most basic care to it's orphans and widows.

And just for good measure, this concept of caring for other people's needs is not a new idea (Acts 2:42-47). We as Christians should not be opposing any legislation that encourages meeting everybody's needs. We should be modeling this behavior.

And in non-biblical support for why I believe what I do... read up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He's divided human needs into 5 categories - the two most important being physiological and safety. If those needs are not met, a person can not fulfill their other needs: social, esteem, and self. I believe that the government should provide (or at least make available) the first two. This includes things like food, housing, and health. Your social needs (love, affection, and belonging) and esteem (self respect and respect of others) should not - and can not - be provided by the government. This is up to your family, church, coworkers, and friends to provide. As for the final need (being able to do what you were born to do)... you're on your own.

*My friend is not alone. Most Christians I know also oppose Universal Care. It seems to me that many Christians fear anything resembling Socialism. I don't understand this concept of fear. Christians should not have anything to fear - If God is for us, who can be against us?


  1. A great post, Nic, one of your finest.

    Do you read Sojourners? Jim Wallis has been pounding away at spiritual and faith-based reasons to support health care reform the last couple weeks.

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  3. Jenny9:48 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Anonymous8:24 PM

    I agree that we need to be modeling Jesus' behavior. However, I do not believe in the government mandating that we do it.

  5. Jody Hayes2:00 PM

    Aah, finally! Someone who can give me biblical and secular citation for what I also know to be true. Have compassion. Support universal health care.