Luke 7:20-23 (NIV)
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
For more than thirty years, healthcare and healthcare costs have been a major cultural and political issue in the United States of America. Indeed, every presidential administration since Bill Clinton has implemented some sort of major healthcare legislation. Further, the question of healthcare being a governmental responsibility has remained a critical concern for healthcare reform. What I have found most interesting in the healthcare debate is how many Christians have publicly rejected universal healthcare, healthcare for the poor, and/or governmental healthcare.
Indeed, Christian leaders have often been at the forefront of discourse condemning the sick for needing costly care and wasting resources by not properly taking care of themselves. With the support of clergy, various politicians and political groups have also argued that providing care to poor and programs like universal healthcare or medicare for all are wasteful Socialist programs that are not in line with Biblical principals.
Yet, in Luke 7, Jesus clearly defends the legitimacy of his ministry to John the Baptist by highlighting his free healthcare to the poor: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dear are raised.” These are all healthcare issues. Jesus never bothers to discuss the costs or deservedness of people being healed. Furthermore, when Jesus sent out the twelve disciples in Matthew 10, freely healing people is the second command he gives them. If healthcare is central to the foundation of the ministry of Jesus, then how could anyone who call themselves Christian seek to deny healthcare to others?
It truly saddens me that some of the same Christians who want the government to be intimately involved in women’s reproductive health do not want the government to provide healthcare to the poor. This logic simply does not line up with Luke 7 and Matthew 10. The Gospels clearly show a Jesus who believes in providing free healthcare to the poor, compassion and deliverance to people who were considered cursed, and care to anyone who is sick and/or mentally impaired. How can Christians living in a supposedly Christian country support laws and policies that do not correlate to the policies of Jesus, the one they claim to follow?
Healthcare does cost money. However, it does not cost nearly as much as we are led to believe. Furthermore, universal healthcare is working in every country that has it. The United States of America is blessed with untold resources, riches, and infrastructure. Instead of looking for ways to hide said resources amongst a few, let us look to Jesus and find ways to share our blessings with each other.