Jesus and Healthcare Reform

Jesus and Healthcare Reform April 1, 2012

By John Blake at

OK, I want to say just two things: to implicate Jesus in this debate requires patient study of ancient culture, the texts of the Gospels, and it also means we have to understand how the economy works. It’s not a simple “Jesus gave to the poor so vote for health care.” But.. but… but…

Jesus clearly showed a preferential option for the poor in his social vision; those who were marginalized he included. And Jesus clearly pushed hard against the rich who oppressed and who were not generous with the poor. Hence, the rich man and Lazarus parable in Luke 16. So to those who say “care belongs in the private sector” or those who say “care belongs with the federal government,” the bigger question is this: What are you doing about it with the poor at your gate? Something must be done.

Would Jesus support health care reform?

(CNN) – He was a healer, a provider of universal health care, a man of compassion who treated those with preexisting medical conditions.

We don’t know what Jesus thought about the individual mandate or buying broccoli. But we do know how the New Testament describes him. The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus physically healing the most vulnerable and despised people in his society.

References to Jesus, of course, didn’t make into the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Yet there is a moral dimension to this epic legal debate:

How should the nation help its “least of these,” an estimated 50 million Americans who can’t afford health insurance, as well as those who could go broke or die because they can’t afford medical care?

Christians are as divided about this question as others. Many cite Jesus, but come up with completely different conclusions.


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