health care II

not to belabor the point, but Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog has been hosting some great discussions on health care reform.

one commenter, Scott Lyons, recently posted this response on whether health care should be a "right" for all Americans [you can read full post and comments here]:

That being said some of our arguments make no sense for us as Christians. For instance, (1) We need to look for other means or look to other institutions to provide health care reform or assistance for those who need it. Why are we discussing this only now that the government is seeking to solve the problem? The bottom line is that most Christians don't want the government telling them they need to be righteous - forcing them to be righteous. I figure, if you ain't already righteous, someone's gotta help you. And if you already is, shouldn't be a problem for you to be giving the money to those who need it (if you got it). Catholic social teaching couples subsidiarity with solidarity. And a good central government's subsidiary function is to step in and assist when other institutions or local governments are insufficient. And the American health care system is insufficient.

(2) Some people do not deserve care because of bad personal choices. This line of thinking turns away from the essence of God's mercy. Compassion is not merely for the innocent - indeed, mercy and compassion are divine when they are directed toward those who don't deserve it. This Theology of Desert is typical in conservative circles, but it's the theology of the unmerciful servant and not of Christ. Showing mercy and compassion ought not to hinge on the good decision-making history of the recipients. The man shown mercy by the King (in Christ's parable of the unmerciful servant) was in debt because of his choices. We are debtors because of our choices and are continually shown mercy, but we cannot show mercy to an overweight person who continues to overeat? Or a smoker who is slowly, consciously killing himself? This is disheartening. So what if the system is abused by some. Isn't it better to be used than to be unmerciful?

(3) People from all over the world come to America for top-notch health care. This only tells us that we have top-notch health care for those who can afford it.

As to the secondary question about raising taxes or not to pay for it. This is the crux of the argument for many of us, I suppose. Not, What is the right thing for me to do? But, What is it going to cost me? I am not suggesting that money and taxation are unimportant. But it shouldn't be a counter-argument to the provision of health care for those who need it, especially when we can "afford" unjust wars and trillion dollar bail-outs.


1 comment:

Country Parson said...

What a commendable post. Thanks for pointing some of us to Scott Lyons. However, and surrounded as i am by Christians who are also adamantly opposed to health care reform and deeply suspicious of anything this administration might have in mind, I'm afraid that his very sage and sanguine words would gain no more notice than a single grain of sand on a beach.