Obamacare: for Christians, the issue is the uninsured

by blue in green

It’s risky to claim that any government policy is worthy of support on Christian grounds. Yet that’s exactly how I feel about the Affordable Care Act. A society that does not see fit to provide essential medical care to all its citizens, regardless of ability to pay, is not a Christian one by any definition I can imagine. And the bottom line is this: millions of uninsured Americans will have insurance once the ACA is implemented in 2014. I am not saying the ACA is without risks and tradeoffs, but I embrace it as a Christian because there is simply no other realistic way that the needs of the uninsured will be met in this country.

But wait! you say. There are so many convincing, scary-sounding arguments against the ACA, many voiced by Christians. Without trying to rebut them all here, suffice it to say that opponents all fixate on the supposed harm the ACA will do to those who already have insurance: My “freedoms” are being violated! My premiums will go up! The government will decide if grandma lives or dies! Even if there were a shred of truth to these protests, the perspective is always that of the haves, not the have-nots. A Christian, though, cannot sidestep the core moral issue: what about those who don’t have medical insurance, often by no fault of their own?

It may be acceptable for non-Christians to say that the 50 million Americans without medical insurance are not their problem, or that the collective sacrifices needed to insure them are not worth the cost. But I don’t understand how a Christian can say this, not when Jesus made clear that the least fortunate were closest to God’s heart, and that the measure of a man is how he treats them.