Let me start this MyTake by saying that, although I use the teachings of Jesus in this MyTake, His teachings related to our obligation to care for others are echoed in all the religions that I am aware of. It is only my ignorance that stops me from quoting other holy people. Further, atheists will find this MyTake simply puts a theological slant on what they see as an ethical imperative.
I am posting this MyTake largely in reaction to an "Influencer" on GaG who said, "Why does government (you and me) have an obligation to provide health insurance for people who cannot afford it? I am not asking whether you think it is a good idea. I am not asking whether it would have any good consequences. I am asking whether there is a LEGAL obligation for the government (you and me) to provide health insurance." He claimed to be a Christian.
Sir, this MyTake is (largely) for you.
Expanding public health care is simply the Christian thing to do. People of every faith tradition also see caring for the sick as essential to their religion, and it is part of our civic obligation as well as a Christian obligation. Anyone who believes themselves to be a "Christian" should be demanding comprehensive health care reform.
The Gospels are overflowing with stories of Jesus caring for people in need, not just a few, but whole gatherings of people. I could point out many examples, but one that springs to mind is in Luke 4:40, where Jesus healed "too many to count." If you claim to take "What Would Jesus Do" seriously, then our obligations to the naked, hungry, beaten, suffering, and vulnerable are impossible to deny. Earlier Christians understood this duty, that's why the first hospitals in the West were founded by religious communities and why so many doctors and nurses were also priests, monks, and nuns, to the point where nurses in Britain were, up until recently, referred to as "sisters."
In Matt. 10-7, Jesus commanded his disciples to “cure the sick.” Consider the next verse: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matt. 10:8). This passage, theologically and financially refers to the fact that all people live by the grace of God, which was given freely. This free God-given grace implies that Christians are called to give (freely) this grace to others. Friends, family, neighbors, and strangers alike. Jesus did not favor the rich. Remember, He's the one who said, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24).
Under our current pay-for-care system, many people go bankrupt every year because of medical costs. Others delay seeking care, and die, or are refused care, because they don’t carry the right or adequate insurance. Jesus cared for whoever needed attention the most. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) makes clear our responsibility to care for the stranger. If you really want to pretend to be a good Christian, and want to be able to say that you follow Christ's teachings, then put your money where your scriptures are.
There are many examples of public services, like the Public Library system, Medicare, and public schools, that are either federally funded or use taxpayer money to care for and educate others and no one calls them “socialist.” We need to stop using the greed inherent in private insurers, which are focused on profit and rewarding consumption, and create a public system that offers high quality and affordable care to everyone.
Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, Japan, and England provide excellent care to everyone, and compared to them, the U. S. health care system is incredibly expensive, wasteful, and unfair. A federal program is the only way to provide for the nearly 50 million uninsured. It is a Christian duty, as Jesus stated repeatedly, to care for these people. Will you refuse to recognize the teachings of Jesus?