What if the Church Took the Lead in Health Care Reform?

I should be doing my homework. I should be thinking about Hebrew, ethics, and pastoral counseling, but I can’t right now. My mind is too busy thinking of other things.

This evening, perhaps like many of you, I watched with anticipation what President Obama would discuss during his address to Congress on health care reform. I wanted to be convinced that Obama’s plan would provide the necessary aid and assistance for the millions of Americans without health insurance. Many people who have read this blog in its former form would have come to this site tonight expecting a critique of the President’s address. That will not happen tonight.

I want to offer a question, especially to my friends in vocational ministry currently and those of us who are in the process of ordination in our respective denominations. What if we took the lead in health care reform? What if the church, ecumenically, joined together and put our theological differences aside to provide financial aid to those who cannot afford basic medical care simply out of Holy Love and care for our fellow brothers and sisters? What if we took it upon ourselves to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to receive quality health care?

I’m convinced that there is a need for health care reform. Too many Americans are without care and too many people have to make the difficult decisions of whether or not to pay for insurance or put food on the table. A family should not have to face that question. I do not believe a government option would solve this problem. In all likelihood it would make care difficult to come by and would ultimately lead to longer wait times to receive treatment.

This is where the church comes in. If the church universal would work together within the framework of the current system to provide financial assistance to those in need? I don’t have all the answers of what this looks like. I offer it simply as a something to consider, as it is something that I am thinking through. I do believe that it would be a sacrifice, but it would be worth it to make sure that no child goes without medicine, no mother is without care, and no senior citizen had to worry about medicine costs.

But would it really be that big of a sacrifice? As Christians, we are already a generous set of individuals, families, churches, and organizations. I’m certain that Christians would work together on this as we have in providing care for families in Africa, homes for the homeless, and clothes for the naked.

So why are Christians not willing to take the lead on health care reform? Why are we willing to let government do that which we could do on a local level?

As I said, I don’t have all the answers, but this is something that will continue in my mind as the health care debate continues forward in the next few weeks and months.

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