Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Church and Healthcare

Facebook, Twitter, radio, TV, they are all abuzz with the events of today being the official start of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.  I posted this on Facebook today; "A simple reminder today..."Health care is a basic human right." - ¶162 of the United Methodist Disciple"

As I commented to comments I reflected with a little bit of sadness.  I am realizing that we, as the Church (note BIG 'C') have really moved out of the healthcare arena.  Probably due to cost involved, liability, and the fact that once money was being made the vultures moved in. 

In my hometown of Charlotte, NC one of the two major hospital went through a name change.  What use to be called Presbyterian Hospital is now known as Novant Health.  Their logo looks like N: but that is another story.

What is sad is that originally Presbyterian Hospital was started by the Presbyterians of our area.  It was a simple 20 bed medical center.  Now is attempting to lose all relevance with its denominational past.  "Novant Health" removes all connotations that Christians, seeking to follow God's will to help the sick and the least of these in our area.

What would it be like for the church to feel the call again?  What would it be like for the people of Christ to take Matthew 25 seriously and reach out to the least and the lost, the SICK?  What would it be like for the church to offer healthcare to the poor and not leave it up to our government?

Is it because it costs too much?  We cannot afford the liability costs?  Are we simply scared? 

I feel we, as the Church in the US, have taken, in general, a back seat and are simply hoping the government will fix the problems instead of letting Jesus do it through us.


Tom Lambrecht said...

I agree with your heart on this, Jim. It seems like the church ought to be doing more with regard to health care. I am afraid, however, that it would be cost-prohibitive to do that today. 100 years ago, it was a matter of getting a building, some basic equipment, and a few doctors and nurses, and you had a practice. Now the basic equipment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. I just don't know how it could be done.
If health care is a right (as we say in the Discipline), then I think it becomes government's responsibility to ensure that all citizens have access to quality health care. Philosophically, I would rather the government didn't get involved, but I see no other way to accomplish universal health care. I would be in favor of just expanding Medicare to cover everybody (perhaps phase it in over a period of years).

Cynthia Astle said...

Jim, this is a simple yet profound and heartfelt statement regarding health care. I'm picking it up for reprint on United Methodist Insight this week.