President Barack Obama has chosen to make reforming the health care system one of the main tasks of his first year in office. Now the nation is caught up in an often contentious debate about how to do it. Forty-six million people in the US lack any form of health insurance. Most of these persons are caught in a gap – they work full-time but don’t get coverage on the job and they likely earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The cost of health care continues to rise at unsustainable levels threatening all of us.
As a Christian, I desire health and wholeness for all of God’s people. I desire the level of care which my family and I receive for all of our citizens. As a cancer survivor, I am acutely aware that I benefited from the highest level of modern health care available in the world today. If I had been an uninsured American I would likely not have lived. If I had been a citizen of some developing nation, I would likely not have even been diagnosed.
As the national conversation continues, I hope some progress can be made. The “devil,” of course, is always in the details. We have to balance the costs and quality of care. Issues such as malpractice insurance and tort reform, accessibility, encouraging healthier lifestyles, preventive care, support for basic research, and first-class medical education are all extremely important.
Let us all be in prayer for our leaders as they negotiate these turbulent waters. But let us not make the mistake of operating only out of our own self interest. This is a time to work for the greater good and to allow our Christian values of compassion to operate in their fullness.
Bishop Lindsey Davis