Whom Would Jesus Cover? A Biblical, Ethical Lens for the Contemporary American Health Care Debate
Jeffrey R. Baker
Pepperdine University School of Law; Faulkner University Jones School of Law
May 11, 2009
Journal of Law & Health, Vol. 23, Fall 2009
The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other developed nation by orders of magnitude, yet nearly 47 million people, including nearly 9 million children, do not have health insurance. The vast majority of uninsured Americans are working poor people who earn too much to be eligible for public coverage but who make too little to afford private insurance or exorbitant private care. Two questions spring from this "gap" to implicate Biblical ethical precepts. First, is access to health care for our uninsured neighbors a moral issue that should spur redress by conscientious communities? Second, if so, what should be the righteous response in national health care policy? As demonstrated here, access to health care in America is a matter of wealth. Biblically, this situation presents at least two broad moral imperatives: the call to care for the poor and sick and the aspiration toward justice regardless of social and economic status. This paper attempts a view of the contemporary health care debate in America though the prism of Biblical scripture and concludes that the current state of the American health care system presents a moral crisis of justice and charity. Observing the community of Christians described in the New Testament, I suggest that people of faith in the American republic rightly should consider the use of progressive governmental policy to address an unjust health care system.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 11, 2009
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