Obamacare: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Image courtesy of taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I hate it when my friends make me think. It’s so much easier to hold to my ideas without ever having to think through them and see them from other perspectives. If you’re alive in America today you’ve probably been inundated with stories, articles, and opinions regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I know I have been. But then a friend (who will remain anonymous – he LOVES it when I cite him anonymously) and I were involved in a group discussion in which someone said:

“Government control comes with a price that some do not want.”

To which my friend replied:

“What is this price you aren’t willing to pay? If we’re honest, this price most aren’t willing to pay is a smaller bank account. Most aren’t willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of people we don’t know.”

That’s what a lot of this comes down to, isn’t it? I’ve worked hard for what I’ve got and it’s already a struggle as it is. Now I’ve got to sacrifice more for people I don’t even know? I’ve got a mortgage. I’ve got kids in school. That’s how my mind went, anyway. I don’t want a smaller bank account. I’m trying to put into it, not withdraw from it!

But when do we actually start allowing out faith to influence our behavior? As Christians we claim that God loves people. We claim that we love God. We often forget to make the connection that loving God then means that we love people too, and that means caring for people who don’t have the ability to care for themselves.

James has a powerful passage in his letter in which he says:

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warm and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:14-16)

I’m sure men smarter than I am can argue about the exact significance of the Greek parsing and explain that this passage doesn’t really relate to the Affordable Care Act. As for me, I see a biblical principle at play: faith must be balanced out by caring for the practical needs of those we encounter. It does no good to wish people well if we’re not actually going to do anything about it.

Without actions to back it up faith is incomplete. We can recite the important elements of faith – love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength – but then miss the heart of God’s work; caring for people. Have you been in a place where you need help and someone has reached out to give you a hand? The way we want people to act towards us is the same way we ought to act towards them. Shouldn’t this come out in our social and political policies as well as our personal lives?

I believe that the Affordable Care Act is flawed legislation. The idea of forcing people to participate rubs me the wrong way – you cannot legislate hearts and attitudes. Still, I believe that the principle behind it is ultimately a biblical principle. Shouldn’t Christians be leading the charge to make sure that we are caring for people who need help? So what’s really behind our opposition to the ACA? Is it something about the legislation itself that we think could be done better?

Or is it bristling at being mandated to participate and the idea that our money will go to be helping someone else?

Related Posts:
Socialism and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

7 Replies to “Obamacare: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”

  1. I agree on the biblical basis since every book of the Bible either has a command for us to take care of the underprivileged or talks about God’s extreme concern for those in need. Jesus’ very first sermon had to do with freeing the oppressed and taking care of the poor. Strict conservatives generally spiritualize the word “poor” to mean “poor in spirit” to relieve themselves of the burden they know Christ puts onto them. Ironically, Jesus’ strongest and longest discussion of hell (i.e., Matthew 25) and who goes there was those who refuse to help the poor.

    I think Kristi may be a little too extreme, but I know where she was going with her comments. The Catholic Church is in an uproar over the HHS Mandate in the Affordable Healthcare Act because it forces all businesses to issue birth control and abortion-producing pills to female employees. In this case, Catholic hospitals and charities would be forced to violate their Church’s jurisprudence. Anyway, Roman Catholics are being persecuted by this law, and this problem could be visited upon Protestants soon enough over another issue.

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  2. I have nothing against helping people, what I am cautious of is government health care eventually means the government gets to decide who and how a person receives care. the premiums are going to be so high that most of us will end up on government care…whether we want to or not because if we don’t we get fined. That is not right, and if it is a mandate to Americans then it should be for all Americans. Also if these questions are not asked now and debated on then later will it be too late? When the government tells us how long we should live, who can have children and what we are allowed to eat. Not to mention where we are allowed to worship and pray…freedom does come with a price and sacrifice we the church should be helping the sick not a government mandate.–just my opinion

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    1. Thanks for reading and sharing. I do think that we should be careful with the freedoms we turn over to the government, but I think the questions of longevity and babies a bit extreme – a little toi Logan’s Run 🙂

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  3. This was a useful exegesis. I support the law too, though I agree it is flawed, simply because it’s better than what we had before, it helps some people (not all), and doing something less than ideal is still better than doing nothing. It’s like having to choose the lesser of two evils. It’s okay because you still get… less evil.

    As a believer, I have to support efforts of healing over efforts to make war. Every dollar that’s spent on health care is one made unavailable for the creation and selling of weapons systems. It doesn’t make any difference to me if health care costs me more so others who previously couldn’t can now get insured. I can’t think of any more important use for the money. It should be the top priority in all our budgets. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

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