Is Health Care A Right?
Is Health Care a Right or a Privelege?
One might think that talking about health is a strange topic for a website that focus’ on the Bible and the Church. After all the Bible does not talk about Obama Care, Democrat Care, Republican Care or any other they type of health care plan. However, the Bible does give good sound advice regarding the physical health and care of man as well as some advice on how a health care plan should operate.
Lets begin by looking at what the Bible defines as health. To do this we must go back to the original creation. As God created man, he created man to be male and female and upon completion of man God reviewed His work and said it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). God therefore created Adam and Eve completely healthy, without need of medical or health care. It was only the fall of man that robbed them and all their descendents of the perfect health they had enjoyed for that brief period of time.
Health to Adam and Eve would be the absence of:
1) Illness and disease
2) Genetic and physical deformities and defects
3) Effects of aging – getting physically older and the complications that follow
6) Loss of the use or presence of organs of the body
7) Pain and suffering accompanying child bearing
All of these things that we think are the normal part of living are in actuality the abnormality that man accepted when He choose to disobey God. Whether we like it or not we have never known what it means to be truly healthy and we will never know it until the resurrection at the Coming of Christ.
With this definition in hand, let us see what the Bible says about health in this present cursed world.
1) Good health for everyone is not attainable. Even if man could develop a health care system that could treat all the people of the world, not a one of them will ever have full health. May be we feel healthy because we are in our early adult years and feel great, but as we age we will encounter illness, injury, aging, and ultimately death. For some, they will live a life that is relatively free of most health issues and others will live all their lives with unhealthy conditions. The facts are, biblically, that we forfeited our right to health by sinning against God and most of us aggravate this unhealthy condition by making wrong life choices such as drinking, smoking, over eating, not exercising, and the list could go on.
2) Good Health is a privilege not a right. First of all, for health to be a right, it must be something obtainable by all and we have already shown that that is impossible. Secondly, God makes it clear that it is His will that some Saints suffer poor health. Job is a good example as we see God allowing Satan to inflict terrible sores all over his body as a part of God chastening hand upon Job. Likewise, in the New Testament, Jesus corrected the false idea that sick people are sick because they or their parents sinned.
John 9:1-4, “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”
Another incident that comes to mind is Trophimus who was a co-worker of Paul, who Paul could not heal because it was not according to God’s purpose (2 Tim. 4:20).
Therefore if we find ourselves unusually healthy we praise God and if we find ourselves unusually ill, we praise God because it may be that through that illness He will accomplish His will or be glorified.
3) Good Health Care should not be made available for everyone in our nation. You may ask where in the Bible does it say that health care should not be extended to everyone? First of all the Bible indicates that Health Care will never be available to all men. Lets face the facts, we here in America are so concerned about getting health care to cover ourselves, but are we equally concerned that people in other countries receive the same thing? If this debate was going on in South Africa I am sure we would not give it much attention. Whether it is pleasant to accept it or not, there will always be people who are out the reach of health care and must accept that reality as a part of life. Jesus Himself said, “For the poor you have with you always” (John 12:8) and OT law stated, “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land” (Deut 15:11). We must remember that this life is not the only life we have but rather it is a moment in time in comparison to the eternity God has in store for us!
Secondly, not everyone deserves health care. Paul alludes to this in his second epistle to Thessalonica.
2 Thes. 3:10-12, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.”
There are many in our nation who are here on a free ride. They are the abusers of the welfare system. People who could work but choose not too and have all kinds of excuses as too why they can’t. Most of these people have access to health care from the Government that is denied many hard working, tax paying Americans. Those who are able to work and do not, should not be given the privileges that this nation offers and that includes health care, food stamps, and the list goes on. If we took these privileges away from the abusers, it would not only help with the deficit, but it would give a huge incentive to the abuser to go to work.
Likewise, health care should be no longer offered to those who desire non-essential surgery and health care procedures. Take for example those who have cosmetic surgery to make themselves look younger or thinner. If they want these procedures let them pay for it out of their own pockets and put the money saved by insurance companies toward necessary procedures they presently deny.
Some might add that those who put themselves at greater risk for health problems should pay their way. For example, those who smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, pursue dangerous and unnecessary activities should not be given coverage if they develop medical conditions related to this misuse of the body. Paul writes in Galatians:
Gal 6:7-8. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
However, keep in mind that many who hold to this position are also guilty of over eating or eating too much of the wrong foods and thus are well over weight! With this said, may be people who develop complications from such life styles and refuse to change should be made to pay for their care out of their own pocket.
4) Good Health Care should not be an opportunity for personal gain. Health care in all its forms should have at it sole purpose to assist and serve others. I believe too often the present health system seeks to take advantage of the less fortunate rather then to help. The Bible tells us over and over that we should seek to help and love one another. Insurance companies deny coverage, change and drop coverage often without notice so that their bottom line might be better. Likewise, some in the medical profession like to charge more than what they are worth, inflate their prices to the insurance companies, and call for unneeded tests and treatments in order to get wealthier. The companies that supply the needed supplies know that they can charge more than what is legitimate profit because they can get a way with it. And last, but not least, there are the many lawsuits that are filled against doctors and pharmaceutical companies that have only one purpose, to line the patient and lawyer’s pocket. Too much greed has placed much of the medical system out of the reach of many patients.
Is reform needed in the present health care system. I would say yes. I personally have suffered greatly at the hands of a merciless insurance company that chose to change my care and deny coverage previously promised. But only if the changes are done with a biblical perspective will true reform come. That type of reform comes when the hearts of men are changed from seeking to serve themselves to serving others. Whether the health care reform takes place or not, is not really that important in the scheme of all things. Let us not forget that this present time is only a preparation for the eternity that comes hereafter. If God has called us to suffer, even wrongfully, keep in mind the words of Rom. 8:18, which indicates that whatever we go through here will be quickly forgotten in light of what awaits us when we see Christ.