In fact, the larger debate in the USA is not about whether there should be a safety net for the truly needy. Americans—right, left, and center—agree that there should be. It is more about whether Obamacare is good law that provides a balance of coverage and value, is economically viable for the nation as a whole, and will slow the rate of health-care inflation. Given the fact that nobody who voted for the bloated legislation (all Democrats, no Republicans in the House of Representatives) actually read it, it is not surprising that a host of problems have come to light (see, e.g., the thoughtful and informed articles by policy analyst and National Affairs editor Yuval Levin on this larger topic here and here and here).
The human tragedy resulting from this frantic effort by the progressive left to impose Obamacare on the nation is already substantial, as healthcare policies people like and need are cancelled by providers because they don’t meet the precise requirements of the new law. Many have lost full-time employment as companies cut positions because of the economic burden of Obamacare to employers, and the situation is only likely to get worse. It is also, I think, fair to ask whether the Obamacare policies that are now causing cancer patients to lose their health coverage represent the sort of “justice” that left-wing Evangelicals are demanding. Unfortunately, those in the grip of social reformist fervor are often oblivious to the unintended consequences of the policies they champion.
New Testament scholars N. T. Wright (the former Anglican bishop of Durham who needs no introduction and whom I have long read with profit) and Michael Bird (an Australian who has written some intriguing things on the Apostle Paul) have recently waded into the American debate over healthcare reform here and here. Representative is the piece by Bird, who, suggests that evangelicals elsewhere in the world look at conservative Christian opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) “with a mix of disbelief and disgust.” He also opined that a national healthcare system is simply the Christian thing to do: “we should have a social concern to provide healthcare for our fellow citizens, wherever a government is elected by people with broadly Christian concerns to provide a basic level of healthcare for all.” Then Bird threw down this gauntlet: “I want to challenge my American evangelicals [sic] friends to consider…
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