Equal Access to Health Care: A Lutheran Lay Person's Expanded Footnote
Christian Bioethics. 1996; 2(3): 326-345.
Can proposing a policy of equal access to health care be justified on Christian grounds? The notion of a "Christian justification" with regard to Christians' political activity is explored in relation to the New Testament texts. The less demanding policy of granting "rights to (basic) health care," the meaning of Jesus' healing activities, early Christian welfare schemes, and Christian grounds for the ascription of "rights" are each discussed. As a result, with some stretching of the neighbor-love and missionary imperatives it is proposed that a basic health care policy can be legitimized. With regard to equal access to health care, however, all attempts to derive an equalizing imperative from the spiritual "equality among humans" or by way of the "love your neighbor as yourself" imperative are shown to fail. Particular attention is given to whether "attending to the least of my brothers' needs" obliges Christians to satisfy those needs optimally, as well as to the personal involvement aspect of the love-commandment in its simultaneously spiritual and temporal orientations.
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