Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Christian Healthcare

Joe Carter is discussing taking "social justice" issues back for the Church starting with Healthcare:
These "church plans," as they are known in the insurance industry, attempt to fulfill the Biblical admonition to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) by bringing Christians together to share the cost of their medical bills.

Although the plans differ in details, their basic premise is similar to health insurance programs. Members send a monthly check -- a "share" rather than a “premium”-- ranging from $100 to $400, either to the plan or directly to those the plan designates with "needs." The members also agree to send cards and letters or to pray for those members who are sick or injured.
This seems like an bad idea to me. If run properly this sort of plan will work like health insurer (give or take). "Shares" might be higher or lower than normal insurance and coverage would vary as well. If run improperly, this could defraud the plan members and be a poor witness for the Church at the same time. Since there is no regulation of these things, it's a coin toss which plan will do which. If you're lucky you will roughly break even. If you are unlucky you lose out. There is no win here. Which means on average you still wind up behind. From a purely financial perspective, it is a bad idea. This is medical coverage in the same way that the lottery is an investment plan.

But more importantly, should the Church even be doing this? No, this is just taking the Church where it really doesn't belong. In the end this is just a business, albeit a non-profit one. Does the Church need to be involved? No. Is this the image of the way christians are supposed to help one another? Not really. This isn't charity or communal sharing. This is a purely contractual business relationship. It does not meet the definition of true Christian sharing found in Acts.

Is health insurance inherently unchristian? No. So why are we inventing an inferior wheel? I'll have to go with the wisdom of the Apostles on this one, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables." When you look at the churches who have been heavily influenced by concerns of "social justice" it has taken over their church to the detriment of ministering the Word. It is just arrogant to think that we wouldn't follow the same path.

This isn't even touching on the fact that "social justice" is not social but political. It generally isn't just either.

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