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Jesus Is Their Health Care: Why Conservative Christians Oppose Real Reform

Christian conservatives support health care co-operatives -- but only for other Christians. Sounds like something Jesus would approve of.

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In a session on "Obamacare" at this year's summit, the  Galen Institute's Grace-Marie Turner advocated covering the uninsured by "allowing them to get healthcare through …church groups". A public option can be dismissed as it would mean using (good) taxpayer money to provide care for (bad) deviants avoiding responsibility for their moral and sexual choices.

If this seems far-fetched, think again. The "health sharing ministries" of  Medi-Share "brings Christians together to share medical bills with one another. … Your healthcare dollars go towards supporting healthy and biblical lifestyles". Each adult member must:

Have a verifiable Christian testimony indicating a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, attend a fellowship of believers, regularly and actively support that ministry and live under the discipline of that body; share the conviction that believers are to bear one another's burdens according to Galatians 6:2; believe the biblical doctrine that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and therefore are to be kept pure; must not engage in sex outside of traditional Christian marriage; cannot use tobacco or illegal drugs in any form, or abuse legal drugs or alcohol; be a US citizen (those serving abroad as missionaries may qualify).

Or maybe "as a reward to living a Godly and moral lifestyle" you prefer to purchase  ChristiaNet Health Insurance – a "bill-sharing co-operative" that "caters to people opposed to paying for the high-risk, sinful lifestyles of the average American citizen".

You may want to note that "tobacco use, excessive drinking, homosexuality and extramarital sex are strictly forbidden" and "anyone caught violating these specific exclusions can be dropped" and that "services do not pay for abortion or treatment of sexually transmitted diseases that were not contracted by being innocently overwhelmed and overpowered". Their company motto: "The fear of the Lord brings health to your body."

So, like most things in politics, explanations are most often economic: follow the money. Health follows directly from good morality, and unhealthy, immoral people will cost money. Those at the values voters summit endorsing healthcare co-operatives can endorse a collective of those like-minded and similarly situated.

But without a public option, just like the parish councils of yore, those undeserving can be interned to God's waiting room of residual care where they can await judgement. This is not an outcome in the spirit of the co-operative movement, nor probably one endorsed by any holier spirit.