The Common Good

Personal and Pragmatic Reasons for Health Reform

Jesus is a healer -- of body, spirit, and heart. He also called Christians to be peacemakers and healers. As the center and source of our Christian life, Jesus has to be the beginning and end (alpha and omega) of how Christians view health care. I have come nose to nose, fingers to fingers with this truth because of my son's condition. I come to the debate not as a Democrat or Republican but as a scared father, a father praying every day, and a father finding hope within the words of God. We need heath-care reform. I know I could be disregarded as simply an emotional father, and there maybe truth to my being emotional. But others, like businesspeople, are coming to see the need for health care.

The capitalists' and business leaders' reasons for seeing the need for health-care reform are logical and rational. If we continue down the same road, we will lose ground to other countries. American businesses will be beaten by more efficient competitors. Adam Smith's invisible hand will become a fist pounding down the American dream. If we do nothing, we betray both our ancestors and descendants as we did not meet the challenges of our generation. Do not mistake me; this is not simply blind support for President Obama's plan, as there have been some other ideas out there, such as the Baucus bill. It is an endorsement for the goal of health-care reform -- affordable health care for all Americans.

The story that keeps coming up for me in my prayers is the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus took what seemed to be meager provisions and fed all who needed it. The assumption has been that health care is a small pie, which has to managed lest it be misused. Our current system is a system of rationing based on money. My faith tells me differently. My faith tells me that God has given us more than enough and only wants to share it with us. If Jesus fed 5,000 with only a bit of fish and bread, surely the richest country in the world can take care of its own.

portrait-ernesto-tinajero1Ernesto Tinajero is a freelance writer in Spokane, Washington, who earned his master's degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. Visit his blog at beingandfaith.blogspot.com.

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