the good samaritan

Thursday 19 July 2007

It’s a familiar Bible story, and it was the gospel lesson for many churches this past Sunday. When I realized that, after seeing a certain movie on Friday (read my mini-review), I said to myself, “If I were preaching a sermon this week, I know what the topic would be.”

The certain movie was Sicko, and the topic is a nationalized health care plan. While the movie has a few flaws, in my opinion, there could not be a much better argument made for the creation of a health care system where all people received free (supported by taxes) health care based on their needs. A system where we “pay based on our means, receive based on our needs” screams loudly of socialism, which tends to frighten people, but not me. In fact, the government supplying police and firemen (as the movie notes) is really a form of everyone paying for something that is used more or less by some people based on needs.

I think the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is quite an apt one to connect with the call for a free nation health care plan. Christians (and many others familiar with this story) condemn the two men who pass by the man beat by robbers and rally around the one who takes the man, bandages his wounds, and takes him to find health. But we sit here (in the U.S.) in a system controlled mainly by large corporations (HMOs and hospitals) that are out there to seek money instead of help people. And as we, as citizens, allow this system to continue (like all the systems of our country that discriminate) and act like the men who leave the man on the side of the road to die.

In addition to the 50 million people (1 out of every 6) in the U.S. with no health care, there are tens of millions more who are covered by some kind of health care plan that is inadequate and will not allow for all the needed coverage a person might need, or the fees and charges my be so high that a person might need to choose what medicines, tests, and services one can afford to go through.

Sicko contains many great sound bites (including a few by one of my new heroes, I think, Tony Benn, a former member of British parliament), not the least of which is (paraphrased), “You pay by your means, you receive based on your needs.” Can we not apply this to our country when it comes to human life?

See this movie, and then get up and do something about it!


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