This comes to mind because I finally saw Michael Moore's Sicko last week. I don't recall Jesus ever saying anything about socialized medicine but it seems to be a basic tenet of evangelical Christians that universal health care would be a terrible tragedy. In the last two weeks, I have heard Rios, Pat Robertson, and James Scudder all tell their listeners that the last thing we want is what the rest of the civilized world has. Now I will acknowledge that I am skeptical about Sicko's portrayal of Cuba's healthcare system, but I suspect that the French, Canadians, and British really do prefer what they have.
One of the most striking things in Sicko was the way that different countries create incentives for doctors. In Britain, a doctor can be financially rewarded when his patients quit smoking or lower their blood pressure. In the United States, doctors working for insurance companies are financially rewarded for denying patients treatments that could save their lives. Is it any wonder that America spends more per capita on healthcare with poorer results than countries with socialized medicine?
Apologist N.T. Wright was recently quoted at the American Academy of Religion Conference as saying that "[t]he Church must get on with the works of justice, beauty, and healing that the systems [of the world] know they should do, but can't figure out how to do." Could it be that some of the systems of the world have figured out how to do some of these works? Could it be that evangelical Christians deny these successes rather than allow that good can be accomplished without them? Could it be that the Religous Right delights in the failures of the Bush administration because it confirms their belief in that good belongs exclusively to the(ir) Church?