The Q&A in the current issue of WORLD is with Ron Sider, founder, four decades ago, of Evangelicals for Social Action and the author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Here’s what he said about healthcare.
President Obama is clearly knee-deep in messes now. What would you advise him to do? I don’t pretend to have a quick, brilliant answer for all the problems in Washington.
Let’s have the type of thing that I like to propose: a slow, stupid answer. How about healthcare? Let’s take a few steps back. Fifty million or so poor Americans have had no health insurance. Health insurance for every individual is a pro-life issue that every evangelical ought to be insisting on. I don’t know how you can be committed to the sanctity of human life and not say that healthcare, which in fact preserves one’s life, is a crucial concern.
Agreed that all individuals should have access to healthcare, but that’s not the same thing as health insurance. We have lots of charitable clinics, and a very inefficient system of emergency rooms at hospitals to save lives of the poor. Yeah, everybody has access, but they don’t go as early and it costs more, so it’s bad for them and bad for all of us.
Right. Relying on ERs is a miserable system … I would like to see a really serious Republican proposal that says: “Everybody in this richest nation in history must have access to quality healthcare. And here’s how to do it.” We don’t have that. Absent that, I’ve been supportive of the Affordable Care Act.
Should the government require that everyone be in a plan that includes contraceptives and abortifacients? No, I’m appalled. I’m very upset with that implementation of the act. It’s contrary to any reading of religious freedom.