Saturday, June 22, 2024

Jesus Christ: The Father of Affordable Health Care

May 27, 2024 by  
Filed under Highlights

BY DARRYL L. FORTSON, M.D. 

If you step back from the New Testament of the Bible and look at it from a distance, it becomes clear that the central manifestation of Christ’s mission during his three-year ministry was access to quality health care. Over and over, Jesus bore witness to His power and intrinsic mercy by providing quality health care wherever He went. Jesus didn’t give out pots of gold. He was not an inventor or a scholar of any discipline, save Jewish law. He built no edifices. He authored no legislation and sought no public office or military post. To Pontius Pilate, he said few words; to Herod, he said not a mumbling one. 

It could be argued that the timing of Jesus’ arrival coincided with the acuteness of need in that time for affordable and accessible health care. People are seen in the Gospels and the Epistles ferrying themselves to high traffic areas of the city near the city and Temple gates to seek medical care and maximize charitable gifts in the midst of their infirmity (John 5:2, Acts 3:1-10). A woman waits 12 years for medical treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding (Luke 8:43-44). 

Another non-ambulatory man is so desperate for medical care that his family lowers him through a hole cut out of the roof of a house in order for him to see Jesus (Mark 2:1-12). Another man roams the cemetery for want of mental health care. (Mark 5:1-5) Lepers are cast out without treatment for the tubercular communicable disease that afflicts them. (Mark 1:40-41). 

However, not only did Jesus provide affordable and effective health care, he revolutionized how it was delivered. The Bible records the first known “telemedicine” visit in the Book of Luke, when Jesus heals the Roman centurion’s servant remotely based on the centurion’s faith alone (Luke 7:2-10). He pioneers the first multidisciplinary medical practice (literally “multidisciplinary,” because it was undertaken by “multiple disciples.”) His twelve disciples went to areas as far north as Turkey, south to Ethiopia, as far east as India, and as far west as Spain providing affordable (free), accessible and highly effective health care. So committed to the concept of affordability was the early Christian church, when the sorcerer Simon attempted to pay for access to the healing “franchise” through the power of the Holy Ghost, Peter immediately and forcefully condemned him for even thinking such a thing. (Acts 8:9-24). 

My best friend is a cardiovascular surgeon. He is a great surgeon — but he ain’t Jesus. Nevertheless, on a regular basis, he cuts into people’s chests, and stops and restarts their hearts. Even Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, never did that! 

“But greater works shall you do in My name,” said that same Jesus. In other words, His plan was to do even more amazing interventions, with more patients, in more places — through His growing “health care network.” Hospitals, almshouses, hospices — all the “St. This,” “Whatever Methodist,” and “So-And-So Presbyterian the Other” hospitals throughout America and the world began with the health care provision of Jesus Christ. 

So remember: when you are working or contributing or voting to improve health care access and affordability, you are continuing the work that Christ started 2,000 years ago. And when you’re not — you ain’t. 

Dr. Darryl L. Fortson practices medicine in Las Vegas, and is Executive Director of AASRT, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization dedicated to the elimination of the racial net worth gap through a reparations paradigm.

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