Healing the sick

The sick were a special concern for Jesus and his disciples. Half of the first chapter of the first gospel, Mark, is devoted to healing and casting out unclean spirits. Also, caring for those who can’t care for themselves is an important response to our faith for many of us.

For that reason, it is natural for us to be concerned about the condition of our healthcare system, particularly the number of people in our country without access to healthcare. Just like everything else, the tough stuff comes in putting those values into the form of policy. Shadowfax at Movin’ Meat nicely addresses the problem of innovation here. Movin’ Meat: The Death of Innovation?

Consider two systems, one in which all person are cared for equally and another in which about 1/2 or 1/3 of people get much, much better care than the rest. Is unequal system moral if in the unequal system the members of society getting the worst care are getting better care than everyone in the first system?

I don’t believe that is necessarily the case with broader access to healthcare. I think it is very likely that by 1/2 to 1/3 of the population getting what it wants, the overall health of the society is in worse shape. But the way I set it up above is a more interesting case.

2,635 replies on “Healing the sick”

I think you are right, particularly if we are to take seriously the requirement not to covet our neighbor’s things.

I suppose the only opposition would be to look at the world as completely relative. There is always suffering. It is the absolute level of suffering that matters, but how much you suffer relative to others.

I think there are limited applications of that way of thinking. I think the person at the bottom of the heap in U.S., EU, Japan, Canada, etc. is almost certainly happier than the analgous person in Bangladesh, even if the person in Bangladesh doesn’t know about the U.S., EU, Japan, Canada, etc.

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