Healthcare: Socialized or Privatized?

Healthcare is one of those issues that people take to heart; a political leader can enrage half the country by changing a system in either direction. People care because it affects them at such a personal level.

I have lived in three countries, two with socialized healthcare, and one with privatized. We have experienced and seen the downside of each, and the benefits of each – given birth, done ER, gone for check-ups. I get asked all the time (especially at the doctor’s office) which is better. If I was dictator of a country, which system would I promote? What would I choose?

Either.

Either?! That’s not really an answer!

That’s because “Which system?” isn’t really the right question. Both the socialized system and the privatized system have huge problems because both are built by people who are sinners. The socialized system is hampered by much laziness, waste, and incompetence. The privatized system is crippled by greed, lack of compassion for those who can’t pay, and fear of lawsuits.

Think about it for a moment: if all the doctors, nurses, financial people, janitors, etc., etc., in a system were believers, it would not matter nearly as much what system it was. Hard work, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, selflessness, frugality, cleanliness, and love would permeate hospitals. The reality is, fewer and fewer people in the healthcare field in the west are believers and few are driven by the gospel. Everyone is functioning on their own moral code, and it’s destroying entire systems.

If I had a choice given our current life circumstances, I know which system I would choose. But that choice might change if those circumstances were different: if we were richer or poorer, sicker or healthier, less educated or more educated, and so on. And since I don’t have a choice, and since healthcare, though it has massive earthly consequences, is merely earthly, the best way to “fix the system” is to tell your neighbors the Gospel – this brings health to the bones (Prov. 3:8). Doctors are wonderful, necessary people, but the Great Physician is the only One whom you ultimately need, and His balm is the only one that will heal any person’s or nation’s problems. Ultimately, evangelism is the answer to the healthcare crisis. The right question is, “Is the gospel changing you heart, your community, your country, and why not?”

“My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.”