By: Andrew Suh
With all of the discussion lately about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it seems that the debate has focused more on politics than health care itself. Regardless of where one stands politically, access to high quality health care is an issue on which most people could agree. Unfortunately, the proposed closure of two hospitals in Brooklyn (Long Island College Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center) would leave two communities without direct access to services. Furthermore, these two hospitals serve individuals that tend to be on Medicaid and cannot afford to travel elsewhere to receive services. Of note, about 25% of the health care dollars spent by Brooklyn residents are spent in Manhattan – mostly by more affluent individuals. Also, one NY Times article found that the ACA would not cover the majority of poor blacks, single mothers and low-wage workers who do not currently have insurance because they live in states that have declined to participate in the Medicaid expansion. Although politics cannot help but play a part in this discussion, it may be helpful to remember that, as a community of believers, Christ calls us to care for the “least of [our] brothers and sisters.” Health care is as basic a necessity as food and housing, but one that, unfortunately, is riddled with systemic issues and problems. As Christians in the city, perhaps we can look at this debate not as a political issue, but one that speaks to the very heart of God and His desire to care for those who are in need of healing from sickness.