Jesus’ health insurance policy

Jesus didn’t believe in universal health coverage. Not until a bold woman of native descent called him to account (Matthew 15:21-28).

Jesus was ready to stand on the strong and stable principles of citizens first, in-groups and out-of-pocket expenses. He had his speech locked and loaded, teleprompted told her that she must make way for those more deserving than her own sick child; that resources are scarce and must be rationed according to rank, relationship, and level of in-network coverage.

Do you know this story? Have you heard this biblical argument for ignoring the least able to afford to live – literally to live – in America today?

This, mind you, was not the woman, bereft of contraceptive coverage, who crept up to touch the hem of his robe to stem her incessant, intolerable bleeding (Matthew 9:20-22). That’s a whole other story. This is the one, the mother of a tormented child, demented to distraction by her pain, who called him out face to face at a town hall meeting.

“Even the dogs get to eat up the crumbs that fall from the children’s table.” She spat Jesus’ own prejudice back at him, turned her poverty into a privilege, proud of her disinherited heritage.

He tried ignoring her. Then, she was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

I am an immigrant. I am a mother. I am a follower of Christ, and I am in awe of this woman with more chutzpah than Yeshua, more juice than Jesus, who converted Christ to compassion by confronting his prejudice and pricking his privilege into action.

I am not a politician, policy expert, or economist; but I have visited patients in my brief stint as a hospital chaplain who, in extremis, lost their extremities – toes, feet, and further –  because they could not afford to keep up with their diabetic treatment and control. I have encountered too much despair, unmitigated by adequate mental health coverage until the crisis comes, and the 72-hour watch, if it is not already too late. I have sat in the underwear of the woman venting blood before contraceptive coverage became preventive care and saved her sanity.

I am an immigrant, and a woman, and a Christian. I have decent health insurance and I can access good care for my family whenever we fall sick. In this great country, God knows, I know of no one who deserves less.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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8 Responses to Jesus’ health insurance policy

  1. Robert Omwa says:


  2. Robert Omwa says:


  3. Nancy Wittig says:

    Rosalind, you are on point, thank you again

  4. rogert8248 says:

    I echo the “Wow”!
    This passage has gone from the passage that we would leave out, to being one of the most hope-filled. Not just for those who are not among the chosen, but for the first time I see that when we affirm that Jesus “took his place with sinners”, he did not leave out those whose greatest sin is their sense of privilege based on race and religion.
    Thank you. This was revelatory.

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