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.