The Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care policy informally known as "Obamacare" is a move that will ensure that the U.S. is attempting to live up to its religious values while complying with the teachings of Jesus Christ, according to a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, former president of Chicago Theological Seminary and an ordained United Church of Christ minister, recently spoke about the new health care policy coinciding with the teachings of Christ in a Washington Post report.
"Jesus taught his followers to have compassion for the sick, to be helpful including paying for health care for those who could not afford it," Thistlethwaite wrote in the publication. "The 'Good Samaritan,' in a well-known story told by Jesus (Luke 10:25-37), is the person who stops and cares for an injured man left by the side of the road. In this teaching, Jesus tells how the privileged of his society had callously walked by the injured man, ignoring the man's urgent need for care."
Obamacare, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), was signed into law by the president in 2010 and includes a provision called the individual mandate which makes healthcare a requirement for people who do not receive insurance coverage from their employer or the government. Obamacare seeks to expand health insurance to millions of Americans without coverage while reforming certain aspects currently existing in the health care industry.
Obama spoke about the Supreme Court's 5-4 favorable ruling in a statement on Thursday and how it would impact Americans.
"If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance – this law will only make it more secure and more affordable," the president explained to his public. "If you're one of the 30 million Americans who don't yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from."
However, some disagreed with the Supreme Court declaring Obamacare constitutional. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke out against the ruling on Thursday.
"Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion," Romney said in his address to the American public. "And even with those cuts and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep."
Many evangelical and conservative Christians also responded to the Supreme Court ruling Thursday, expressing fear that Obamacare's individual mandate would bring more harm than good to Americans.
"Because of the mandate, Americans will be forced to pay for a system that will increase costs for patients, remove health care decisions from both the doctor and the patient and lead to rationing," charged Dr. Elaina George, a board-certified physician with the Project 21 African-American Conservative Leadership Network. "It changes health care as we know it into a system based on one-size-fits-all, cost-controlled and conveyor belt socialized medicine."
However, Thistlethwaite said the approval of Obamacare was proof that Americans could act with "compassion and legal insight, finding that our country must base its social policy on the bedrock of its historic values in religion."