Jerry Newcombe
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It's a good thing our current administration wasn't around in the 4th century when St. Basil of Caesarea invented what writer George Grant calls "the first non-ambulatory hospital" in history, i.e., a medical facility with beds.

Pouring forth the love of Jesus Christ, the good saint who lived in the Mediterranean port city northwest of Jerusalem is credited with this humanitarian development of the institution of the hospital. Roberto Margotta, author of The Story of Medicine, says of Basil's hospital, that the "rule of love" prevailed, with the "care and comfort of the sick."

The longest lasting hospital that still operates (no pun intended) is Hotel Dieu (i.e., God Hospital) in Paris founded in the year of our Lord 600. It borders Notre Dame Cathedral.

In the New World, the oldest, still-operating medical facility is Jesus of Nazareth Hospital in Mexico City, founded in 1524.

In many other places and times, Christians of various stripes started all sorts of hospitals and health clinics. That's true across the globe. Even to this day, many hospitals show their Christian origin in their very name. Good Samaritan. Holy Cross. Christ. Baptist. Bethesda. St. Mary’s.

Some hospitals are named after St. Luke (e.g., St. Luke Presbyterian, Rush St. Luke) because the author of the third Gospel and Acts was a doctor. He was even Paul’s doctor.

Many people of good will, regardless of their religious convictions (or the lack thereof), are involved in the healing of the sick. Christian charity (that is, voluntary love for the Lord and for others) was what historically motivated so many of the great developments in organized health care in the first place, and that remains true to some degree today.

It's disturbing, then, to learn that the government's takeover of the health care system will likely punish charity hospitals in the future. In short, Obamacare could be bad for our health.

A headline in the Daily Caller notes, "Obamacare installs new scrutiny, fines for charitable hospitals that treat uninsured people" (8/8/13). Patrick Hawley reports: "Charitable hospitals that treat uninsured Americans will be subjected to new levels of scrutiny of their nonprofit status and could face sizable new fines under Obamacare."

The fines could be as stiff as $50,000 "if they fail to meet bureaucrats’ standards," he writes.

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Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer.