By Chaim Apfel, J.D.
This article was printed in Volume 3 of Verapo Yerape. Republished with permission.
The role that governments have played in caring for the level of public health has changed dramatically over the course of the twentieth century worldwide. In the United States this role has recently undergone a dramatic change with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as well as the Healthcare and Education Affordability Act. With all of these changes, many of the policies that were debated touched upon legal issues that have existed for thousands of years across many civilizations. It would be useful to compare how these issues were treated according to Jewish laws and values. The purpose of this paper is to explain what ethical rules should govern a government healthcare plan and to explain how such a plan should be implemented.
II. Two Distinct Biblical Commandments for Charity
Arguably, the most fundamental ethical issue that the statute addresses is to what extent individuals can be compelled to provide for their poor. The Biblical law mandating charity can be found in two locations. The first section addresses society’s reaction to abject poverty. Continue Reading –>