When we consider what Jesus did to minister to the needs of others, two things come to mind: teaching and healing. Most of the gospel narratives are focused on just these two activities. Consequently, for two thousand years, the Church of Christ has established schools and hospitals wherever the gospel was preached. Originally, most schools and hospitals were founded by missionaries and staffed by priests, monks, and nuns. Over time, many others have taken on this task, and today of course most countries provide publicly funded schools.
I have spent most of my career in private education, and I believe very strongly in its value. However, I have never thought that we should abolish publicly funded schools. I believe in the value of education for all. I think that everyone in society is better off when children receive an education. I would love to see a more robust private sector through the use of vouchers, but I would never want to see any child deprived of an education due to lack of funds.
In most developed countries, health care also is provided through taxation, and it is universal. Here too, I believe we are all better off when people are healthy. America, however, is unique among developed nations in not providing publicly funded and universal health care. And, if that system worked well, then it wouldn't matter at all. But the system doesn't work well. Despite having the finest doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals in the world, we have millions of people with inadequate health care, and the results are abysmal. (Consider our infant mortality rates! See http://articles.cnn.com/2006-05-08/health/mothers.index_1_mortality-rate-death-rate-world-s-mothers?_s=PM:HEALTH)
I’m not going to take time to argue the benefits of a national health care system. Rather, I’d simply like to ask my Christian friends which system would Jesus prefer? Would he prefer a system which requires individual responsibility and has the best facilities and care in the world for those who can afford it, but leaves millions poorly cared for? Or, would he prefer a system in which all people receive treatment and adequate care? If you're not sure, let me ask another question. Would Jesus oppose people trying to use tax dollars to help others through education and health care? I ask that, because sadly, I have found many Christian opposed to helping others because they don't like the way it's being done or who does it. But Jesus was quite clear that he who is not against us is for us (Mark 9:40). While I love private enterprise, if the choice is between having the best system for a few or a good system for all, I will come down for the latter.