Historian Gary Ferngren writes in his book Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity:
Christians of the first five centuries held views regarding the use of medicine and the healing of disease that did not differ appreciably from those that were widely taken for granted in the Graeco-Roman world.
Those views underlie Christians' development of "the world's first health-care system," writes Rob Moll in his Christianity Today review of the book. That was a reflection of the Christian belief that love of God requires love of fellow man and that is reflected in charity.
As a result of these theological beliefs, Christians developed a robust system for caring for the poor, the ill, widows and orphans, and other members of society in need of care. When the plague struck, this system provided an opportunity for churches to quickly expand and care for those outside the church.
The best way to provide care to everyone in the country may be up for debate. We may argue over whether to prefer new regulation of insurers and health care providers or a government-run plan. The need to provide care for the poor, however, was settled centuries ago.
Read the entire review here.