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  #1  
Old Oct 1, '11, 12:17 pm
John Hiner John Hiner is offline
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Default Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

In a recent post on another site, the following was attributed to Fr. John Jenkins, the President of the University of Notre Dame [sic]:
“This would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church’s moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans in violation of the church’s social teaching. It is an impossible position.”
Is the second part of this assertion true? Does the “Church’s social teaching” mandate insurance plans? Why would funding of hospitals and other medical service organizations not equally or even more fittingly serve the mandate for charity encompassing the sick?

Is there some teaching set out in an authoritative document or otherwise which mandates this seemingly doubtful choice in favor of charging the sick for the treatment they receive and then subsidizing their ability to pay the “debt” that they incur in being “helped?”

I would very much appreciate any help in my study of this vexing question.

Thank you.

Pax Christi semper nobiscum.

John Hiner
  #2  
Old Oct 1, '11, 2:20 pm
ProVobis ProVobis is offline
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Default Re: Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

You ask good questions.

However, I'm beginning to think more and more that the Christian Scientists have the best solution to this moral problem.
  #3  
Old Oct 2, '11, 8:12 am
John Hiner John Hiner is offline
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Default Re: Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProVobis View Post
You ask good questions.

However, I'm beginning to think more and more that the Christian Scientists have the best solution to this moral problem.
You bring a smile to my face. I can appreciate the sentiment. Sadly, I don’t think bowing out of the struggle is among our options.

Fortunately, the Prophet Sirach saves us from this temptation:
Honour the physician for the need thou hast of him: for the most High hath created him. For all healing is from God, and he shall receive gifts of the king. The skill of the physician shall lift up his head, and in the sight of great men he shall be praised. The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them. . . My son, in thy sickness neglect not thyself, but pray to the Lord, and he shall heal thee. Turn away from sin and order thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all offence. Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour, and make a fat offering, and then give place to the physician. For the Lord created him: and let him not depart from thee, for his works are necessary. (Ecclesiasticus 38: 1-4, 9-12.)
JRH
  #4  
Old Oct 2, '11, 5:19 pm
The Old Medic The Old Medic is offline
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Default Re: Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

To attempt to claim that insurance violates the principle of Charity, is like trying to argue that having a house (or an apartment) is a violation of the principle of Hope.

After all, if God wanted us to live in houses, he would have provided them, wouldn't he? So, if one is truly hopeful, then one should not purchase, or rent, a house, but should trust in the Lord to provide you with shelter from the elements.

Personally, I look at it this way. God gave us brains, in order to figure out how to live the best, and how to care for one another He gave us the basic rules of how he expects us to live. It is up to us to figure out the details, while still remaining withing those guidelines that he provided.

Insurance against catastrophic expense, or death if you couldn't afford medical treatment, is our answer to one of the problems that faces us in this modern world.

BUT, the rules also state that we are NOT to interfere with the natural act of making babies, and that abortion is the murder of an innocent life. So, our basic rules state that we can not provide a service that violates the rules that we are required to live by.

So, either a Catholic Organization can only provide insurance that does NOT provide for contraception or abortion, or it can not provide any medical insurance at all.

This is a "black or white" issue, one that would violate the basic teachings of the Catholic Church if it were required that it MUST provide funding to do what the church teaches is a sin. To do that would be a MUCH greater wrong, than not proving insurance at all.

So, the Church is placed in an impossible position. It teaches that providing insurance for it's employees is a good and charitable thing, but the State is attempting to force the church to provide insurance that would cover acts that would get any Catholic excommunicated if they utilized that service.

This is the problem that "Obama-Care" has caused. The law, as it stand, requires that all medical insurance MUST provide both contraception and abortion on demand. The Church can not provide anything that would pay for either contraception or for abortion.

Therefore, this law compels any Catholic organization to either violate the teachings of the church, or it forces them to stop providing medical insurance for its employees.
  #5  
Old Oct 2, '11, 5:22 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hiner View Post
In a
Is there some teaching set out in an authoritative document or otherwise which mandates this seemingly doubtful choice in favor of charging the sick for the treatment they receive and then subsidizing their ability to pay the “debt” that they incur in being “helped?”

plr
please explain how an employer contracting with an insurance company to underwrite all or part of an employee's medical expenses contradict Catholic social teaching, or how health insurance in general can be described by your statement.
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  #6  
Old Oct 4, '11, 9:02 am
tgauchsin tgauchsin is offline
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Default Re: Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hiner View Post
In a recent post on another site, the following was attributed to Fr. John Jenkins, the President of the University of Notre Dame [sic]:
“This would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church’s moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans in violation of the church’s social teaching. It is an impossible position.”
Is the second part of this assertion true? Does the “Church’s social teaching” mandate insurance plans? Why would funding of hospitals and other medical service organizations not equally or even more fittingly serve the mandate for charity encompassing the sick?

Is there some teaching set out in an authoritative document or otherwise which mandates this seemingly doubtful choice in favor of charging the sick for the treatment they receive and then subsidizing their ability to pay the “debt” that they incur in being “helped?”

I would very much appreciate any help in my study of this vexing question.

Thank you.

Pax Christi semper nobiscum.

John Hiner
There is a third option. If the University of Norte Dame self-insured or even self-funded, they could dictate which procedures would or would not be covered.
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This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.
--Gaudium et Spes, 43
  #7  
Old Oct 4, '11, 8:25 pm
DL82 DL82 is offline
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Default Re: Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hiner View Post

Is there some teaching set out in an authoritative document or otherwise which mandates this seemingly doubtful choice in favor of charging the sick for the treatment they receive and then subsidizing their ability to pay the “debt” that they incur in being “helped?”

I would very much appreciate any help in my study of this vexing question.

Thank you.

Pax Christi semper nobiscum.

John Hiner
You mean the University could just open a free hospital for all its staff and students to use? Yes, in theory that would work, and in a simpler age of medical technology it would work fine in practice too. The problem comes when someone has a complex condition that requires extremely specialized multi-million dollar equipment. A centre of excellence for the whole state can easily afford this, but for a University community with maybe 30,000 staff and students, it wouldn't be cost-effective (running a hospital that could treat every conceivable condition would eat up the University's whole budget) thus effectively leaving everyone with 1960s healthcare, and otherwise uninsured.
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  #8  
Old Oct 6, '11, 4:55 pm
BobCatholic BobCatholic is offline
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Default retail

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgauchsin View Post
There is a third option. If the University of Norte Dame self-insured or even self-funded, they could dictate which procedures would or would not be covered.
Self-insured does not work very well unless the university is able to negotiate discounts with hospitals and doctors like regular insurance companies do too.

Otherwise, they'll pay through the nose with the retail price of hospitals and doctors. And we all know who will pay for that: Students and employees.
  #9  
Old Oct 6, '11, 7:04 pm
tgauchsin tgauchsin is offline
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Default Re: retail

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobCatholic View Post
Self-insured does not work very well unless the university is able to negotiate discounts with hospitals and doctors like regular insurance companies do too.

Otherwise, they'll pay through the nose with the retail price of hospitals and doctors. And we all know who will pay for that: Students and employees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hiner View Post
“This would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church’s moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans in violation of the church’s social teaching. It is an impossible position.”
Good to see you on another thread again, Bob.

I would have to agree with you, it would be expensive. It would be a third option, though; a way for Notre Dame to avoid "pay(ing) for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church's moral teaching" without "discontinu(ing) (their) employee and student health care plans in violation of the church's social teaching."

The problem would then be who will pay for it. Who is willing to put their money where their mouth is? The school? The employees? The students (or their parents)?
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This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.
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  #10  
Old Oct 9, '11, 11:19 pm
BobCatholic BobCatholic is offline
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Default Re: retail

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgauchsin View Post
Good to see you on another thread again, Bob.

I would have to agree with you, it would be expensive. It would be a third option, though; a way for Notre Dame to avoid "pay(ing) for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church's moral teaching" without "discontinu(ing) (their) employee and student health care plans in violation of the church's social teaching."

The problem would then be who will pay for it. Who is willing to put their money where their mouth is? The school? The employees? The students (or their parents)?
It is good if ND were to actually stand up and not pay for such evils. But I'm doubting that ND will actually go that route. I think they'll just pay the premiums even though the evils are covered.
  #11  
Old Jul 17, '12, 8:35 am
John Hiner John Hiner is offline
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Default Re: Is medical insurance contrary to Charity?

I am sorry to take so long to respond to the requests to clarify my concern, but this topic has been so oppressive lately that I have found it difficult to focus one drafting a coherent statement. I hope the following make the structure of my concern more apparent:

Ok; let me see if I can just say what confuses me. It seems to me that medical insurance is contrary to the gospel teaching, both against worrying about tomorrow and about storing up treasure for yourself. Further, it seems to degrade the care for the sick from an act of charity to an act of self-interest.

The simplest scenario to bring out this point involves a minimalist image, where resources are limited. But, it seems to me that the objections persist even when resources are imagined to be sufficient to stretch beyond the limiting cases.

If one has money in his pocket, and another is ill, then what would the gospel suggest. Does the one say, “I cannot give this money for the care of the other, I might need it for me later. If he did not think ahead and save his own money, then that is his problem. I did not make him sick.” Or, rather, does the gospel suggest that the one with money say, “It is a risk, but I trust in God and will give what I have for the relief of this sick man. If later I become sick, I trust God to provide. But, most important is that my brother is in need now and so I will help him and not worry about tomorrow; the Lord knows what I need and what I will need.”

Medical insurance seems to me to be a purposeful and forceful choice in favor of the first approach. If my friend grows ill, I cannot give him my “medical benefits” and have my insurance pay for him. I cannot even give him the money in my pocket, for if I do not pay my medical premium this month, then my insurance will lapse, so the money in my pocket must be paid against my possible future need, rather than to immediately help my brother who is ill and in need now.

These impressions can be easily supported from Scripture from sources from the Gospels themselves to the Letter of St. James and in other places in both the Old and the New Testaments.

Given this, another issue arises, why is the care for the sick reduced to money in the first place. It is skill, supplies, and equipment that is needed to care for the sick, not money. The idea that doctors are reduced to demanding payment from their patients or withholding treatment is an indignity to those who would seek to imitate the Lord and help the poor from love of God rather than desire for money. In fact, the fundamental question arises, why should illness render the sick in debt. Why is the social response to illness to add insult to injury by adding debt to the other sufferings of the ill?

I suspect that all of this flows from the destruction of the monastic model of hospitality and care for the sick in the Protestant revolt.

Given all of this, it seems to me that an approach more in line with the Church’s teachings would be to fund or endow doctors, nurses, medical facilities, and hospitals so that their supply, maintenance, and livelihood would be independent of the services rendered to the sick.

The healthy and well off would thus be able to express their love for God by contributing to the endowments of such services to the sick. The sick would be helped and not burdened in response to their illness. Those with limited means would be free to exercise charity with their present cash, without being obliged to worry about their own future medical needs, as though these “potential needs” were “in competition with” the love due to God in caring for those who are actually sick in the present.

Can anyone say how these considerations do not suggest that a faithful disciple of Christ should decline to purchase medical insurance and should rather care for others?
 

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