Sounds encouraging that our Church is not forgetting the poor and the uninsured…
Again this year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will co-sponsor “Cover the Uninsured Week,” from March 22-28, 2009. The purpose of this effort is to focus the attention of the nation on the 46 million Americans who lack any form of health insurance. The USCCB has joined with our ecumenical and interfaith partners in educating the public and policymakers about the need for affordable and accessible health care for all. The leadership of this project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), major health organizations, and business and labor groups.
That’s great news! Catholics need to keep demonstrating that being Pro-Life does not just mean opposing abortion. We want to protect human lives at any stage. The lives of uninsured people, especially mothers and children, can also be at risk. Less dramatically so than the unborn, but still worth noticing.
It should be retitled: “pushing for universal healthcare week” which is hardly pro-life.
Health Insurance is a product, not a right. The government is not obligated to provide insurance for everyone. As Catholics we have a moral obligation to help individuals as best we can with their needs, but to say that insurance should be provided for everyone in the long term is financial suicide for America.
Healthcare is what we are really talking about and that should be a fundmental right for all it’s citizens.
The government is a single unit of the whole society. The government is morally obligated to make sure it’s citizens have adequate healthcare. We are the only major industrialized nation with out affordable and equal healthcare for all it’s citizens.
I think certain political ideology is convincing others to throw out certain Scripture and the CCC just because that ideology says it is pro-life in the womb. When our Scripture and CCC compells us to be pro-life from womb to natural death (womb to tomb).
People must eat in order to live. It is proper for the Church to encourage policies at the proper level (a complex issue) to ensure that no one starves. That does not mean, however, that the Church has any business pushing policies making food free to all, since most (in this country at least) can easily afford food themselves.
It seems to me that if the USCCB is pushing universal health care, the effort is misguided. Certainly, there are uninsured; some of whom are uninsured out of choice. (I have known many, at one time including myself) It seems to me the USCCB should concern itself with those who cannot afford necessary healthcare, rather than pushing for public financing of healthcare for all; including those who can afford it themselves. Doing the latter makes the USCCB appear to simply be a subsidiary of the Democrat Party, which it often seems to be.
The popes, in the Social Encyclicals, state that it is the obligation of the state (at an appropriate level) to provide decently for those who cannot provide for themselves. We should have no problem with that as Catholics.
That is not to say, however, that the Church supports government paid or organized “universal” health care, any more than it supports government paid food for all or government paid housing for all.
Depends on how what you mean by universal. In the sense of government running all the hospitals and clinics… Absolutely not. We all know that will not work, AND we can not afford that right now.
But to regulate and establish policies that will make it affordable AND equal for all, yes the Church expects that from government, business and individuals. I like the idea of single payer health insurance. I.E. have access to the same insurance our Congressman have. To deny some one medical care because they have no insurance is immoral. To bankrupt the poor and average working Americans to get equal and adequate healthcare is immoral.
To put strains on small businesses because of healthcare is immoral.
Well, I would also like to eat Wagyu steaks like Obama and the legislators had, and have a jet plane at my disposal, but that does not mean anyone has a moral obligation to ensure that I have them.
Never has the Church taught that all people be provided EQUAL access to even necessities. On the contrary, the Church has taught that people who can, should provide for themselves and their families, and has strongly discouraged overdependence on government. Read the Social Encyclicals, and you will see that I’m right.
Most Americans have healthcare coverage. For some, it’s a better deal than for others, and is supposedly based on ability to pay, at least to some degree. The truly poor have Medicaid. The elderly have Medicare. Most people in between have health insurance provided in connection with their employment. Some few have it but don’t even need it, like John Kerry, whose healthcare we pay for, notwithstanding that he could pay for any imaginable healthcare cost he could ever incur.
What we really have is a “gap” in coverage. Some people are not covered by anything at all, and for various reasons. But nobody really knows how many truly involuntary, truly “uncovered” people there are, particularly when mandatory ER treatment is provided by law.
Nobody really knows what the Obama healthcare plan is. But two things are notably absent from any talk about the subject. First, providing the same coverage as is given to Congressmen, and I would say there is no chance of that. Second, any kind of actual “reform” beyond coercing one’s neighbor into paying all or part of one’s own coverage whether one can afford it himself or not. There is no talk of dismantling the “cost tiered” system whereby one group subsidizes another. Right now, private persons subsidize all federal healthcare programs. If we’re all going to be on the same system (which I mightily doubt) all federal programs now in existence will skyrocket in cost. There is no talk of eliminating duplicative facilities or gold-plating. There is no talk of dealing with overutilization that plagues the “public” paid systems. One thing is for sure, any Obama health plan will cover abortions; something that is not mandated everywhere presently. Adding only that will cause overall costs to rise. Abortion is big business. Viagra is big business. Am I supposed to pay for that with my taxes so you can get it for free?
People seem to think that somehow the “rich” are going to pay for their own “free” healthcare. There are not enough “rich” people to do that, and one way or another, it will get paid for by the broad mass of people. Just to clarify, I am not among the earners of $200,000 or more, but I know I’ll have to pay for this.
But for certain, the USCCB has no idea what, exactly, it’s endorsing, and seem (as they have before) never to have read the Social Encylicals or, having read them, ignored them.
As a small businessman, I do not think it’s immoral for me to pay for my employees’ coverage, which I do. I do it voluntarily, so it’s not immoral for me to do it or for anyone else involved. But there is not the slightest doubt in my mind (or that of any other small businessman to whom I have talked) that one way or another the Obama plan will increase our tax burden. No serious person doubts that, despite all the denials. There’s no free lunch. Somebody has to pay, and there are not enough rich people to do it.
In my opinion, the “gap” should be studied and, to the extent people are not voluntarily without coverage, closed. But one does not entirely change a whole system to fill a “gap”. One studies the “gap” and, if it’s meritorious to do it, fills it.
And what about illegals? Will they be covered? And if so, will they be covered for treatment here or in, e.g., Mexico, where the costs are about 1/3 of what they are here? Nobody knows.
In any event, get ready for rationing, because that’s what will happen. It won’t be rationing based on “necessity”, but on cost-benefit analysis based on length of benefit. The administration has already said that. If you’re young and want psychotropics to feel better about yourself, or an abortion, you’ll get them and I’ll have to pay for them. If you’re old and need a lifesaving surgery, maybe you’ll just have to die because its benefits won’t “last” the requisite number of years.
Thank you RidgeRunner for the most intelligent and well written analysis of this problem that I have ever had the privilege to read.
I too have known people who despite their ability to afford healthcare chose not to do so. They instead chose to afford other nonessential things.
“Universal” healthcare will result in rationing. They will begin doing analysis of what would be considered the “treatment” of choice for disease. This was mandated in the stimulus legislation. This could be used to tell the doctor what he should prescribe based on outcome and cost. It does not take into consideration the many variables of the individual’s health situation, age, needs or other factors.
Catholic Health Association Call on Congress to Expand Health Coverage to Millions of Uninsured
WASHINGTON (March 12, 2003) – Calling the fact that one in seven Americans does not have health insurance “morally unacceptable,” three national Catholic organizations are pressing Congress to increase access to affordable health care to the millions of uninsured in the United States.
In a letter to the leadership of the Senate and House Budget Committees, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Charities USA, and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) urged Congress to dedicate at least $89 billion over the next 10 years to expand coverage for the uninsured, the amount set aside by President George W. Bush in his fiscal 2004 budget proposal.
“We consider access to adequate health care to be a basic human right, necessary for the development and maintenance of life and for the ability of human beings to realize the fullness of their dignity. A just society is one that protects and promotes the fundamental rights of its members – with special attention to meeting the basic needs of the poor and underserved, including the need for safe and affordable health care,” wrote Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, of the Archdiocese of Washington, and chair of USCCB’s Domestic Policy Committee, Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities USA, and Rev. Michael D. Place, STD, CHA’s president and chief executive officer.
In their letter, which was copied to all members of the committees, the organizations also called on Congress to provide immediate fiscal relief to states for their Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provide health coverage to millions of low-income adults and children. In dire fiscal straits, state and local governments are slashing their Medicaid and other health care budgets. “We urge Congress to act quickly to provide immediate relief for these programs and prevent the erosion of coverage to our most vulnerable beneficiaries,” said the letter.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 42 million Americans did not have health insurance in 2001. Eight out of 10 were from working families. In most cases, the main wage earners in these families either had jobs that offered no health coverage or their premiums were unaffordable.
“People who lack health insurance are far less likely to receive basic health care services, and are generally in poorer health as a result,” wrote Cardinal McCarrick, Fr. Place, and Fr. Hehir. "Studies show they delay seeking care even when in need of medical attention, do not fill prescriptions and have trouble paying medical bills. The uninsured have more difficulty obtaining primary care and access to essential medication, and have a higher rate of hospitalization for treatable conditions such as hypertension, asthma or diabetes.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Domestic Policy Committee speaks for the U.S. bishops on health care and other social and economic programs. For more information, visit www.usccb.org.
The St. Louis-based Catholic Health Association of the United States is the national leadership organization of the Catholic health ministry, engaged in the strategic directions of mission, ethics, and advocacy. CHA’s more than 2,000 members form the nation’s largest group of not-for-profit health care sponsors, systems, facilities, health plans, and related organizations. For more information, visit the CHA Web site at www.chausa.org.
Catholic Charities USA’s members—1,640 local agencies and institutions nationwide—provide help and create hope for more than seven million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For more than 275 years, local Catholic Charities agencies have been providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from day care and counseling to food and housing. For more information, visit www.catholiccharitiesinfo.org.
Forty million Americans do not have medical coverage. The poorest Americans generally qualify for state medicaid plans. Those who work full-time usually are covered. But many, many people aren’t able to find full-time work for companies that provide insurance. I know people who have two part-time jobs, and who struggle day-to-day financially, unable to afford medical insurance on their own. They tend to forego health care, and their health deteriorates more quickly, simply because they can’t afford the care. To glibly say people in this situation are “volunteering” to go without medical insurance is ignorant and uncharitable. To place the burden of health care coverage on employers has worked to a certain extent, but the current system is a failure for 40 million Americans.
For those who face medical crises (due to accidents, or severe illness such as cancer), they usually lose their jobs and then their coverage. In my state, they’re not allowed to apply to the state for medical assistance until they have $11,000 or less in assets. State help for medical needs varies from state to state.
I don’t know what the solution is, but sole employer-assisted medical insurance coverage is inadequate.