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USCCB and Healthcare

July 25, 2009

For those who are interested here is a brief list of what the USCCB says American Catholics should urge Congress and the President re: healthcare.  (I think it’s fairly clear from what the USCCB is saying that the Catholic position is neither Democrat nor Republic; nor is it pro-Obama or anti-Obama… it’s simply Catholic…)

-Include health care coverage for all people from conception until natural death;
-Continue the federal ban on funding for abortions and reject any mandate for abortion coverage or access to abortion;
-Include access for all with a special concern for the poor and vulnerable and support inclusion for legal immigrants;
-Preserve pluralism, including freedom of conscience for providers, health care workers and patients; and
-Restrain costs and apply costs equitably among payers.

for more info:

LEARN MORE
Visit the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) web site at: www.usccb.org/sdwp/takeaction.shtml


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20 Comments
  1. Kurt permalink
    July 25, 2009 12:33 pm

    Glad to see the bishops backing the President. Now let’s get to work and get the job done. No recess for the House until E&C passes (or Chairman Waxman waives jurisdiction) on the bill.

  2. July 25, 2009 12:48 pm

    I agree… the Church has had 2000 years to fix healthcare… every now and then it got it right. But today something has gone wrong; ergo something must be done with or without us Christians…

    It’s unfortunate that the RC Church didn’t heed the advice of 20th C English Distributists who suggested that the Church should become a public hospital from time to time and take care of the sick and the poor. Alas, a job we should’ve done as the Church is now going to have to be done by the US Government. And, yes, we will pay a price for this! Instead of blaming a political party or a President for this or that position on abortion and how it will apply to healthcare, we may want to take a long hard look at ourselves–there’s 60+ million of us Catholics in the US and what have we done? Why hasn’t the rich Catholic who lives down the street from me with 12 kids and 3 Lexus SUVs given his time and effort to helping poor Catholics without healthcare? (Yes, I know him… and he hasn’t! Besides, he doesn’t believe in Universalized healthcare).

    Perhaps… we are reaping what we’ve sown… Thus, because the Church refused to become that “hospital for the sick and the poor” we’re going to have a settle for a government plan that doesn’t fit our values regarding abortion.

    To be rather blunt, I think we often forget that when Jesus said, “I came for the sick…” he wasn’t speaking metaphorically nor in spiritual terms. He wasn’t kidding!

    The latest scholarly data on the archaeology of Galilee clearly shows mass Vitamin-D deficiencies among Galilean residents and the adverse effects of malnutrition, which includes all sorts of diseases… (in fact, data about the city of Tarsus, where Paul may have grown up, shows large outbreaks of malaria in this University town of the Roman Empire… but I digress…)

    So… if Jesus stood with the sick, we as the Church should stand with the sick… especially because we more or less forgot to in this country throughout most of the 20th C and now into the 21st C.

    It’s time we stop making this a political issue!

    (For those who are interested in some of the current findings about disease and malnutrition in ancient Galilee, see Warren Carter’s The Roman Empire and the New Testament. It’s a very accessible guide for catching one up on current historical and archaeological discoveries that shed some very important light on the cultural world of the NT).

  3. Mark permalink
    July 25, 2009 1:11 pm

    The bishops might start by making sure Catholic insitutitions offer their own employees full coverage at no cost, as they are asking the government to do.

  4. July 25, 2009 1:16 pm

    Mark – not sure I’m understanding your comment.

  5. David Wheeler-Reed permalink
    July 25, 2009 2:36 pm

    Mark you’ve got a great point… did you see the recent article about Marquette? They’re having a huge debate about the “justice” of adjunct professors and part-timers being without healthcare…

    Tenured faculty has voted overwhelmingly–in light of Catholic social teaching–for part-time faculty and adjunct faculty to have the same healthcare as tenured faculty.

    This paradigm should be a norm for every division of the Church that employs people…

    David

  6. David Nickol permalink
    July 25, 2009 2:41 pm

    -Include access for all with a special concern for the poor and vulnerable and support inclusion for legal immigrants;

    Is the USCCB abandoning illegal immigrants? If I am not mistaken, previous statements strongly implied support for coverage for everyone in the country.

    Many illegal immigrants pay taxes toward benefits that they will not be allowed to collect (such a social security). It has pleased me to see the Church in the past stand up for illegal immigrants, and I hope they are not backing down here.

  7. David Wheeler-Reed permalink
    July 25, 2009 3:20 pm

    That’s a good question David… if you find anything out on this please let us know… It does seem that the Church might be “radical” enough to say that illegal immigrants should also have healthcare…

  8. July 26, 2009 9:20 am

    It’s nice of the Bishops to point out they would like to ban federal funding for abortion, but their influence politically is effectively zero.

    Piety without practical wisdom can be dangerous.

  9. Kurt permalink
    July 26, 2009 3:21 pm

    Zach,

    No point for the bishops to wish to ban federal funding of abortion. The Democrats have already beat them to it and done it. It might be said the bishops would like to keep the current ban on federal funding.

  10. ockraz permalink
    July 27, 2009 6:46 am

    My eyes were playing tricks on me. When I read the statement the 1st time, I thought it said ‘illegal’ immigrants because I assumed that that was the stand that they’d take. David Nickol’s comment had me go back and check to be sure- it does (surprisingly) say “legal” immigrants. Hmmmm.

  11. TeutonicTim permalink
    July 27, 2009 8:34 pm

    They’re not saying they necessarily support the bills put forward, they’re saying for voters to include or exclude provisions as they see fit.

    The bulleted goals don’t need to be fulfilled by the federal government, this matter is much better suited by subsidiarity, and charity as healthcare has been for centuries prior to government getting involved within the past 40 years.

  12. Kurt permalink
    July 27, 2009 8:40 pm

    Tim,

    They are not saying they necessarily don’t. The bill favorably addresses the points they have raised.

    The President’s plan IS designed around subsidiarity, with a very limited role for the federal government and a significant role for providers, individual choice, workplace communities and the private sector.

  13. Ronald King permalink
    July 28, 2009 4:50 pm

    Why doesn’t the church develop a healthcare plan made available to anyone?

  14. M.Z. permalink
    July 28, 2009 5:24 pm

    The short answer is that it isn’t economically feasible. The slightly longer answer is that there is no perfect way to price health care and plans. Different benefit structures will tend to attract different demographics. It isn’t like home insurance where a 70-year-old widow is going to want substancially the same thing as a 22-year-old newly wed woman. What happens in health insurance when two pools can co-exist between two companies is that one group turns out to be lower risk than the other. As claims experience builds, premiums on the high risk group increases causes lower risk members of that group to join the other group. As you probably surmise, this becomes a feedback loop until the higher risk pool is bankrupted.

  15. July 28, 2009 6:31 pm

    Ronald,

    I have a simple answer to your question. No one believes in shared responsibility which is what I would think insurance would or should be. Insurance is tied to the individual and a set of experiences that set that individual off against the others.

    Instead of insurance, we have a system that M.Z. accurately describes and then we proceed to call it insurance.

    To me, it is nothing more than gaming the system for the benefit of profit.

    I find the same detestable process with automobiles. Where’s the shared responsibility?

  16. July 28, 2009 6:34 pm

    “This paradigm should be a norm for every division of the Church that employs people…”

    A single payer system would take care of all that inequity. Health care should be a function of shared responsibility.

  17. TeutonicTim permalink
    July 28, 2009 8:34 pm

    The President’s plan IS designed around subsidiarity, with a very limited role for the federal government and a significant role for providers, individual choice, workplace communities and the private sector.

    IS it? Has anyone read it? Have the committees consolidated their bills? If it’s subsidiarity, why is is enacted at the federal level (directing everyone else)? Is it even the Presidents bill? He isn’t guiding anyone, just saying get it done.

  18. Ronald King permalink
    July 28, 2009 8:35 pm

    If we think of it not being economically feasible then isn’t our thinking being conformed to the way of the world? Thus, we then set up expectations based on our conditioning and God’s input is negated.

  19. Cindy permalink
    August 2, 2009 10:04 am

    Ronald, I would have to agree with you. Also if you look at the bible there is the idea of ‘gleanings’. When you harvest your field, don’t reap the entire field. Leave the corners unharvested so that the leftovers–the gleanings–can be gathered by the poor.
    A very beautiful and compassionate rule. Some have even called this the first welfare system. In the Bible no less.
    Why would this not be a shared responsiblity?

  20. Kurt permalink
    August 2, 2009 11:56 am

    IS it?

    Yes.

    Has anyone read it?

    Yes.

    Have the committees consolidated their bills?

    We have the goalposts. Regardless of the resolution of the outstanding issues, the feature of subsidarity is there.

    If it’s subsidiarity, why is is enacted at the federal level (directing everyone else)?

    There is a limited role for the federal government. There is a role for individuals and families. There is a role for the states. There is a role for the insurers, employers, employees, health care providers and faith based and other non-profits. Subsidarity. Each social organ playing its proper role.

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