Catholic Health Association is Big Business?

1 comment

When Catholics hear the name of an organization like “Catholic Health Association” (CHA) they immediately assume they are there to look out for Catholic interests – particularly in this health care debate.  And one would at least expect that such an organization would be making Catholic teaching a priority.  But that is not necessarily the case.

Even worse, a lot of media try to pass off approval by CHA as somehow being synonymous with approval by the Catholic Church.  Again, that is most certainly not the case.

CHA is not a repository of Catholic social teaching with regard to health care or an association of moral theologians or a charity in service of the poor. It is a trade association. There is nothing wrong with a trade association, but too many reporters, including members of the Catholic press, have sought comment from CHA without recognizing they are primarily an organization with a vested financial interest in the outcome of the health care debate.

The executives at these companies are compensated as you’d expect the heads of large corporations to be compensated. In the last year figures are available, the head of Ascension Health made $1,756,790 plus $599,744 in deferred compensation and benefits. Catholic Health East’s top exec made $1,185,000 plus $693,000 in deferred compensation and benefits. Both execs are on the board of CHA, where they are joined by numerous execs from similar health systems. [Full story]

Too often we assume that because something is an “association” or a “union” or a “non-profit” or a “.org” or an “advocacy group” or a “charity” or a government program that they are not interested in getting their hands on lots of money. Or that they are not susceptible to corruption or influenced by lobbies. In the end, there isn’t a lot of difference between these large organizations (who deal in lots of money, pay high dollar contracts, do big favors for each other and pay lucrative salaries) and then what so many others disdainfully call “big business.”

In fact, on many levels, big businesses are held even more accountable than the other types of organizations mentioned because big businesses are actually owned by many individuals (share holders) with a stake in the company. Many of those other organizations have nowhere near the same such accountability and often end up far more corrupt.

1 comment Add comment

Leticia Velasquez November 7, 2009 at 11:37 pm

When an organization bears the name “Catholic” it must represent the moral teaching of the Church. Or be disbanded. This type of money first attitude was not the intention of thousands of sisters who sacrificed to build Catholic hospitals in this nation. They must be very dismayed as they look down from Heaven.
Maybe it’s time to abandon them and begin anew. Under Obamacare, we may have to. Will it be possible to be a Catholic medical professional in a system run by health czars like Kathleen Sibelius and Ezekiel Emmanuel?

Previous post:

Next post: