The American Health Care Reformation

Reformation in health care for America

In recent weeks, three major Catholic organizations have shown questionable support for the current health care reform efforts.  This has revealed either a huge naiveté or a blatant ideological bias on their part.  Perhaps it is both.  I don’t know but I wish it weren’t so.

The organizations are The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association. These organizations are on the fore-front of helping the poor and the work that they do is truly commendable. That’s all well and good. But it seems their great desire to help the poor has blinded them to the politics and corruption involved.  In the process, they’ve also put into question their devotion to protecting some of the poorest in the world – the unborn.

They all want health care reform, which is good.  But it’s how they’re going about promoting it that I have a problem with.

The Catholic Health Association’s central theme to their website is “I can’t wait for health care reform!” Catholic Charities USA says the same thing. The Society of St. Vincent De Paul recently issued the statement, “Please call and e-mail your Representative in the next 24 hours expressing your support for Congress to enact health care reform now.”  Their websites and calls to action are littered with an urgency to enact health care reform.  The problem is that nowhere do they clarify that the current health care reform being proposed is terrible!  Their statements of support and demands for you and I to “support congress” in what they’re doing gives the impression that they support these current reform proposals.  Could this be?  Do they know what are in these bills?

What has brought even more attention to this story is the apparent ignorance on the part of the these organizations that the current health care reform efforts support federally funded abortions. Such organizations should be the very first ones to not only understand and know that legislation includes such evil, but to also speak out against it!

Not only is such information relatively easy to find if one looks, but would anyone in their right mind expect anything less from legislation supported by the most pro-abortion president and congressional leaders in history? To believe otherwise you’d either have to be completely naive or blinded by your own agenda.

Granted, due to the uproar of the Catholic pro-life community, Catholic Charities USA has released another letter clarifying that they do not support legislation that supports abortion. The Society of St. Vincent De Paul did something similar. That’s good and just that they’ve done so.  But #1) the cat is already out of the bag. Their flawed blindness in their approach to this issue (or perhaps their naivete) has been exposed.  And #2) this only addresses the issue of abortion and not the fact that this current effort of reform will actually hurt our health care system and our country.

One of the core principles for reform that Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association stand for is that it should be “Sufficiently and fairly financed.” Everyone knows that nobody has found any solution to finance (at all, much less sufficiently or fairly) the currently proposed bills. Yet these huge and respected Catholic organizations are calling for people to cheer them along and pass a bill (now!) that not even those voting on it understand or can explain? This is totally and utterly irresponsible. And in the end it will only contribute to destroying our health care system, not helping it.

Is there anything wrong with wanting health care reform? Or course not. We do indeed need health care reform. Again, it is good to promote and support real and effective health care reform.  The problem is that these organizations have clearly jumped on the “we need to pass some type of bill called ‘health care reform'” bandwagon regardless of whether the reform is actually good reform.

Reform is not always good. I seem to remember a point in history when the Church needed a little reform. A nice man named Martin Luther said “I can’t wait for reform!” And the “Reformation” that followed was one of the greatest tragedies in human history.

If we continue down the current path of reform set forth by this president and his ideological counterparts in congress, America is going to have its own health care “Reformation” to look back on that looks much more like a deformation.

It is naive for these great Catholic organizations to play into this hyped-up, false sense of urgency that says we must pass something as fast as possible no matter how big, complex, and not yet understood it may be. That is destructive of democracy and our constitutional republic. These organizations do necessary and important work.  They should be supportive of reform but advocating caution on the part of congress and on the part of Americans.  They are leaders in this arena and share a great responsibility for not leading Catholics astray.

They should be offering scrutiny and constructive criticism – not campaigns that encourage Catholics to blindly call and tell their congress person to “pass reform now!” What a dangerous thing to do. They are playing right into one of the largest power grabs in history executed by a government not at all friendly to many foundational Catholic moral principles.

Of greater concern in all of this is that so many are willing to give up, or at least forget, the basic principles of limited government that have secured our freedom to freely practice for so long – the freedom that allows real charity to exist in the first place. And they do it all for a bureaucratic attempt at a government controlled health care Utopia – something that inevitably ends in dysfunction, tyranny, and overall worse care. This is a lesson our founding fathers had to fix the hard way. I pray we’re not destined to do the same.

Let’s proceed with caution and not end up with a Reformation more than we’ve bargained for.

14 comments Add comment

Andreas August 7, 2009 at 2:06 pm

“And they do it all for a bureaucratic attempt at a government controlled health care Utopia – something that inevitably ends in dysfunction, tyranny, and overall worse care.”
Yeah… I really felt very oppressed in my homeland Germany.
– no pre-existing conditions
– free choice of doctor and hospital
– no-pay at the doctors (pharmacies took a few euro)
– private insurers under government supervision
– EVERYBODY is covered

I guess it is the weird believe that your health is a right and not a privilege. Some things should not be for profit. The government doesn’t need to make records profit. It’s enough to come out even. But even if we spend tax money on this: this is FOR the people.

A truly terrible and tyrannical system that corrupted and destroyed Germany, right? I’d rather be ripped off by US insurance companies and have a corporate bureaucrat decide whether I am covered or not – regardless of whether I paid my premiums or not.

If you don’t feel a sense of urgency NOW, well, you must be asleep.

Phil August 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Matt, with all due respect, you are writing bout things you do not understand because you do not live them. See my response on your other post about Healthcare Reform.

Do you pay $1500+/ month for health insurance? Will you pay $2000+ in two years if the status quo is maintained?

Do you have a grandfather/grandmother/aunt/uncle/mom/dad/friend who has suffered (or even died) because they could not afford health insurance?

Ever know someone who was saved of financial ruin by Medicare (a GOV program)?

Again, I mean this post with due respect. I understand your concerns. But what I see all over the news everywhere is a battle: it’s a battle over ideals. One side is insured (ho-hum) and anti-government and the other is uninsured, financially ruined and dying.

Perhaps we should move swiftly to help the unisured, financially ruined, dying folks and deal with the gripes about GOV later.

Matthew Warner August 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Phil – you’re missing the point. I’m not proposing to do nothing. You are acting as if the only option is to do NOTHING or to have the government fundamentally change how our health care system is run.

This is a false dichotomy put out there as liberal talking points to scare people into doing the option on the table. There are infinite number of solutions in the middle and otherwise.

I’m opposed to the government getting involved more than I think it has to and fundamentally changing the way the best quality and most productive health care system in the world is run. That’s all. Not sure why that’s such an extreme point of view.

Matthew Warner August 7, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Andreas – I understand your point of view and why you see things that way. There are plenty that would disagree with you on their quality of health care in Germany, but that’s beside the point.

I’m not speaking only in terms of what happens in a decade or a generation. I’m talking about what happens in the long term with such programs – particularly as it relates to our liberty, government power and corruption.

You may be willing to give up some of your freedom to let a government run more of your life. I, and many other Americans, are not. America was founded on a principle of limited government. One many fought and died for. I think that is lost on so many today who have come here since or have forgotten it in our entitlement culture.

Phil August 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Matt, please share with me this ‘other’ plan.

My point is, what you are suggesting (i.e. this great alternative plan, which I didn’t know exists) will take 10 more years to get done. Tell me it won’t. I need reform today. I am willing to deal with the consequences of more gov control today so that I am not unisured in 2 years. This plan is not an end all be all…that is real false dichotomy that you and others seem to share.

Artie Catalano August 8, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Here again the people that fully support this are siding with the left and not for the good of the people at heart.

This is exactly how I feel about “health care reform”.

I reject right-wing agitprop that denies that a right to health care exists. I also reject any attempt the Left may make to pit the right to health care against lesser goods like profit, or to cast the weak, sick, and old as Lebensunwertes Leben. It’s not either/or but an ordered both/and: the hierarchy of goods. I will vehemently oppose any attempt to subordinate the good of persons to systems that urge the death of the costly for the sake of cost-cutting, whether by neglect (the preferred method of the “health care is not a right” crowd on the Talk Radio Right) or euthanasia and abortion (the preferred Lefty method).

Both parties are, in their own ways, about power. Only the Church’s teaching is actually ordered toward the primacy of the person and the family. Rather than with the tribal pieties, shibboleths, Pavlovian responses, and slogans of our tribal political culture, we should try to begin our thinking with that.

Artie Catalano August 8, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Phil I will say that there should be no rush to approve any program that surrenders control over one’s destiny to a government agency. A government that approves of killing the preborn is certainly not a government one can trust with health care.

Barbara Le Breton August 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I think the problem with the current view is that for some reason people believe that the if the U.S. utilizes a single payer plan that it would be comparable to the system in Canada. This is just not the case. In Canada they have fewer physicians and less technology than is currently in place in the U.S. The fact that we have many more physicians per person in the U.S. as well as MRI machines, CT machines, and other technoligies already in place almost guarantees that our system would never be like the Canadian or British systems. The reason the Canadians and British have to wait for medical services is partly dependent on the resources they currently have. The current proposed program does not support a single payer plan. Whether or not it evolves into that is something noone really knows and I believe it would only happen if it proved to be the best option. I don’t think that anyone can actually profess to know what the best system will be, but I think we know the current system is not working in terms of current and projected increases as well as return on our investment. The whole point of the Obama program is to begin a process that will change the way we conduct our medical practices and has more to do with trying to create a system that encourages people to be proactive in their own health. The current proposed program does not surrender conrol over ones destiy to a government agency. For those of us who currently have healthcare, our healthcare programs will remain the same if we so choose. I do think that we need to begin to make some changes in our healthcare system. A system that is controlled by insurance companies can’t be better than one with oversight from the government. I agree that government can be inefficient but when it comes to healthcare but I do not believe that profit should be the motivator when it comes to healthcare. Innovation in medicine is not generally provided by insurance companies. It is driven by private industry that has incentive to create a drug or product that enhances the health and well being of the public. This is has never been accomplished by insurance companies who currently run the system.

As far as your point that the government approves the killing of the unborn, this is just not true. We all have choices in life. If we own a gun we can choose to kill or not to kill; if we are pregnant we can choose to abort or not to abort. because the government allows individuals to make decisions regarding these very personal decisions does not mean we cannot trust the government.

Artie Catalano August 10, 2009 at 9:37 pm

As far as your point that the government approves the killing of the unborn, this is just not true..

It is true and you basically say it is true by using the word “choice” as if the choice at hand is not killing an unborn child.

If we own a gun we can choose to kill or not to kill.

Yes and there are consequences.

if we are pregnant we can choose to abort or not to abort.

I am all for choice, but it is the choice at hand and that is the killing of an innocent child in the womb. Personal or Public the result is still the same.

Matthew Warner August 10, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Yep, and I shouldn’t be forced to pay for anyone to kill their child either (which is what this public option would open up).

“a system that encourages people to be proactive in their own health.”

Sounds great. Totally on board there. What does a public option have to do with that? Nothing. And actually, offering such a cheaper, gov run plan that subsidizes trips to the doctor will do exactly the opposite. It will enable even more people to depend on doctor’s trips…instead of giving them incentive to stay healthy in the first place.

It’s a complex system and a complex problem. I think a public option is just going to make it worse in the long run.

Barbara Le Breton August 10, 2009 at 10:54 pm

From what I have read the House and Senate versions of this legislation do not contain any requirement that federal funding be made available for abortions, however, I have also read that the bill is short on details and depending on how the regulations are written, some women who purchased federally subsidized insurance through a public option might be able to buy plans that cover abortions. I appreciate your concerns in this area since I know you are passionate about your beliefs but I also don’t expect this bill to be any kind of a panacea for our healthcare ills. I’m sure I will not like everything in it just as you will not, I only think that we must begin to move toward some kind of improvements or we will spend the next 15 years like the last with exponential healthcare increases. No one is going to get exactly what they want…. That rarely happens in a democracy

pinko August 11, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Just for the record, on the issue of ‘will I be forced to pay for someone’s abortion?’ says no.
Politifact says no.
NYTimes says no.

I’d love to find something where Glenn Beck says no because I’m sure that would settle this once and for all, but… he’s not one for checking facts.

Matthew Warner August 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm

All – go read the links Pinko provided. They say all you need to know. Just make sure you actually read what they claim.

If you ask the question, “Do these health care bills specifically say they provide for abortion?” The answer is no – of course not. There is no specific wording. But if you ask anyone who knows what is going on here, even democrats, they will admit that these bills (most versions) will allow for abortion coverage unless we have specific wording that restricts it.

Additionally, despite the hyde amendment, our dollars already go to cover abortions where the “health of the mother” is in danger. And anyone in the abortion industry knows that means you can get an abortion for just about any reason up until birth.

All you need to know is that in most all versions of these bills democrats REFUSE to put in wording that would deny federal dollars going to abortion. Pinko – why would they do this if what you are claiming is true? I know you are smart enough to know why. There are legit points to debate on this topic. This is not one of them.

Even DEMOCRATS themselves are speaking out affirming this: here and here and plenty of other places.

Wake up people! And Pinko – I think you have an unhealthy obsession with Glenn Beck.

Artie Catalano August 11, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I think people forget what the Catholic Church is really about. It is not the oppressing right wing religious institution nor is it the left winged culture of death mentality.


I am all about health care reform, but what Obama is trying to do is not justified in my Catholic world view.

Previous post:

Next post: