Friday, March 19, 2010

Health Care issues

As someone who knows what it's like to be without insurance, I'd love to see a good health care bill passed. But there's more than a little controversy about how good is good enough.
If I had more political/economic savvy, I could probably read the 2,000 pages of proposed legislation fruitfully, but as it is, I am way out of my depth in any political/economic context. What I am seeing, though, is that across the US, our Catholic bishops (who have been promoting the idea of universal health care for decades) cannot bring themselves to accept the bill as it currently stands. It includes direct federal funding of elective abortions, invalidating in one move all the legislation that has been passed since 1973 in that regard. More ominously, neither the Senate bill nor the "reconciliation bill" provide the conscience protections that respect the rights of individual health care workers.
This can't be good.
How likely is it that, once the bill is passed, its most serious flaws will be corrected? Shouldn't they be addressed at the starting gate?
Here are some thoughtful responses by several groups of US bishops that are well worth considering.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Sr. Anne. This is very enlightening. Let us support pro-life and let us pray for minds and hearts to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

Sister Anne,

Thanks for commenting on this issue--it's one that will affect a lot of people. However, I believe that you are mistaken about the direct funding of abortions in the bill. The Senate bill (and I apologize that I can't quote for you) maintains the standards set up in the "Hyde Ammendment"--that no federal funds may be used to fund abortions, but that individuals states may fund them if they wish from state funds for Medicaid recipients. If people who get subsidies to purchase insurance wish to have coverage for abortions, then they have to pay for that coverage themselves and the insurance company must keep that money segregated from other funds. In addition, there must be at least one plan available in every state that does not cover abortion at all. Also, a number of studies have found that in Massachusetts (which has an exchange like those proposed in the federal bill and uses state funds to provide abortion) abortions have actually gone down among the poor. That's not to say that this bill is perfect, but I think that it's a good step in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

I've been without insurance too. It cost me thousands of dollars out of pocket, but I was never denied healthcare. As a volunteer Firefighter/EMT I have taken plenty of poor people to the ER and at times they didn't even give their real names to the staff, but they still had healthcare.

The Catholic Bishops have never met a welfare bill that they didn't like. I applaud them for standing up against this one, even if it's only because of the abortion issue. However I am tired of working 12 hour days and watching the government take more than half my income every year. I earn too much to be "poor" and not enough to be wealthy, unless you are dealing with the IRS. Then I'm wealthy.

I earn 80k/yr. I have no car payments. My newest vehicle is 12 years old with 150k miles on it. My house is 900 square feet, but I pay over 4k/yr in property taxes for it. By the time I buy food, gas, mortgage, taxes, utilities, insurance etc there is nothing left over at the end of the month. I haven't been on a vacation since 1999. There are 5 people in my household.

My co-workers are all in the same boat.

It is not charity to hold a gun to someone's head and demand the lion's share of their earnings to redistribute to others deemed to be less fortunate. That is exactly what the government does now.

A friend blames our fiscal problems on defense spending. Yet more money goes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid right now than goes to the DOD. Go figure.

I'm rambling, but one thing is for sure. Things can't continue to go the way they are going or the wheels will come off the bus. If they haven't already done so. We are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs and in an attempt to spread the wealth, but in the end all we spread is misery.

harv681 said...

As a nurse, I have been fortunate to have always had decent healthcare coverage for myself and my family through my hospital employer. In the distant past, I was assigned one morning to assist with an elective abortion. I refused. The charge nurse took issue and I said, "Fire me. I won't do it." She backed down re-arranged the assignments. I'd hate to lose my job and it would really put my family in a serious bind, but if there is no "conscience clause," I won't hesitate to refuse to act against my principles.

Anonymous said...

How I wish that our elected officials had the cojones of that stalwart nurse.

Anonymous said...

Amen for the nurse. She is walking the walk. I often wonder what I would do if my faith was put to the test in such a way. It is certainly a modern form of persecution.

My wife is disabled and we spend alot of time with health professionals. Good nurses are worth their weight in gold!