The beginning of health care
Whatever the parameters of the health care debate shape up to be,
the US bishops have reminded legislators of its logical and fundamental
premise: human beings worthy of care cannot also be singled out for
That should be beyond question, but it’s a rhetorical minefield.
On May 20, 2009 the U.S. Catholic Bishops, through
Bishop William F. Murphy, the Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on
Domestic Justice and Human Development, placed the following statement
in the Congressional Record at a formal roundtable discussion on
“Expanding Health Care Coverage”:
“…The Catholic bishops of the United States have been and continue
to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform leading
to accessible and affordable health care for all…
“While we support reforming our nation’s health care system, we must
also be clear in strongly opposing inclusion of abortion as part of a
national health care benefit. For decades, Congress has decided not to
compel people to pay for abortions with their tax dollars, and this
policy should remain in place. We also oppose inclusion of other
procedures or technologies that attack or undermine the sanctity and
dignity of life. No health care reform plan should compel us or others
to pay for or participate in the destruction of human life. To preserve
this principle is morally right and politically wise as well. No health
care legislation that compels Americans to pay for or participate in
abortion will find sufficient votes to pass.”
The bishops spell out the details of a comprehensive plan they see as fair and just and necessary.
“Health care is a social good, and accessible and
affordable health care for all benefits both individuals and the
society as a whole. The moral measure of any health care reform
proposal is whether it offers affordable and accessible health care to
all, beginning with those most in need. This can be a matter of life or
death, of dignity or deprivation.
“USCCB looks forward to working with you to reform health care in a
manner that offers accessible, affordable and quality health care that
affirms the life and dignity of all people. This is a most important
national priority. Please be assured of our prayers for you and for the
success of genuine health care reform that protects the life and
dignity of all people.”
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