The Kansas City Bishops wrote an important statement concerning universal health care that bucks the conventional wisdom concerning the USCCB and ObamaCare:
The right of every individual to access health care does not necessarily suppose an obligation on the part of the government to provide it. Yet in our American culture, Catholic teaching about the “right” to healthcare is sometimes confused with the structures of “entitlement.” The teaching of the Universal Church has never been to suggest a government socialization of medical services. Rather, the Church has asserted the rights of every individual to have access to those things most necessary for sustaining and caring for human life, while at the same time insisting on the personal responsibility of each individual to care properly for his or her own health.
Check out Catholic Key for the entire letter. It’s worth the read.
I think this is a brave and important statement from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Bishop Robert W. Finn. The Church, of course, is for access to healthcare for all. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that socialized medicine is necessary. In fact, there’s much argument that while socialized medicine might bring about equality in some areas, it would almost certainly bring about worse healthcare for all.
Many, however, seem to believe that abortion should be the only issue that should make Catholics pause. And while that is the biggest reason to oppose Obamacare it is hardly the only one.
If the White House declared food a right would the USCCB support that? I fear I know the answer to that question. But putting government as the gateway to all things has been tried and we know that typically ends with starvation and poverty.
As Christians we should work to feed the poor. As Christians we should work to limit the suffering of others. That doesn’t mean that government should by the source of these things.
Isn’t it possible that as Catholics we believe that the best way to ensure access to food, shelter and health care among other things is a properly regulated free market? I get a little tired of hearing that we don’t care about giving the poor access to healthcare because I believe that government is the biggest threat to freedom there is.
And in societies with large centralized governments I think people see other less fortunate people and rather than actually helping them they tsk tsk the government for not having a program to help those people.