Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Religion and Health Care Reform

Posted by Kendall Harmon

BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: As President Obama pushed health care reform a coalition of religious leaders joined the effort with a rally and interfaith prayer service in Washington. The event brought together Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and others who called for universal and affordable health care. The group said health care is a moral issue and called the nation’s current situation too immoral to tolerate. One of the participants in that interfaith coalition is Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby. Her order is the Sisters of Social Service. She is also a lawyer. Sister, welcome.

Sister SIMONE CAMPBELL (Executive Director, NETWORK): Thank you.

ABERNETHY: In that coalition, your number one priority is expanding health care for everyone. Talk about that.

Sr. CAMPBELL: It’s a shocking outrage in our country. It’s a moral outrage that we have almost 50 million people without coverage, without access to a doctor, and we have even hundreds of thousands more that can’t even use the coverage that they have. That’s wrong. We have to change it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture

10 Comments
Posted June 29, 2009 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jeffersonian wrote:

The 50 million figure is a canard, a falsehood so frequently debunked that it can only be called a lie anymore.  Furthermore, is there anyone in America “without access to a doctor?”

Government-provided healthcare is already bankrupting state and federal governments.  Isn’t destroying a nation’s economy a trifle “immoral,” too?

June 29, 11:24 am | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

Here’s a delightful passage where throwing grandma from the train becomes public policy:

ABERNETHY: Let’s talk about that — especially for older people. We read that there is just a whole lot of stuff that is prescribed and ordered that, at least in retrospect, looks as if it wasn’t really necessary and that the biggest savings are in what’s done for people in the last part of their lives.

Sr. CAMPBELL: Well, that is a significant area of savings. There’s a lot of evidence that the fear of dying keeps us holding on to life in such ways that extraordinary means get used on a regular basis, and that makes it really challenging for limiting costs. There are other places where cost savings can be obtained, too, but that’s a big one.

June 29, 11:36 am | [comment link]
3. rlw6 wrote:

Back to killing off the old and the very young and then we will have a nice place to live.  Lets see, if you are over 30 you are only alowed to have pain killers, you have to be out of the womb for a month before you can have any treatment, now that would be an affordable system that could be given to everyone.  We would have to kill everyone off at the age of 30 though to keep those rich people from extending their lives unfairly.  Didn’t they make a movie about this?

June 29, 11:57 am | [comment link]
4. Dave B wrote:

It is estimated that 20% of health care cost is spent on protection from medical law suit. An article I ran across,  Medical lawsuit fears drive up cost of care
Posted by Trisha Torrey/Every Patient’s Advocate columnist February 03, 2009 states that unneeded medical tests so Doctors can protect themselves cost 130 billion per year.  We will never see medical tort reform discussed as a medical issue because the Democrates are firmly in the trial lawyers pocket.  I would like to see a work man’s comp type insurance policy for known complications, primiums paided for by the hospital, patient and Doctor that would restrict law suits but provide compensation to the patient and not the trial lawyer!!  This would help reduce unnecessary medical tests. What is the differance betwwen a dead snake and a lawyer that have been hit by cars? There are skid marks in front of the sanke….

June 29, 12:05 pm | [comment link]
5. Dan Crawford wrote:

The comments generated by this article enforce my belief that in spite of the the overwhelming problems in the health care system, nothing substantive will happen. What we will end up with is a health care program which further enriches for-profit insurance corporations, pharmaceutical companies, and the various professional organizations clamoring for their piece of the pie. We already have a health-“care” system formulated on the principles of a sophisticated but effective Social Darwinism.

The answer to Jeffersonian’s rhetorical question (1) is Yes, but s/he doesn’t seem to be interested in facts - a little research will confirm that the problem does exist but her/his answer suggests that does serve the particular ideology governing her/nis thoughts.

As a pastor who has served people denied access to health care because of inability to pay, I have seen first hand how our “system” works - it ain’t pretty. And it sure as hell isn’t one that is remotely Christian. As for the nonsense about “throwing grandma from the train”, have you any idea how many of our elderly are treated today in the wide of variety or personal care, assisted living and nursing homes? And if Jeffersonian honestly believes that health-care is the reason for the wretched state of our economy and had nothing at all to do with Wall Street, banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies, and all the other little piggies gorging themselves on other people’s money, well, ignorance is bliss. I’d love to live in her/his alternative universe.

June 29, 4:55 pm | [comment link]
6. Dave B wrote:

Massachusetts health care system going bankrupt after two years (here is a good article:Mass. healthcare reform is failing us
By Susanne L. King
March 2, 2009 ) Hawaii’s system went broke after 7 months. Who pays for health care, who knows what cost cap and trade (just passed in the House) will carry how much debt can we pile on?

June 29, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
7. BillS wrote:

For dan Crawford and others who believe that Government run health care will somehow solve or ameliorate the problems that concern them:
We have single payer, government run, free health care. Its called the VA system. If government sponsored health care is so wonderful, why is it that most veterans go anywhere but a VA hospital if they can?
Why are those who advocate government health care not using the VA hospitals as beacons of success in the health care debate? And, why are members of congress and the administration exempting themselves from the new plan? The answer is obvious. Government health care is not delivering better health care than the existig system. It is about government control over our lives, with fewer choices, less freedom, and a lower standard of living for each and every one us, so that the Nancy Pelosi’s of the world can have more power.

June 29, 5:35 pm | [comment link]
8. Paula Loughlin wrote:

NETWORK is a dissident Catholic organization that has butted heads with the Vatican in the past. 

  From an article at InsideCatholic.com 6/20/08
“How The Catholic Left Is Boxed In By Abortion” by William Donahue

“In 1983, NETWORK took the side of a dissident nun who refused to denounce publicly funded abortions. When the Sisters of Mercy nun refused, the Vatican stepped in to force her to leave her order. NETWORK responded with boilerplate, saying it ‘deeply regrets the authoritarian exercise of administrative power on the part of Vatican officials.’ “

“The very next year, Sr. Marjorie Tuite, a founder of NETWORK, was herself threatened with expulsion from her order, the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary in Columbus, Ohio, when she signed a New York Times ad calling on the Catholic Church to reconsider its opposition to abortion. When she died two years later, she was remembered for accusing the Church of treating women unjustly for opposing abortion.”

It is a shame but when I read a statement by a Sister I expect to find at least a kernel of dissent, if not a whole row full, more often than not.  Such is the sad state of so many religious orders these days. 

So please do not rely on what this Sister says for the whole of Catholic Social Justice teaching.  Which I believe the article is trying to imply.

June 29, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
9. Dan Crawford wrote:

Dan Crawford does not believe that Government run health care will solve all our problems. Dan Crawford does believe that the privatization of health care as it exists today sucks. He wonders, for example, why his insurance company requires him and his doctor to fill out forms that are meant to provide all sorts of loopholes for insurance companies to avoid paying for health costs, and why medicare is not permitted to bargain with pharmaceutical companies for the best price on drugs for those on medicare, why great pains are taken to preserve profits at the expense of providing minimal care for the uninsured. Dan Crawford waits for some adequate - but he will settle for at least a half-hearted responses - to the mess we are in. Unfortunately, he will have to rely on politicians who have and continue to slurp up great gobs of moolah from the people who cause the problem. Given all the brain power it takes to yell “Socialized Medicine”, one would think that even Republicans might be tempted to employ all or some of their creative energy to begin to apply market principles to an industry dominated by monopolies. Monopolies pay better, I guess.

June 29, 8:48 pm | [comment link]
10. Dave B wrote:

Dan, this is a two edged sword.  Doctors can’t get adequate compensation for proceedures because reimbursement is tied to medicade fees in some cases,ie insurance companies don’t want to pay any more than the government will.  Right now I can’t get my perscritions filled at my local pharmacy becuase my insurnace compny won’t let me becuase they get a better deal at large mail perscription companies.  There is not an easy solution but I do believe it works better than the ACC!  At least something gets done…

June 29, 9:16 pm | [comment link]
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