Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bishops Seek Universal Health Care: Confusion Between having Access to Health Care and having Health Insurance?

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh has written an article called, Bishops Seek Truly Universal Health Care where she states that the Bishops want universal health care that protects the weakest individuals such as the unborn and protects the consciences of the religious.  

But, Sr. Walsh goes on to say: 

"Whatever one feels about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the fact is that tens of thousands of Americans are without health care insurance. This creates a health-care crisis for the nation."  Does Sr. Walsh believe that having health insurance equals having automatic access to good, affordable health care?  
Then she states "This nation needs universal health care".  
I agree that everyone should have access to health care but does government run health care really work?  Has government run health care been shown to protect the rights of of both patients and the consciences of religious or has it been proven to the contrary, that it violates those rights?  While the health care system in the United States has some flaws it has a proven medicinal success rate above all other countries.  Other countries which have government run health care may have an increased amount of quantitative care for everyday doctor checkup visits but they don't have quality or quantity health care when a problem occurs - when health care really counts - when a patient is diagnosed with a serious illness.  The government does a cost benefit analysis and determines whether that individual is worth the money it would cost to treat the illness.  Does this constitute truly universal health care according to Sr. Walsh and the Bishops?  I would hope not.  Plus, who in this country is not allowed access to an emergency room?  If the hospital refused to take a person who has no health insurance that hospital could be sued.  But, I do agree that some in poor communities have difficulty in getting to hospitals.  But, it is misleading to imply that hospitals wouldn't accept any person with a legitimate health concern who walked through the emergency room doors.  
Sr. Walsh stated:
"For one thing, the bishops found that the bill did not protect the life of the unborn child. The bishops' concern was borne out afterward as some states sought to use newly-available health care funds for elective abortions. After some cried "foul," the Secretary for Health and Human Services advised these states that such funding was not permitted. Any cleaning up of the bill now ought to guarantee that funds for health care should not be used for elective abortions. 
"Another concern of the bishops is protection of the conscience rights of institutions. Most people understand the need to respect the conscience of an individual, a conscience correctly formed through education and prayer. An institution also has conscience rights, including the right to follow the teachings of its sponsoring organization. No religious organizations should be forced to purchase coverage for procedures it does not approve of, such as contraception and sterilization. No government should force an institution to practice medicine or purchase medical services that run contrary to its basic tenets. Not just the institution but a pluralistic America would suffer if such a right were denied."
I am in full agreement with Sr. Walsh and the bishops on abortion and protecting the conscience rights of both institutions and individuals. 
"The bishops also seek to protect access to health care for immigrants."  
This depends on whether the bishops are referring to legal immigrants or both legal and illegal immigrants.  If it is the former I am fully supportive but if it is the latter I am appalled that our bishops would try to make the United States a land without borders and lawless.  

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