Thursday, March 18, 2010

Universal Healthcare?

Any thoughts on the Big Bill?


  1. My friend,

    Although I have many conceptual ideas about healthcare in the US, I don't have many specific opinions about this bill, simply for the obvious reason that I haven't taken too much time to study it. I do have things to say about it, though, and much to say about the idea of healthcare in America. However, I am trekking out to the dirges of Michigan early tomorrow morning to help chaperone the high school YES retreat. Keep us in your prayers. When I return, I plan on discussing heath care. Plus, I am anxious to return to our discussion of Camus. Until then, think well, pray better, and love best.

  2. It did worry me at one point. Since I am unemployed, yet young and healthy, I enjoy the fact that I do not need to pay for insurance. From my limited understanding of the bill, I will be forced to have (and pay) for health insurance.
    One question I had about the bill was about illegal immigrants. Currently, I believe if an illegal immigrant is injury, our hosptitals are required to receive them in the ER. And since there they have no insurance, they are treated and let go, free of charge. With this bill, will you be required to have in insurance to be treated, including the ER? Or similarily, will this bill affect illegal immigrants and their "free" emergency healthcare?

  3. Yoda, emergency rooms can't refuse anyone by law, so that won't change. The idea though is that w/ more ppl paying into it (like social security) the gov't won't have to cover so many hospital bills. I have a couple thoughts on the bill: one is that paying for abortions is no good, and two is what do we think about universal healthcare if it wasn't being used to expand abortion as a health right? What does the Church teach on healthcare? Seems to me the institution of the hospital, started by the Church in the "Dark" Ages, was mainly to help the poor to begin with. However, is it ok for a minority to coerce the majority to do something good?

  4. Most of my thoughts concerning healthcare will remain in the abstract. This is because a) I do not feel comfortable discussing the present policy, considering I haven’t studied it intently, and b) I think perhaps some of the general principles need to be settled before they can be applied to this present, or any, situation.

    I believe that an established and developed society has a moral obligation to the poor. This is the foundation of the rest of my discussion here. So many of the Israelites laws and decrees were aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable. When you read the Psalms, the good man is most often presented as the man who protects the widows and defenseless. God is so often presented as the defender of those defenseless and poor. And when we move to the New Testament, Christ busies himself most often with the poorer classes.

    When we read the Church’s social teaching, a component of it is the “preferential option for the poor.” I don’t have space, or knowledge, enough to really expand too much on this now. (Perhaps we should read the original documents on this for the next philosophy night. I like the idea.) Let me just say for now that a society must empathetically take the stance of those marginalized and voiceless when it makes policy and social institutions. Our obligation is to defend the defenseless; however, what exactly this means is where we disagree.

    I’ve always come to the conclusion (acknowledging my thought has neither been extensive nor sophisticated) that a country such as ours should have some sort of automatic healthcare for everyone, simply for the reason of our obligation to the poor. (Is this universal healthcare? I’m not sure.) Is healthcare a universal right? In one sense, no, because healthcare means so many different things – so is the US version of healthcare a universal right? But in a different sense, I think it is a universal right. I think it comes under the rights of life and pursuit of happiness. (I realize I am using the Declaration of Independence to establish universal rights. It’s not the strongest of arguments, but I think my point is made.)

    I guess my rambling comes down to this: a) we have an obligation to the poor; b) the Church teaches the “preferential option for the poor;” c) the US is a developed country that can give healthcare to the poor without refusing any basic rights to life to others; d) from A, B, C, the US should have some sort of healthcare that the poor automatically have.