Church and Health Care
I have been on the sidelines in the huge health care debate, I find so many good and bad effects in all the proposals I have seen up to now. The first thing to note is that I am swamped by health care bills- one-third of my gross income goes straight to United Health, and then add in co-pays, and some recent Mayo Clinic extra’s, and you get the idea- “Help!”. I can see how many good people with fulltime jobs and HMO health insurance coverage, are still at risk of bankruptcy if they or their kids get struck down with anything approaching serious or chronic medically.
The problem is compounded by the very real situation of how almost all of us are in some or a lot of danger when it comes to being laid-off from that full-time work- and many Catholics like myself- have wives that are home by choice to better nurture our kids. Ugh! Lose your job, lose your insurance or pay for COBRA which you can’t afford because you don’t have a job- Double Ugh!
Obviously- something big has to come down- we are screaming for reform- but whose reform? What reform? Who can be trusted? Well- I don’t want my tax monies paying for someone’s contraception and certainly no one’s abortion. I don’t want end of life counseling that smacks of “Soylent Green is People!”. So- our Government is rife with liberal establishment types who don’t have pro-life worldviews, and government bureaucrats aren’t always so efficient and friendly either. Now, I have to say I don’t trust the Republican establishment types either- they seem so smitten with big corporate interests, and I don’t think they really do comprehend the economic worries of those of us in the low-to-middling Middle Class. They are doing fine, they seem to presume we are all swell too- not so fast.
Ok- so I don’t trust Big Gov Libs heading by “above my pay grade” Obama, and I don’t trust McCain to really feel my angst as he tries to remember how many homes he and his wife have accumulated this year. So- I have stayed close to the sidelines cringing. But now I have struck upon an idea that I have no idea if it is even out there.
If we don’t trust Big Gov and we don’t trust Big HMO’s, and we are living in something of a new Post-Christian Age of High Tech Barbarian Tribalism- then why shouldn’t the American Catholic Church, already organized along Diocesan lines- simply form a non-profit Health Insurance entity and encourage every Catholic in every parish to be a part of it. Completely open books, open hearts, with each of us encouraging one another to live healthier lives- both spiritually and physically since we will are all affecting one another in a Family way already by being members of Christ’s Mystical Body. This way we could easily exclude contraception, abortion and euthanasia from our Catholic-inspired insurance plans, and we could make the costs adjusted to one’s income, so we could deal with lay-offs, or try to start up our own businesses with much less worry.
Ideally- the Church shouldn’t have to organize this aspect of the temporal order- but in crisis times, the Church must step in to stay consistent with Christ’s commands to ‘Love our Neighbor’. We need organized help, the Church is organized, we need solid moral principles to guide our health care system, and to encourage better, safer, healthier lifestyles- The Church is the master of that game. Maybe I am late to this debate, and maybe I have missed this argument somewhere while I have been focused on my more immediate duties at home and in my classroom. If so, I apologize and let you get back to the more refined points of progressive discourse. One final note- as a point of ecumenical contact, we could look at having some other Christian denominations join in- those that are committed to the moral guidelines proposed above. Insurance is in many ways a numbers game- Catholics are 20-25% of the population- that’s a large pool to spread costs and risks- don’t you think?