I have frequently thought on many issues that the Democratic Party provides the "wrong answers to the right questions." How can we provide better assistance to the poor? How can we make sure workers are treated fairly? How can we help women with unwanted pregnancies? How can we give everyone access to needed health care...
As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have told us, everyone deserves medical care, and it is a noble end goal. My own bishop, William Murphy, penned a letter to US Senate Committee on Finance on behalf of the USCCB citing:
"The moral measure of any health-care reform proposal is whether it offers affordable and accessible health care to all, beginning with those most in need…"
In noting this, it is still my opinion, and I do not speak for the Magisterium, that the Catholic position should be AGAINST the President’s Health Care Initiative. There is a grave devil in the details of his plan. The devil is RATIONING.
This concern is so front-and-center, that the Fourth Estate is even shining the spotlight on it. The Wall St. Journal reported from Obama’s town hall meeting this week. A concerned citizen brought up a very real-world, tangible family experience she had and asked Obama if the same respect of life would be given under his plan:
"At one point in the town hall, broadcast from the East Room by ABC news, a woman named Jane Sturm told the story of her 105-year-old mother, who, at 100, was told by an arrhythmia specialist that she was too old for a pacemaker. She ended up getting a second option, and the operation, for which Ms. Sturm credits her survival.
"Look, the first thing for all of us to understand that is we actually have some -- some choices to make about how we want to deal with our own end-of-life care," Mr. Obama replied. After discussing ways "we as a culture and as a society [can start] to make better decisions within our own families and for ourselves," he continued that in general "at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."
What Mr. Obama is describing is his preferred health-care future. If or when the Administration's speculative cost-cutting measures under universal health care fail to produce savings, government will start explicitly limiting patient access to treatments and services regarded as too expensive. Democrats deny this eventuality, but health planners will have no choice, given that the current entitlement system is already barreling toward insolvency without adding millions of new people to the federal balance sheet."
So basically if someone is 65 years old and is diagnosed with a cancer that has a high mortality rate; here is your Advil according to our President.
With this statement, there is the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one will mention. They will dance all around it, but not land on it. Obama’s health care plan will make a clear distinction between two classes of people. Those who are worthy of health care treatment, and those who are not.
Mike Kinsley, who was the original liberal-defending host of CNN’s Crossfire, also sees this reality in The Washington Post:
"But that doesn't mean rationing will be easy to avoid. Statistics on life expectancy or infant mortality are averages. The easiest way to raise your averages -- maybe even the best way, if we're being honest -- is to concentrate on the general level of care and not to squander a lot on long-odds cases. But if the long-odds case is you or a family member, you may well feel differently.
...Here is a handy-dandy way to determine whether the failure to order some exam or treatment constitutes rationing: If the patient were the president, would he get it? If he'd get it and you wouldn't, it's rationing."
Even super-liberal Mike Kinsley knows what is coming.
Now, back to my Catholic case against the President’s Health Care Plan. The danger, as mentioned, is setting up two classes of people. Some of the darkest chapters of world history began with this premise and resulted in genocide. This is not hyperbole.
If we, as a society, determine that someone who is possibly treatable does not warrant life-saving or life-extending care because of their demographics or situation- just pain medication - the next logical, expedient, cost-savings and obvious secular step is saying why should this person suffer with absolutely no hope. It’s pointless. We should put them out of their misery. Euthanasia is the demonic offspring to the rationed health care that Obama speaks of. This is my grave concern and should be yours.
The immediate front lines of this second class of people, and starting point, will be the handicapped, the elderly, the terminally and chronically ill and less-than-perfect newborns.
This is why His Excellency Bishop Murphy then follows the above statement in his letter to our government with:
"All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they can afford, and this should not depend on their stage of life, where or whether they or their parents work, how much they earn, or where they live or where they come from,"
Obama’s Health Care Plan is in direct conflict with this second statement and therefore, in my opinion, can not be supported by Catholics. There are other, better solutions out there that do not lead to this culture-of-death end, literally.