Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/21/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Make your voice heard to our representatives in Congress. Tell them what they need to hear from us: no health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform.'

Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City.

Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/21/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


SIOUX CITY, Iowa (Catholic Online) – We have closely followed the determined leadership of our U.S. Bishops in their defense of life as the continued efforts at Health Care Reform in the United States unfold. Given the extraordinary importance of this issue, the stakes involved and the clarity and wisdom of Bishop R. Walter Nickless’ remarks as one example of the application of Catholic Social teaching in analyzing this process amidst the confusing claims, we have chosen to present them in their entirety for our readers. Catholic Social teaching offers "...principles for reflection, criteria for judgement, and norms and guidelines for action". (CCC 2423) The Bishop gives us one example of the process we should all engage in as we consider the Process going forward. These comments can be found at that the Web Site for the Diocese of Sioux City, www.scdiocese.org.

Bishop R. Walker Nickless is one more good fruit borne from the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States of America. That Archdiocese has been a shining light for the US Catholic Church under the dynamic leadership of Archbishop Charles Chaput. Bishop Nickless was named the 7th Bishop in the 106-year history of the Diocese of Sioux City on November 10, 2005. His selection as Bishop was one of the first appointments made by Pope Benedict XVI, following the death of Pope John Paul II.

*****

"Health Care Reform

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City


“The current national debate about health care reform should concern all of us. There is much at stake in this political struggle, and also much confusion and inaccurate information being thrown around. My brother bishops have described some clear “goal-posts” to mark out what is acceptable reform, and what must be rejected. First and most important, the Church will not accept any legislation that mandates coverage, public or private, for abortion, euthanasia, or embryonic stem-cell research. We refuse to be made complicit in these evils, which frankly contradict what “health care” should mean. We refuse to allow our own parish, school, and diocesan health insurance plans to be forced to include these evils. As a corollary of this, we insist equally on adequate protection of individual rights of conscience for patients and health care providers not to be made complicit in these evils. A so-called reform that imposes these evils on us would be far worse than keeping the health care system we now have.

“Second, the Catholic Church does not teach that “health care” as such, without distinction, is a natural right. The “natural right” of health care is the divine bounty of food, water, and air without which all of us quickly die. This bounty comes from God directly. None of us own it, and none of us can morally withhold it from others. The remainder of health care is a political, not a natural, right, because it comes from our human efforts, creativity, and compassion. As a political right, health care should be apportioned according to need, not ability to pay or to benefit from the care. We reject the rationing of care. Those who are sickest should get the most care, regardless of age, status, or wealth. But how to do this is not self-evident. The decisions that we must collectively make about how to administer health care therefore fall under “prudential judgment.”

“Third, in that category of prudential judgment, the Catholic Church does not teach that government should directly provide health care. Unlike a prudential concern like national defense, for which government monopolization is objectively good – it both limits violence overall and prevents the obvious abuses to which private armies are susceptible – health care should not be subject to federal monopolization. Preserving patient choice (through a flourishing private sector) is the only way to prevent a health care monopoly from denying care arbitrarily, as we learned from HMOs in the recent past. While a government monopoly would not be motivated by profit, it would be motivated by such bureaucratic standards as quotas and defined “best procedures,” which are equally beyond the influence of most citizens. The proper role of the government is to regulate the private sector, in order to foster healthy competition and to curtail abuses. Therefore any legislation that undermines the viability of the private sector is suspect. Private, religious hospitals and nursing homes, in particular, should be protected, because these are the ones most vigorously offering actual health care to the poorest of the poor.

“The best way in practice to approach this balance of public and private roles is to spread the risks and costs of health care over the largest number of people. This is the principle underlying Medicaid and Medicare taxes, for example. But this principle assumes that the pool of taxable workers is sufficiently large, compared to those who draw the benefits, to be reasonably inexpensive and just. This assumption is at root a pro-life assumption! Indeed, we were a culture of life when such programs began. Only if we again foster a culture of life can we perpetuate the economic justice of taxing workers to pay health care for the poor. Without a growing population of youth, our growing population of retirees is outstripping our distribution systems. In a culture of death such as we have now, taxation to redistribute costs of medical care becomes both unjust and unsustainable.

“Fourth, preventative care is a moral obligation of the individual to God and to his or her family and loved ones, not a right to be demanded from society. The gift of life comes only from God; to spurn that gift by seriously mistreating our own health is morally wrong. The most effective preventative care for most people is essentially free – good diet, moderate exercise, and sufficient sleep. But pre-natal and neo-natal care are examples of preventative care requiring medical expertise, and therefore cost; and this sort of care should be made available to all as far as possible.

“Within these limits, the Church has been advocating for decades that health care be made more accessible to all, especially to the poor. Will the current health care reform proposals achieve these goals?

“The current House reform bill, HR 3200, does not meet the first or the fourth standard. As Cardinal Justin Rigali has written for the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-life Activities, this bill circumvents the Hyde amendment (which prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions) by drawing funding from new sources not covered by the Hyde amendment, and by creatively manipulating how federal funds covered by the Hyde amendment are accounted. It also provides a “public insurance option” without adequate limits, so that smaller employers especially will have a financial incentive to push all their employees into this public insurance. This will effectively prevent those employees from choosing any private insurance plans. This will saddle the working classes with additional taxes for inefficient and immoral entitlements. The Senate bill, HELP, is better than the House bill, as I understand it. It subsidizes care for the poor, rather than tending to monopolize care. But, it designates the limit of four times federal poverty level for the public insurance option, which still includes more than half of all workers. This would impinge on the vitality of the private sector. It also does not meet the first standard of explicitly excluding mandatory abortion coverage.

“I encourage all of you to make your voice heard to our representatives in Congress. Tell them what they need to hear from us: no health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform. Insist that they not permit themselves to be railroaded into the current too-costly and pro-abortion health care proposals. Insist on their support for proposals that respect the life and dignity of every human person, especially the unborn. And above all, pray for them, and for our country. (Please see the website for the Iowa Catholic Conference at www.iowacatholicconference.org and www.usccb.org/healthcare for more information)
Your brother in Christ,

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City"

-------

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Politics & Policy

Covered California IN TROUBLE with massive deficit and low enrollment Watch

Image of Covered California continues to be a

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fate of California's newest health insurance exchange, Covered California, may be short after they face high budget deficits and low enrollment numbers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Covered California's original 2015 enrollment deadline was February 15, ... continue reading


Six years of snooping: U.S. unveils six-year-old report on NSA activity Watch

Image of The phone records program, which let the NSA to hunt for communications between terrorists abroad and U.S. residents, had been argued as being ineffective.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If no legislation rules otherwise, the Patriot Act surveillance law will expire this coming June 1. This would not only affect National Security Agency, or NSA surveillance, but other programs used by the FBI to investigate domestic crimes. To this end, the ... continue reading


House of Representatives may subpoena Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server Watch

Image of Asked to evaluate Clinton's chances of being elected the next president of the United States, Boehner said Hillary Clinton could be a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House of Representatives may subpoena Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server if she does not voluntarily surrender it for examination by an independent party, John Boehner revealed this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I've not made any decisions ... continue reading


Eating at the government's table: 353,000 refugees on food stamps, 55,000 receiving SSI Watch

Image of They come from faraway lands to the United States in search of a better life - all on the taxpayer's dime.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They come from faraway lands to the United States in search of a better life - all on the taxpayer's dime. It has been learned that at least 350,000 refugees in the U.S. are on food stamps, according the Congressional Research Service, or CRS. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Bill and Hillary Clinton have been 'disorganized and greedy,' analyst says Watch

Image of Regardless of Bill Clinton's personal feelings about Obama, it did not take him long to see the advantages of an Obama Presidency. More than anyone, he pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, along with his wife Hillary - who has her eyes on the presidential seat come 2016, reportedly have a "web of connections between Bill's private work, Hillary Clinton's public role as secretary of State, the Clintons' ... continue reading


Loretta Lynch makes history as the first African-American female U.S. attorney general Watch

Image of Loretta Lynch is the first African American female attorney general in the history of the United States.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Loretta Lynch has been confirmed as the new U.S. attorney general last Thursday. History is made as she became the first African-American woman to occupy such a crucial and distinct government position. Lynch was not present during the Senate confirmation, however, her ... continue reading


Have they found their man? Koch brothers offer audition to Jeb Bush Watch

Image of Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, may be the candidate likely to receive support from the Koch brothers and their network of extensive political contacts.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Koch brothers, Charles and David, the wealthy political donors who have dipped their hands and massive fortunes into U.S. politics for years, may have upped their involvement, considering for the first time whether to lend their wealth and organizational ... continue reading


Will one book ruin Hillary Clinton's entire presidential campaign? Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton's campaign takes a big hit with new book.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A controversial "tell all" book about the Clinton Foundation's funding habits, titled "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich," is set to enter stores and rock Hillary's campaign next month. ... continue reading


Social Security numbers issued to more than half a million illegal immigrants in U.S. Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The cornerstone to lawful employment to labor in the United States, it has been recently revealed that more than half a million illegal immigrants - or 541,000 illegal aliens. This disheartening statistic has been revealed by Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner ... continue reading


Hillary Clinton caught in shameful lie on family's history Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Hillary Clinton continues to shape her platform for presidency, she is reported as boasting her family's immigration history. During one of her first speeches as an official candidate, Clinton said that "all her grandparents had immigrated to the United States," ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 11:1-18
1 The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
2 I thirst for God, the living God; when shall I go ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:1-10
1 'In all truth I tell you, anyone who does not enter ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 27th, 2015 Image

St. Zita
April 27: St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter