Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/21/2009 (6 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 (6 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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Kentucky Clerk jailed for refusal to marry same-sex couples Watch

Image of Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis refused to marry same-sex couples based on her religious beliefs.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis has been sent to jail following her refusal to marry same-sex couples. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - As reported by NBC, Davis was found in contempt of court Thursday morning because she claimed marriage licenses for gay and ... continue reading


Hispanics hope Pope Francis addresses immigration with Obama Watch

Image of Hispanics hope Pope Francis will address immigration policies in his upcoming visit to America.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly 30 million Hispanic Catholics in the country are hoping that Pope Francis' visit this month will change the tone of the United States' debatable immigration policies and discourse. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The Pope will have high-profile ... continue reading


Hillary Clinton is a FELON - New email dump contains 150 CLASSIFIED emails Watch

Image of Hillary's emails reveal she is surrounded by sycophants and that the State Department techs had no idea she was using a private server, which is against the law.

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The State Department released a large batch of Clinton emails on Monday, with another 7,000 pages released to the media. Classified information has been redacted. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The State Department released 7,000 new Hillary Clinton emails to the ... continue reading


Are the Clintons mass murders? Death of British spy who hacked them raises old questions about the Clinton thuggery machine Watch

Image of They may be the most evil family in modern American politics.

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Clinton death toll is simply astounding. Approximately 100 people, directly associated with the Clinton family, have died under unnatural and mysterious circumstances since the early 1990s. It is considered possible that the Clinton family chooses to deal with ... continue reading


Obama's Clean Water Act blocked hours before taking effect Watch

Image of Obama's water pollution rule was blocked by a federal judge a few hours before its execution.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A North Dakota federal judge blocked the Obama Administration's controversial water pollution rule just hours before taking effect. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court for the District of North Dakota discovered ... continue reading


Clinton compares Republicans to terrorists: Receives unsurprising backlash Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hillary Clinton compares conservative views on abortion and reproductive rights to terrorist groups. Republicans demand an apology while Republican and Democrat candidates agree Clinton's campaign is failing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Hillary Clinton gave a ... continue reading


'The whole Bible is incredible': Donald trump ridiculed for not naming favorite Bible verse Watch

Image of Donald Trump claims the Bible is his favorite book.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During an interview with Bloomberg's Mark Halerin and John Heilemann, presidential candidate, Donald Trump was asked to name his favorite Bible verse but refused to name one. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Seven minutes into the interview, Halerin told Trump, "You ... continue reading


EVERY 93 SECONDS: Foreign children born on U.S. soil Watch

Image of Children of immigrants born on United States soil appear to be wearing out their welcome, according to recent polls.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Children of immigrants born on United States soil appear to be wearing out their welcome, according to recent polls. It is estimated that a child of illegal immigrants is born every 93 seconds in the U.S. According to a 2011 Rasmussen Poll, only 28 percent of likely ... continue reading


Univision anchor Jorge Ramos EJECTED from Donald Trump press conference Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Go back to Univision," GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump told Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos at an Iowa press conference. Well regarded by his peers, there was no gravitas afforded Ramos at the event, as a security guard escorted him away. The occasion ... continue reading


The do-nothing Boehner is not only stupid, he's pro-Planned Parenthood - revealed by his incestuous political relationship with an abortion-affiliated adviser Watch

Image of Boehner makes a lot of money off Obamacare and other investments in the medical industry, thanks to his privileged position in Congress.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Charlotte Ivancic, Health Policy Advisor to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), is leaving his office to work for a lobbying firm. Ivancic is the older sister of Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress. Dyer was caught discussing the sale of aborted children on video by the ... 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, Colossians 1:9-14
9 That is why, ever since the day he told us, we have ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:2-3, 3-4, 5-6
2 Yahweh has made known his saving power, revealed ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:1-11
1 Now it happened that he was standing one day by the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 3rd, 2015 Image

Pope Saint Gregory the Great
September 3: St. Gregory, born at Rome about the year 540, was the son of ... 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