Healthcare reform's moral, spiritual issues. The problems are not just political.Health Prog. 1996 May-Jun; 77(3):54-60.HP
Although President Clinton's proposals were defeated in 1994, healthcare reform is an issue that will not go away. But it is an especially complex issue because it is moral and spiritual as well as political. Catholic social teaching could help free us Americans from our confusion on the topic. For example, the Catholic ideas of justice, subsidiarity, and the common good could help us address the crux of the healthcare reform debate, which questions the fairness of forcing more fortunate people to provide healthcare for those who are sick and poor. Catholic social teaching tells us that our healthcare decisions must be made not only on the basis of what is good for me but what is good for us as a community. By the same token, we might find that several specifically spiritual ideas are helpful. Christianity says, for example, that sickness can be a gift because it is a window on immortality for us; that we should not prize life above all other values; and that friendship--including the civic friendship involved in healthcare--is a way we can enter full friendship with God. These moral and spiritual ideas lead us to certain political conclusions: Healthcare reform should be politically realistic, relatively simple. and inclusive. Because healthcare is a good like no other, it can be a powerful occasion for realizing God's own compassion, healing, and justice.