Monday, August 3, 2009

Health Care, Catholicism, and Conservatism

Before I begin, these are my views, they are not shared by all Catholics, by all Notre Dame students, by all members of the Irish Rover, or even by everyone in my family.

You might have heard about health care reform - it's been around the news a bit when the media hasn't been too busy talking about Beer Summits or Car Sales. So I feel that as a member of and writer for Notre Dame's largest (and only) conservative, Catholic newspaper, I, or we as a staff, need to address this topic.

On the one hand, as a conservative (n.b. not a Republican necessarily), I support private solutions for their efficiency. I support smaller governments and the idea that capitalism and equality provide the best opportunity for people to succeed either in the job market or in getting adequate health care.

On the other hand, as a Catholic, I realize that the capitalist system does have its failings. Equality is a difficult thing to achieve in reality and the government is in the best position to assist those who 'fall through the cracks'.

With those two viewpoints in mind, here are some keys for healthcare:

1. Efficiency. Health care should be efficient and quality. It's no good having universal health care, if I can't get the the proper service I need when I need it. Can government-run health care provide it?

2. Transperancy. The government, both in its dealings in designing the bill and in its implementation, should be transperant. All aspects, including cost, of the bill should be debated and analyzed. It shouldn't be rushed - but honestly debated (that goes to both sides). We are talking about reforming a significant sector of the economy (over 15%) and one that affects each and every person in this country.

3. Ethics. Besides the obvious lobbying and loopholes, the new health care plan should be ethically strong. This is important not only in the legislative push to get the bill enacted, but also in the guidelines it establishes. Abortion, euthansia, etc. are all important elements to consider regarding health care, how will they be handled? Will they go hand-in-hand with being transperant and efficient?

4. Impact. What will be the economic and societal impact be with the new plan? How many jobs lost/gained? How many people will get cover that they need? Who will benefit? Who will be hurt? Where will the money go? How will new medical research be done? How will it affect doctors, hospitals, nurses, etc.? There are many things to be considered and too few are actually being examined. I understand the importance of using momentum to push through legislation (see Patriot Act 2001/2002). This is not a minor thing, how will it affect our nation?

I see those 4 as the major things to be considered. Obviously, 'Ethics' is a distinctly Catholic aspect of health-care, but it should not be slighted.

No comments: